Students, BYU staff share tips for class registration

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Students seeking advice on course selection can visit the University Advisement Center where Kerry Hammock serves as director. (Karina Andrew)

The add/drop deadline sparked conversation proving in-person experiences can be a more powerful tool for some BYU students as opposed to online ratings during class registration.

BYU sophomore Miles Leung dropped a class this semester for the first time when he found out the professor was different than he expected. He said he realized it’s important to really study who the professor is.

Jack Chiu, a freshman studying business, said he was already aware of the website Rate My Professors, which describes itself as the “largest online destination for professor ratings” and claims more than 4 million college students use it each month. Chiu said he uses Rate My Professors, along with information from friends, to plan ahead and avoid adding and dropping multiple classes.

A professor can set the tone for the environment of their course. BYU sophomore Asai Melgar said he came close to changing a class after the semester began because its environment didn’t seem right for him. He decided to stay because the waitlist was long, and he didn’t want to risk changing his mind and being unable to reregister.

“Don’t switch just willy-nilly without conviction,” Melgar said. “I try to pick my classes right the first time and just use the add/drop option to correct small mistakes in my planning.”

BYU junior Jessica Chapdelaine said she has never added or dropped a class after the beginning of a semester. She explained adding a class late creates the hassle of catching up, so she usually sticks with her planned schedule even if she doesn’t like a class. If she approaches a semester less decisively, Chapdelaine said she would go heavy on the course load, feel out the first few days and then drop classes rather than risk joining late.

University Advisement Center Director Kerry Hammock discussed several points he wishes all students could understand and use to improve their experience navigating class registration and ultimately their learning experience at BYU.

Hammock recommended an individualized approach to choose which courses to take and said students need to figure out what they want. He said online ratings can be dangerous because they represent other people’s opinions and experiences.

He wanted to make sure students are aware of the tools that exist outside of Rate My Professors like syllabus.byu.edu. The website contains past syllabi for most departments at BYU and allows students to interpret course loads.

In addition to looking online, Hammock strongly advised going in person to find out if a class or a professor would be a good fit for the student.

“Students should feel free to talk to a potential professor and ask permission to sit in on their class sometime,” Hammock said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to observe the professor’s clarity and to determine if the environment would work well for their learning. I call it Rate My Professors 2.0.”

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