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The Art of Class Registration

(February 12 2006) Written by: Jeff Maher in Academic Calendar, Advising & Support, Coursework, Institute Requirements

I like to warn people before they're about to waste their time - so - if you've been at RIT for a few quarters or go to another college, this post will bore you and/or will not satisfy your deep-rooted desire to know about Jeff. This is geared towards those folks who are looking at schools (particularly RIT) and wonder what happens when you have to pick your classes. See the last paragraph if you are a current RIT student.


Over the last two weeks, my peers and I have been indulging in the age old art form of course registration. It's that delightful time of year where you actually have to use foresight and think past next week :-).

Since RIT is on a quarterly schedule, this process takes place four times a year. Registration for a given quarter usually falls during weeks 7 and 8 of the proceeding term (summer registration being the exception and fall registration happens during spring quarter). Signing up for classes takes place entirely online via RIT's Student Information System (we just call it SIS). The actual date of your registration is determined by your year level - graduate students and 6th years go first, followed by 5th years, followed by 4th years, and so on and so forth. If you're an honors student, you can add an imaginary year level on to give you a head start on those in your year (i.e. 1st year honors students will register on the day that 2nd year students do). You can login to SIS starting at 6AM on your assigned date. It's a bit early for us college people, but it's a time when virtually everyone is not tied up in class.

In high school - it's pretty easy to choose out your courses and the graduation requirements are decidingly universal. But at a massive university with tons of different majors, knowing what you have to take to graduate isn't exactly common sense. There are several tools that RIT-folk consult to make life easier:

  • Course Listings - http://register.rit.edu/
    You can't figure out what you need or want to take if you don't know what's being offered. This site tells you what is going to be taught. Course listings for several quarters in advance are also posted, making it much easier to plan ahead.

  • Graduation Requirments - Course Worksheet
    (Example: Computer Science B.S. Worksheet)
    This tells you what is needed to graduate. Incoming freshmen receive a copy of this when they meet with their department during orientation week. Keep it handy and keep it up to date. (If you're looking at RIT and want to see a given course worksheet, contact the department you're interested in. If you pop me a comment at the end of the post, I can link you to any given major's worksheet.)

  • Schedule Maker - http://schedule.csh.rit.edu/
    The friendly boys and girls over at the Computer Science House (CSH) whipped up a delightful little tool that helps generate and record schedules. Say that you want to take Psychology and Ethics for Nerds, but both courses are offered at multiple times. Using CSH's tool, it can generate all possible schedules that include the two classes. Once you've finished registering, you can save your schedule and make it available to your friends. (An example is my winter schedule posted here...ladies - no stalking!)

  • Academic Advisor
    These friendly folks are here to answer any and all questions related to what you should take. Often times you'll have an academic advisor (a staff member dedicated to advising) and a faculty advisor (a professor in your department). Contact information for both of these people are available from SIS or your department. My academic advisors in the Computer Science department have been invaluable resources throughout my RIT career.

  • Professor Evalutions - http://www.coursereviews.com/u1551
    Want to see what other students thought of a professor before you take him/her? Check out this site for an extensive list of reviews.


Back in my tour days, a lot of accepted students would ask when they have to register. The answer is: incoming freshman do NOT register themselves for their first quarter. Your schedule is determined by your department and if you have issues with it, you can have it changed via your academic advisor. An opportunity to meet with your advisor is given during orientation week.

If you have any questions about registering or have any tips about registering, please feel free to post them in the comments section of this post. I'm going to create a page about resources helpful to current or prospective RIT students and put a link to this entry on it. Hopefully, over time it'll grow as people inquire about how to choose classes or offer tips.

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