Keeping it Classy: Preparing for Fall Registration

Hey all… Olivia here! This week I sat down with Julie Nelson, who is an academic advisor at the University of Iowa, to get her professional take on the fall registration process. Julie was my first advisor and made a huge impact on my comfort in planning my college course load. I came loaded with plenty of questions for Julie, and she answered each with ease.


How do I know when to register?

If you go to, login, and look at the boxes on the right hand side of the homepage you should see a date listed. Before this date, you will want to set up an appointment with your advisor to chat about the courses you might want to take and get formally cleared for registration.

How many credits should I be taking?

Try thinking about it in terms of how many semesters you wish to graduate in; for students who plan to graduate in 4 years and not take summer classes, 120 semester hours (which is the requirement for most majors) / 15 semester hours per semester = 8 semesters (or four years).

Where can I turn for guidance in choosing courses or a career path?

There are more steps than people expect in planning a career! Succeeding to Plan is Planning to Succeed! There are a lot of resources available to you. Your academic advisor may be the most obvious option to turn to, but Julie actually had many additional recommendations for who may guide you. Professors often know what sort of specific interest topics may be covered in courses. The Pomerantz Career Center knows where to guide you for research and internship experiences! When it comes to your education, of course value your time in the classroom, but don’t forget to consider your out of class time as a learning experience as well!


What should I do if I am unsure if I will pass a course I am in right now that is a prerequisite to a course I hope to take in the fall?

Julie emphasized that this decision of what to do always should be ultimately made BY THE STUDENT. A motto Julie mentioned that the Academic Advising Center uses is “I advise, you decide.” However, this decision is best made when informed of all of your options. The best thing you can do is meet with your advisor, at which time you will learn about what options you have and what pro’s and con’s come with each option. It is important to of course consider what resources you are currently using. Our staff at Student Outreach actually meets 1:1 with students and helps you find those places where you may be able to study more effectively or utilize resources you may not know about!

What course would you recommend to a student trying to gain an additional credit or two?

  • HPAS – Classes beginning with this course subject code pertain to living a healthy lifestyle and promoting well-being.
  • WRIT:1600 – These are courses where you learn to promote your writing abilities in a particular interest area.
  • CCP:1300 – This is called “Major and Career Exploration” and may help you if you are unsure of what career path you would like to pursue.
  • Various dance, music, and other fine art courses are offered!

What should I do if a course I am set on taking fills up before I get a place in it?

Your first step should be to waitlist the course, if you are able to. These waitlists work on a first come first serve basis (if a spot becomes available, students are contacted in the order of who waitlisted first). You will give either your email address or your phone number and will have 24 hours to accept your offer for a spot if it is presented to you. Your second step may be to email the professor and let them know what your situation is. Although professors technically do not have the power to add you to the course, they may be able to allow you to attend the first week in hopes that a position may become available. Your final step should be to contact your advisor and work to set up an alternative course to take if you have not done so in your original meeting.

When is the latest I can make adjustments to my schedule?

You can technically make adjustments, without a ‘W’ for Withdraw on your transcript, through the 2nd week of classes. It may be easier to make some of those adjustments earlier, if you are able, for the sake of having a wider availability of open spots to switch to in other courses. If you do make adjustments over the summer, make sure to tell your advisor.


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