Before you register for college classes, you must accomplish two tasks: think about your needs and interests and learn about your school's course offerings and requirements. Your academic program will be a mix of required courses and electives -- courses that allow you to explore areas outside your major.

Preparing to Register

Read in your college's course catalog about requirements for a major that interests you, and find out how to satisfy core course requirements. Make lists of courses you would like to take and courses you must take to earn a degree. For example, if you're drawn to computer science, explore introductory courses in computer programming or Web technology. These courses are likely required for the computer science degree. Your college probably requires students to take a course in composition or expository writing. Core curriculum courses -- such as contemporary civilization, frontiers of science or literary humanities -- may also be required to ensure that all graduates' programs of study have breadth as well as depth. Your schedule should also have room for some electives. For example, you can try an elective in electronic music composition or in forensic science. Once you have prepared a list of possible courses, meet with your adviser. He knows best what courses you need, and together you can put together a schedule that is balanced -- a mix of easy and more difficult courses -- while satisfying requirements.

Time to Register

Students register online at many, if not most, colleges and universities. Your school should post on its website the date when registration opens for the semester, as well as instructions on registering. If you can't find this information on the school's website, ask the registrar's office or your adviser.

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