Freshmen students share registration experiences and tips

Registering for spring semester: A challenge to first-year students.

It’s beginning to look a lot like exam week, the most wonderful time of the academic year—or should I say the most stressful time of the year. With the spring semester on the horizon, many students have been getting ready to register for spring semester classes, which can be stressful as a freshman. 

Here at Hope College, when students register for classes, students with the most credits get to choose their classes first. This leaves freshmen as the last to pick, which sometimes leads to them having fewer options for classes that they want related to their major. However, some freshmen who come in with college credits get a chance to pick classes in a similar time range as upperclassmen.

How did the registration process go for this year’s freshman class?

Many freshmen found registering for spring classes stressful and challenging. Valeria Valencia, an international freshman student studying communication and political science, said that it was challenging; she had to be in charge of creating her own schedule, which was different from her high school years. “In high school, you take classes with everyone and don’t have to deal with the struggle of choosing classes that pertain to your major,” says Valencia.

In college, students are in charge of cultivating their next four years and their future endeavors. Valencia states that this is not always easy: “Sometimes it can be overwhelming balancing academic life, career planning and life outside of school.” Along with registering for spring classes, Valencia says that it is also hard adjusting to college and learning how to practice good time management. 

“The fact that I had to keep checking to see what classes are still open was mentally draining because, on top of school workload and exams coming up, that added on to the stress and pressure I was already feeling.” This feeling is relatable to many freshmen students. Registering for classes wasn’t an easy process, but many students stated that utilizing resources such as the registrar’s office made it less stressful.

How did freshmen cope with the stress of academic life and career planning?

Valencia says, “One thing that I will say is that utilizing the resources here at Hope helped ease the stress of registering and career/major planning. One of the reasons why I chose Hope College was the small community, which allows students to have a relationship with staff and feel comfortable asking questions. My advisor, the Boerigter Center and Registrar’s Office significantly helped me in reducing my stress during registration.” 

Valencia advises other students to seek help when needed. She says, “Sometimes a student might feel overwhelmed with career planning and what classes to take advantage of. But the good news is that we are all students and are on the journey to figuring out how our passions and ambitions line up with what we are engaging ourselves in.” This point of view helps Valencia not overthink her classes and career path. 

What resources are available to students in career planning and registering for classes?

  • Boerigter Center for Calling and Career: The Boerigter Center provides students with coaches, connections and advisors that help students navigate through their career plan and four year plan. They aim to teach  students a process for making career decisions and preparing for the future through discernment, preparation and pursuing.
  • Academic Advisors: Academic advisors help students in connecting them to where they can get help and aid them in choosing classes.
  • Professors: Many professors are willing to connect with students interested in different departments. Some professors are open to having discussions with students on what classes to take and how to succeed in a specific field they are interested in.
  • Registrar’s Office: The Register’s Office is where students’ educational records are maintained, and they coordinate academic advising and registration. They help students in creating a class schedule and help students stay on track for graduation.
  • Upperclassmen: Some upperclassmen are willing to give students advice because they have also been through the process of registering for classes and declaring their majors. There are also upperclassmen that volunteer to mentor students and help them have an easier transition into college.

Although adjusting to the busy schedule that comes with being a college student is hard,  Valencia mentions that the key is having patience: “ Don’t pressure yourself because it is not meant to be easy, but that does not mean it’s impossible.” Valencia says that she tries to be patient and trust the process; she encourages other students to do the same. 

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