Spring Into Course Registration

Photo posted by Philippe Bout on Unsplash

With Spooky season officially in the rearview mirror, scheduling season is now in clear view. Starting on Nov. 2, 2020, undergraduate students across the university will begin course registration for the Spring 2021 semester. VALLEY wants to make sure you spring into course registration with confidence this year. Follow this simple checklist before scheduling classes.   

#1 Visit Undergraduate Advising

It’s always a good idea to meet with your advisor at least once every semester, so if you haven’t done so already, speak with your academic advisor. They are an excellent resource for all things course registration, so definitely utilize them if you have any questions or need clarification. Most advisors have drop-in office hours specifically for scheduling questions too, so if you haven’t gotten around to making an appointment yet, not to worry. There’s still time to do so.

Even if you have a solid plan for course registration this year, still consider speaking with your advisor beforehand. Getting an extra pair of eyes on your schedule and course progress is a great way to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

#2 Check Your Degree Requirements

One of the most important things you can do before course registration is checking your degree requirements. Every college and major across the university have different prescribed course lists, so double-check your degree requirements to make sure you are staying on track for graduation. While you can certainly find course requirement information using Penn State’s Undergraduate Bulletin or other online resources, VALLEY recommends running a What-If Report in LionPath.

The What-If Report is a one-stop-shop for all class requirements. Displaying all the courses needed for major, minor and degree completion, the What-If Report will be an excellent tool to guide your class search. To run a What-If Report, log into LionPath with your Penn State credentials. Select “Degree Planning & Progress” under the right-hand menu and click “What-If Report.” Enter any majors, minors and certificates you are trying to complete and click “Submit Request.” Once the report is generated, you can read through the course lists to see which credits you have fulfilled and which requirements you still need to complete. Use this information to prioritize outstanding classes.

VALLEY also recommends viewing the report as a PDF because it’s a little easier to interpret that way, so select “View Report as PDF.”  You can even save it to your laptop, so you can reference it later.

#3 Search for General Education Credits

With Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Interdomains, International Cultures and more, Ged Ed credits can be a hassle to schedule for every semester. If you’re looking for something more than Astro 7N, VALLEY recommends looking at Penn State’s Blue Bulletin, an online resource with a complete course list of General Education classes. This website even breaks down Gen Eds by specific subject area, so if you’re looking for a pure General Arts class, you can easily find a list of qualifying courses. You can access Penn State’s General Education course lists here.  

#4 Make a Back-up Plan

You know you go to a big university when football is king… and classes fill up fast. After crafting a beautiful schedule in Schedule Builder, make a back-up plan just in case some classes fill up before your registration date. Have a list of at least five classes you would be willing to substitute if your most optimal schedule doesn’t work out. Also, check LionPATH daily until your registration date. This way, you can be proactive and monitor how many seats are left in the courses you would like to register for.

#5 Check the Instruction Mode

As a special consideration for Spring 2021, make sure to check which instruction mode classes will be delivered. Next semester, courses will be offered completely in-person, synchronously via Zoom, asynchronously online, or in the Mixed-Mode format, so schedule courses that you are most comfortable with. This is especially important to consider if you are planning on staying remote for the Spring 2021 semester. All of your classes should be designated as WEB or ZOOM if you don’t want to take classes in State College next semester.

You can check the instruction mode of each course in LionPATH. Select a class you are interested in and look under the “Class Details” section for the listed instruction mode.

Course registration is so important in planning and executing your academic requirements at Penn State. Follow these simple guidelines to make sure your schedule game plan is ready for registration day!

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