Nightmare on East Cotati

I arrived at Sonoma State three years ago, taking college level courses with a goal of getting my degree done within four years. It seemed to be reasonable. Now fast forward, taking into consideration the minor unplanned bumps in the road of past semester flops and class cuts, senior graduation appeared to be in arm’s reach. 

Well, it’s that transitional time again and you’re that much closer to your own Senior Send Off. Stress levels are high and academic precedence is in full force. Time to buckle down and dodge the registration bullet: the annual semester registration process has begun. We all know that multiple term papers are due and final exam dates are approaching; why not make your 2014 to 2015 registration route that much simpler with a few artless tricks of the trade?

I’m sure all students by this time have received e-mails regarding the formal registration guidelines and I would hope that, prior to this week, seeking academic advisement was at the top of your to-do list. But just in case registration management slipped your mind there are a few important details I’d like to highlight. 

Registration appointments start yesterday and will remain open for swapping classes until May 30. Individual student appointment dates and times can be found easily on the new “Student Center” link (MySSU account) under “Enrollment Dates” on the right of the page. The maximum registration unit load of 16 is still in effect for undergraduate students and the maximum registration unit load of 18 is for graduates or credential students. 

Luckily, if you don’t get your first pick, you can wait list a number of classes up to 12 units, with the hopes and chances of getting into a full class. It’s no secret that settling for second, third and even fourth choice is the most frustrating part of school registration.  I could remember as a freshman and sophomore in college getting the classes you actually wanted was like getting your favorite giant candy bar on Halloween: the chances were slim, but still very possible. 

And believe me, I get it: we don’t just want classes, we need them. So don’t leave it to chance by limiting yourself to just the class listing possibilities here at SSU. Seek out your local junior college for those last, pesky GE requirements and lower division course level classes or even take a course online, all at a fraction of a cost you’re paying in comparison to tuition at Sonoma State.   

The best advice I could ever give during registration after a happy-go-lucky Easter is to not put all your eggs in one basket. Petitioning for units exceeding the maximum is always an option, but keep in mind “petitions for extra units will be reserved for seniors who have applied for fall 2014 graduation.” If you do indeed plan on petitioning for more units, Admissions and Records will contact you by e-mail with either an approved or denied generic form of response. You can expect to see these ‘responses’ by July of this year. 

Something to keep in mind is allowing for change, flexibility and possibilities when arranging your fall 2014 semester, because you might just have to end up taking that 8 a.m. Friday class you’ve been avoiding. I know, such a sacrifice,  right? No, we have to give a little to get a little, particularly when making those difficult class choices. 

Remember that, as a college student, you and you alone are responsible for formulating the outcome of your success: don’t get lazy or forget to add, drop or swap out classes when necessary. I once went a semester long thinking I had withdrawn from an unwanted class only to find out I had done so incorrectly. You don’t want to be that guy. Keep the current academic calendar imbedded with your personal calendar of significant dates and time pressing deadlines for future reference.

If you are in the middle of a total registration breakdown, you can contact the registration help line all week from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at (707) 664-2000, with any questions or comments regarding current registration procedures. Or if you’re on campus, stop by the registration help lab during the same hours in Schulz Hall Library, room 2007.

While I critique the method of registration among all schools, I would like to acknowledge that the communication of current SSU registration guidelines has been the most transparent and clear in all my years of attending this school: kudos to Sonoma State.  

Prior to my registration, I was able to plan well in advance a schedule that, in long term I would be happy taking all semester. With the new and improved ‘Registration Checklist,’ I was able to find an abundant amount of resources designed to help make my registration simple. Check out the current registration checklist in PDF form on the Sonoma State website by searching for ‘Registration Checklist.’ 

Take it semester by semester, class by class, and the time associated to academia will fly by in no time. It really does get better and less complicated, the farther you proceed as a student. 

Good day and good luck, my fellow colleagues, in these hard times of registration.