Course selection time manages to be simultaneously the most exciting and most stressful period of every semester. There’s so much to look at! New classes, new professors, new friends… the possibilities are endless. But where do you start? I have a proven class selection system that has worked for me for the past three years, and I’m willing to share my secrets with you.

The first step is to log onto LORA (Loyola’s student portal where you can register for classes, check your financial statements, look at your transcript, and many other amazing things). In order to register for next semester’s classes, you need to be completely up to date on your tuition for this semester. So double check in advance that you’re all paid up! This is especially an issue on the fall semester just because the school is waiting on loans and other financial aid to go through, or they might need a signature from you. The sooner you clear up any financial holds, the sooner you can register for courses, and the better your chances are of getting the classes you want!

The next step is to print out a copy of your DPCL. This long and complicated acronym stands for Degree Program Course List and every major has one. It’s a list of every class you need to take in order to graduate with a certain major. These lists are a great way to keep track of what you’ve already taken and what requirements you still need to fulfill. On your DPCL, mark of what classes you are done with and get an idea of what classes you might be interested in for next semester.

After you’ve gotten a general idea of what you need to take, look at the Course Section Search on LORA. It allows you to search for classes in a specific department so you can jump to exactly what class you need. Browse around! Get a feel for what’s available, look for a few wildcard classes, think about what you want your days to look like next semester. At this point, I don’t recommend that you pick any specific classes because there’s still a lot of research you need to do!

Now you should go talk to your advisor. Show them your DPCL, bounce ideas around about what you are interested in taking next semester, and get some feedback from them about where you should be focusing your attention. Your advisor will be able to tell you about classes you might not even have known Loyola is offering! Be open to their suggestions- they know how to walk you through the system.

Next, you can start thinking about who you want to learn from. How will you know which professors to take? Every professor has a different teaching style and I find it useful to know what you’re getting yourself into. Do you enjoy discussion-based classes? Would you prefer lecture style? How much time does the professor ask you to put in outside of the classroom? All of these are valid questions. The best way to find out is to ask people who’ve taken courses with the professor! Reach out to friends, friends of friends, or even ask the professors themselves!

Go back LORA. Look closely at the courses available. Think about what classes you need to take, which professors you would like to take them with, and when you would ideally want to take them. This semester, I made it so I didn’t have class on Fridays! That was great, but my Tuesdays and Thursdays ended up being very busy. Are there certain days you would like to have free to work? Do you prefer early classes? Would you rather take classes at night? There’s tons of options and the choice is yours.

Now you have all the research in front of you: its time to decide. Make a list of your top 4-6 (depending on how many hours you want to take). Have a backup of 3-4 classes just in case you can’t get into your first choices. Having this list ready will make it so easy for you when you register! Registration priority goes by class standing, so follow this link if you’re unsure when to register.

You have my formula for course registration! Where will the next semester take you? What’s your schedule going to look like? There’s so many choices- aren’t you excited?!

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