Didn’t get the schedule you want? See our guide to help

Victoria Reed | Staff Writer | vreed@mail.smcvt.edu

It’s 6:59 a.m. on the day of registration. You wait at your computer, your cursor hovering over the ‘register’ button, ready to strike the second the clock hits 7:00. When it does, you are filled with dread as you see three out of the four classes you had planned on taking are full already. What now?

     Don’t worry—if the classes you had planned are filled, you find a hold on your account, or you miss registration entirely, there are still  options. 

What if a class I need is not running this semester?

     Tim Mackin, associate dean of the   college, said most likely, that class will run in the subsequent semester, especially with classes required for majors or minors. He recommends talking to advisors, department chairs or the registrar’s office with inquiries about when a class will run  again. 

     “Department chairs are trying to think about the flow of their own majors and making sure majors get the courses they need,” Mackin said.

     If all else fails, the office of the Associate Dean is a good place to go, he said. They can work with students to find creative solutions to difficult  problems. 

Restructuring your course  schedule 

     What are your backup classes? This may be a good opportunity to take advantage of the flexibility of the liberal arts curriculum and explore other classes that you might not have otherwise had the opportunity to take.

     McKenzie Vincent, ’27, a biology major, registered for classes last semester, and four out of the seven courses and labs she had planned were filled by the time she was able to register.  She had to restructure her course schedule entirely. 

     “I went and talked to my roommates and they were like, ‘Yeah, I got into most of my classes!’ I got super overwhelmed,” Vincent said. 

     Between coordinating with her advisor and the Registrar’s Office, petitioning into classes, and restructuring her schedule, Vincent said she was able to make it all work out in the end.

     Michael Larsen, professor and chair of the mathematics and statistics department, recommends  going to your advisor first when any issues with your schedule arise in order to look into alternatives and work on a plan. 

     “There’s resources available to talk about options and alternatives, and there’s very frequently a way to work it out,” Larsen said. “I haven’t heard anybody not eventually be able to get something that works for their schedule, that gives them a good experience, that helps them move toward graduation, and get ready for things afterwards.” 

Petitioning into classes

     If you are looking to petition into a class or request a seat, the permission and petition form is a good place to start. 

     “In terms of talking about ‘petitioning into a course,’ I think that term is sometimes used more generally than for just the few courses that have actual petition seats held,” said Meg Andrews, associate registrar for scheduling and registration. “People fill out the ‘Permission and Petition’ form, and people just generally think of that as petitioning into a course, which could be a course that’s at cap, but there’s some flexibility in terms of classroom space.” 

     Courses with actual petition seats held aside are less common, but some professors choose to go over cap if a student needs or is interested in the course, Andrews said.  

     According to Andrews, some professors hold petition seats for majors and minors who need the course to fulfill a requirement. However, she says, not all professors do this, and who is let in is left to the professor’s discretion. 

     Another option is to email the professor teaching the course you need to inquire about potential options for that specific course, according to Nathaniel Lewis, professor and director of the English and environmental science and studies departments. Make sure to be courteous and follow up with the message, he said. 

     Permission & petition form: https://www.smcvt.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Permission-and-Petition-Form.pdf 

Dropping and adding courses

     Mackin recommends that students consistently keep an eye on courses on KnightVision prior to the semester and even in the first week of classes. At the end of official registration days, the enrollment process is open, so you can add a course at any time. You may see a spot drop in a class you need and be able to add that to your course schedule, replacing a different class.

     “If the goal of planning for registration is to find as many good course options as possible, then priority registration week is about registering for a full-time draft schedule that sets you up for small additions and revisions should the need or interest arise,” said Ryan Braeger, assistant dean for advising and student development. 

Visit the Registar’s Office for confirming class standing, transfer credits or any other registration related questions throughout the semester. PHOTO BY MAEVE CALLAHAN

Summer course offerings:      St. Michael’s offers a variety of summer courses through the Accelerated Summer College program. 

     Ruby Sorensen ‘25,  a biology major with a chemistry minor, enrolled in two summer courses last summer in order to fulfill requirements to graduate early, freeing up room in her schedule during the academic  year. 

     At first, Sorensen said she was intimidated by taking a summer course. “How are you going to condense an entire semester’s worth of classes into six weeks? Really, because you’re learning the material at your own pace and you have so much more free time, it’s not as overwhelming as it sounds,” she said. “You have to make the time,” Sorensen said, but also noted that the summer courses were 100% worth  taking.  

     For more information, see this link: https://www.smcvt.edu/academics/accelerated-summer-college/ 

Planning with your advisor 

     Ultimately, look to your advisors for guidance through registration. 

     Vincent, the biology major who was initially shut out of three of the classes she needed, said her advisor was a life-saver. “Try to find time after class to meet with your advisor that day. Have them look at [your schedule], and tell them what you need to fix,” Vincent said. “I don’t know where I would be without him right now, no joke.”

Seeing the bigger picture—it usually works out

     Overall, being able to look at your long-term goals for your four years here will be beneficial in relieving stress and planning for upcoming  semesters. 

     Most of the time, there are more options than what may be the most common course of action for your  major. 

     From the registrar’s standpoint, all is usually resolved. “We’re seeing the outcomes of things working out for people. Even though it feels stressful in the moment, it works out,” Andrews said.