How to register for college classes: A high school senior’s guide

In high school, your counselor probably made your schedule, but in college, you'll be in charge. Find out what you need to know to register for classes and start the fall off right.

Rows of books in the Knowledge Center in the library stacks

How to register for college classes: A high school senior’s guide

In high school, your counselor probably made your schedule, but in college, you'll be in charge. Find out what you need to know to register for classes and start the fall off right.

Rows of books in the Knowledge Center in the library stacks

You received acceptance into your choice colleges. Then, after months of contemplation, you decided on the school you will attend this fall.

Now what?

For the last four years, your high school counselor likely has mapped out your class schedule. This is college and the responsibility has shifted to you, but you have no idea where to begin. Don't worry, we got you. Here is what you need to know about getting a fall semester course schedule.

Before you can register: First things first

Are you admitted?

Before you begin registering for classes, be sure you are admitted to the university. Most universities provide their applicants with a student portal to review their admissions status. Students must be admitted to a school before they are able to register for classes.

Registration timeline

You should also locate the registration timeline/schedule for the university. Registration often begins in the spring and, in most cases, upperclassmen have the opportunity to register first.

At the University of Nevada, Reno, our incoming first-year students can begin the class registration process as early as January of their senior year of high school through a process called Advanced Registration.

Finish lingering to-do items

Universities can require additional steps are taken prior to registering for classes. Some examples include submitting immunization records, SAT, ACT or placement test scores.

Students at the University of Nevada, Reno must submit some type of placement documentation. If a student does not submit ACT/SAT scores, AP/IB scores, dual credit, or transfer work, they are required to take ALEKS and the DSP. ALEKS is a placement tool used for math and is free for incoming students. The DSP, or Directed Self-Placement, is a brief survey for English placement. Your application portal is a good place to start to determine if these things are being requested.

The registration process

Tuition deposits

Most universities require a tuition deposit in order to register for classes. Because students are being enrolled in actual college classes, deposits show the student is serious about attending the university. Deposits can be non-refundable, partially refundable or fully refundable based on university policies and deadlines.

At the University of Nevada, Reno the registration deposit is fully refundable if you notify the University that you will not attending by the deadline. Waivers or deferrals may be available based on financial aid or financial need. Check with the admissions staff at your school of choice to determine if this applies to you.

Creating a class schedule

Incoming first-year students often have a different registration process than students currently attending that university. While the process for each university may be different here are two things you should know.

  1. You must meet the academic pre-requisites for the college course in order to register for it. Pre-requisite eligibility is often based on your SAT, ACT, IB, AP, dual credit and/or placement exams. If you have questions about a course’s pre-requisites, reviewing the college’s course catalog is a great place to start.
  2. A university may have a process in place that automatically registers students for their first semester courses based on their major and pre-requisites. For example, at the University of Nevada, Reno, the Advanced Registration process selects courses for first-year students based on their major and placement scores. We utilize a questionnaire to allow students to state a preference of course when available. For example, if you are required to take a fine arts course, the questionnaire would allow you to select a first-choice fine arts course. Keep in mind the course schedule created for you is not set in stone (see below).

Meeting with an advisor

Most first-year students are required to meet with an advisor before beginning classes at the university. Universities recognize that it is imperative that students understand the requirements of their degree at the start of their college career. First-year advising can be done in a few ways, including self-paced online options, virtual appointments and group advisement, just to name a few.

At the University of Nevada, Reno incoming first-year students meet with an advisor during Orientation over the summer. An advising hold is placed on our incoming students accounts until academic advising is complete.

Changing your schedule

We see a lot of concern from students each year about the need to change their class schedule. Many high school seniors are enrolled in dual credit, IB or AP courses during the college registration process. Not to worry. You will have ample time to change your class schedule through the start of school.

Changing a class schedule is very normal. Some reasons students change their class schedule include current enrollment in courses (AP, IB, dual credit), intention to take a placement exam or ACT or SAT, awaiting test scores from an exam, change of major and moving to a preferred class time. 

Changing your mind

A question we often get is whether you are committed to attend a school once your class schedule is created. This answer to this question varies by university. However, at the University of Nevada, Reno if you change your mind about attending the University, you can withdraw from the classes assigned to you. It is very important to review all dates, deadlines, and steps to withdraw from classes in order to avoid additional penalties and fees.

The University of Nevada, Reno first-year registration process

The University of Nevada, Reno’s process for class registration is called Advanced Registration. Students can begin Advanced Registration steps as early as October of their senior year in high school. Here is our process:

  1. Be accepted to the University.
  2. Submit required immunization records.
  3. Submit SAT, ACT, IB, AP, dual credit or placement scores (if applicable).
  4. Pay the fully refundable Advanced Registration Deposit in MyNEVADA.
  5. Complete the Advanced Registration Survey in MyNEVADA.

Once all advanced registration steps are complete you will be placed in a queue to receive an advisor-made class schedule.

You will also attend academic advising, new student orientation, and NevadaFIT during the summer months.

Visit our admitted students website for the most up-to-date information.

Hank DavisHank Davis is an admissions, recruitment and retention coordinator at University of Nevada, Reno.

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