College Road Map: Dorm and Registration

Dorm Life

Dorm life may be the toughest part of college to get used to. Say good-bye to privacy and hello to your new roommate. Here are some helpful hints when choosing a dorm, a roommate and what to bring with you.

  • Many colleges have different types of dorms and living arrangements to choose from. Even as a freshman, it’s important to know your style and what you like and don’t like. You may stay up late now but consider your hours once you get into college. If you think you’re going to want your sleep, choose a dorm with limited visitation. If you prefer the freedom of hanging out with your own gender, not having to worry about walking around in a towel, you don’t want a co-ed dorm. Co-ed dorms often are louder and tougher to study in as well.
  • Many students choose to share a dorm room with a friend their first year. This is not always the best idea, particularly if your friend has different ideas of cleanliness and quiet hours. If your roommate is someone you already know, make sure you know each other well enough to understand the other person’s habits. Settle on ground rules before even thinking of writing that person’s name on your dorm application.
  • There are two basic types of roommates – roommates that are best friends and inseparable or roommates that do their own thing and look at each other as a roommate and ONLY a roommate. Don’t expect your roommate to be your best friend. It may work out that you guys are great living partners but not great friends. That’s fine and maybe even ideal.
  • Bring only the essentials to college. Learn to become a minimalist. When you first get there, you will be tempted to buy everything in sight and tell your parents to pack a box full of things you “need” and send it immediately. This is not the best idea for a few reasons – you will have to take it all back with you again and you do not want to make your dorm room too cluttered. You will also save money by not buying things you don’t really need. A hard lesson for college students to learn is how to be poor. Remember – you don’t have any money and any loans you get now will take away from the amount you can get in the future.

How to Register

Always know in advance what you are going to register for and what time you wish to take your classes.  Whether, at night, morning, etc.  If you know what classes when you want them it is ten times faster to register.  Also, as soon as you know your registration date, register.  Do not wait.  The longer you wait the harder it will be to obtain the classes you need to take.  By not getting the classes you need, you may set yourself back.  So keep on top of the classes you have taken and the classes that you need to take in order to ensure on time graduation.  Another thing to remember, is electives.  Find out how many elective credits you need.  Some of these credits are credits needed for you major others for your minor (if you are minoring) the rest are essentially freebees.  Use your electives wisely and take classes that you want to take,  not classes that you necessarily have to take.   College is a crazy time, so relax and take a fun class, for mental health purposes.  In addition pay attention to the pre-requisites of each class.  Meaning, you may have to take one class before you can take another.  Sometimes you are able to take them at the same time other times you are not. 

Allow time to take these two classes one right after the other.  In essence, the first class will help you in the second class.  In addition, if you do not get into a class that you absolutely need, go to the first class anyway, even if you are not registered.  Some professors will put you in, and others may put you on a waiting list.  Remember, students already enrolled may drop the class, leaving a seat open for someone.  So keep trying even after the registration date.  It is better to miss a couple of classes because you were not registered, then it is to have to wait another semester to take the class.

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