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Stresses of Signing up for Classes

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Two students look at their notebooks while studying at the University of Massachusetts

I recently signed up for spring semester classes, and it made me think about freshman year when I would be so stressed about class registration. Looking back, I chuckle at myself because there was no need to be so uptight about it. Here are some of the reasons why students shouldn’t be so stressed when it comes to choosing their courses.

Sometimes It Simply Doesn’t Work Out:

As an incoming freshman, I looked at the UMass catalog months in advance to curate the perfect schedule for my first semester. I made sure every professor was the one I wanted, all classes were in reasonable distances from each other, and that I had enough time to eat lunch during the day. I had made, in my opinion, the perfect schedule… and then it came time to actually sign up for the classes. More than half of the courses/sections/teachers/times I had chosen in advance were completely filled. Don't stress about this. You will get the classes you need, even if the time the class is offered might differ from what you prefer, or the professor might not be the one you initially wanted. 

Add/Drop Period:

One semester in particular, I remember signing up for a class with a professor that all of my friends and peers raved about. After a few classes, however, I realized that my learning techniques didn’t really fit well with how the class was taught. I prefer smaller environments where I can connect with the professor and, in this class, there were about 400 students in attendance. Instead, there was a class with fewer students so I switched into that. Because of the add/drop period, I was able to get into that class without it affecting my grade. What this allows you to do is add or drop courses before a specific deadline without penalty. It's more than okay to do this, and it's much more common that you might think.


Before transferring into Isenberg, I needed to take a class that was a prerequisite for the School. On the day of my sign-up the class was filled up, and I was stuck in a tough position. I emailed an advisor in Isenberg, and she was able to override the class and place me into it. Sometimes when it says the class is full, students can talk to an advisor and have them override it. Even if they can’t, talking to an advisor is still a good idea because they will have alternative routes you can take to ensure you won’t fall behind.

When it comes time to sign up for classes, the process can certainly be a stressful time. But it doesn’t have to be. With the resources and flexibility of UMass’s academic structure, there is no need to worry about it.


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