This topic isn’t one to be taken out of context. There are many things you should have done already before getting to this point. If you aren’t sure what those are, make sure to back track to a handful of articles here and see where I’ve explained how to look for online colleges, how to narrow your list, how to apply, what to address in your letters of recommendation and personal essays, etc. By now you should have already been accepted to the online university and have created an academic plan of attack with a school advisor. This will make the process of registration easier than ten easy things…combined!

Alright, but seriously, here are the couple things that you may need to register (I say “may” because there is variability between the different online registration systems and I think by now some have figured out how to tweak their signup process to make it much easier than I’m about to explain):

The term in which you are planning on taking classes. Like I said, if the school has hired some programmers to make this part of the process easy, you may not even have to worry about this. If you were accepted the registration process may assume that you are planning on attending the next semester/term. You’ll most likely be able to change this if you are planning well in advance.

The name of the course. This is provided on the academic plan (usually along with the course id) and may be shortened. This is an artifact of the old paper catalogs that looked for ways to conserve space. It shouldn’t be too difficult to see what understand what’s what. If you have questions, talk with your advisor.

Course identifying numbers. These numbers (Course ID & CRN or Course Reference Number) are the most abbreviated forms of the classes and what group of students they are offered to. The course ID can reference the department with the first letter and the exact course in that department with a number. The CRN shows how many sections of that particular class are being offered that semester. It may also show the group number. This is a number/letter combo that represents the group of students that you began your education with and, assuming none drop out, you will end with.

Instructor. For more popular classes several instructors may be teaching the same class. If this is the case, make sure to get some feedback from other students or an advisor which teacher can meet your style of learning. Rather than approaching it from an “is this a good or bad teacher” you might say, “I am a visual learner, does this teacher do a lot of board work or explain this with object lessons. This will more readily draw from your advisor an answer that they feel they will not get in trouble for sharing.

Like I said, you may see these components, but most likely it will just be a matter of looking at the number or course name on your academic plan and searching for it in the class registration system (typically online now, if it’s not I’d look into the quality of your online education provider, they may not be the best option). Not like you will need any to do it, but good luck in registering for your online classes!

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