One of the most difficult things to navigate as an international student is your class registration. Which courses are right for you? What classes will have you working towards the correct major? What do you do if the class you’ve been dreaming about is already filled?

After I went through class registration for the fifth time, I figured I should share my experience to help incoming international students. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you get set to pick your first round of college courses…

1. Most of the good seats are already taken!

If you are a freshman or a transfer student who has just arrived on campus, keep in mind that most of the “easy” classes have already filled up. Many times international students go through the orientation and the registration just before the semester begins. This much later than domestic students, meaning you’ll be in the very last group to sign up for the classes.

Then, what can you do? Prepare.

Plan two or three alternate schedules just in a case your first picks are filled up already.

Once you realize plan A can’t happen, then you can choose plan B.

The good news is that as you progress and become an upperclassman, you’ll get to pick your classes earlier and will have less need for alternate schedules. Still, it’s never a bad idea to still plan ahead during your class selection—even if it’s the last semester of your senior year.

One more tip: if there’s a class you really want to take, look to see if it’s meeting earlier in the day. It’s more likely that you’ll be able to find a spot in these early classes since not a lot of college students want wake up at 8:00am. Try to be an early bird—you’ll have more classes to pick from!

2. Make friends with caring upperclassmen

Older students have already answered many of the questions you may still be wondering about. You should therefore try to make friends with upperclassmen and ask them about the best classes, good ways to meet various requirements, and more! They will also likely be able to tell you which professors are hard, boring, easy, or wonderful.

However, don’t make your choices entirely on the recommendations of others. Some professors will be perfect for your friend, but not for you. For example, some professors are super hard graders, but they also can be the most impressive teachers you have ever met—that’s happened to me several times.

In the end, having information is crucial when you make decisions, but also, think positively. You can learn something valuable from any class you take if you truly wish to learn.

3. Even if you could not get the last seat…

It’s possible that you could not resister for any single class you wanted to take, especially if you’re attending a big school. But though you may be sad, don’t just go back to your room and cry—take action!

Send the class’ professor an email explaining that you weren’t able to register in time, but that you would still really like to take the course. Some professors might just encourage you to be quicker next time, but some will tell you to attend the first day of class with your drop/add sheet, as other students will likely drop the class after the first week.

I even know one international student who just went to a class that had been full when he registered, and his teacher let him into the class without a problem.

Moral of this story: Show you are passionate, and good things may happen!

4. Know your priority

Many students will want to choose classes based on their ease, or because they have interest level in the subject matter. However, others may try to register for classes based on other factors.

Some students will choose classes that meet once or twice a week so that they have certain days completely free.

Some students, on the other hand, will fill up their days so that they don’t take any rests between lectures. For example, if you have to register for a biology class with a one-hour lecture starting at 8am, and a lab starting at 11am in the same day, then you may want to look for a class that will fill your 9 am and 10 am slots. This avoids an odd, one-hour period between lectures that will be hard to use productively, anyway.

At the end of the day, the best way to find out how best to register for classes is to just jump in and give it a try. Prepare well, know your priorities, ask the right questions, and you’re sure to find the schedule that works best for you.



じゃあどうすればいいの? ・・・・・・できる限りの準備をしましょう。





そういう時は泣き寝入りをしないで、教授にメールを送って、クラスに入れてもらえるよう頼みましょう。「オッケー!drop/add シートを持って僕に会いにおいで!」と寛大に対応してくれる教授もいれば、「来期の履修で頑張れ」「学期が始まって誰かが履修の取り消しをするまで待ってほしい」と言われることもあります。




何はともあれ、履修登録は、慣れです! 登録前にしっかり準備をすること、自分の優先順位を知ること、情報を集めることで、自分に合ったスケジュールがだんだんとわかってきますよ^ ^

Featured image courtesy of Snappa.

Profile photo of Asumi



Hi! :) I am a junior at Hanover College in Indiana. I was born in Japan and had never visited the US until I come here for the college. My majors are Art History and Economics. I love art, music, and talking with people! 日本語でも留学体験をブログに書いています⇨アメリカの大学に行った純日本人の話し。

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