How to prepare for course registration and maximize time with your adviser | Ask Kelly

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Male student sits at a table outside. He has a laptop in front of him and is writing in a notebook.
Photo taken prior to COVID-19.

Dear Kelly,

I recently emailed my adviser to discuss my class schedule for next session, but they have yet to respond. I need to register for classes, and I’m not sure what I should sign up for. This is very frustrating! Who can I contact to get this information?

This can certainly be frustrating. Registering for classes can be very stressful, especially if you are worried that a class might reach its maximum before you have the opportunity to enroll in it. It’s important you know which classes you need to take, so you can research what days and times the classes will be offered and who the professors will be. There is a lot that goes into making sure you are taking the courses that will best benefit you, while satisfying program requirements, and if you are relying on your adviser to help you with this, you definitely want to hear from them.

The one thing I want you to remember is that as stressed as you feel right now, you are not alone. Many students are feeling that same tension. With that in mind, I want to encourage you to consider that each adviser has several students that are assigned to them. Your adviser has, more than likely, been inundated with emails and phone calls that they are trying to respond to. During these active times, advisers may need additional time to respond to you. Generally speaking, I would give your adviser at least 48 business hours to contact you back.

If you haven’t heard back from them within that time frame, I would follow up with another email and maybe a phone call. Keep in mind there is always the possibility your first email didn’t reach them or that it might have been accidentally deleted. Do your best to stay calm and think good thoughts. Rather than simply stating, “I need to set up an appointment,” give them some dates and times you are available and ask them what works for them. It may be they are going back and forth between calls and emails trying to set up appointment times with other students, so when you provide them some options, then all they need to do is write you back to let you know which time works for them. This might cut out the back and forth and streamline the process.

While you are waiting, there are things you can do. Knowing that advisers can become very busy at times, plan out all your questions in advance, not just about this next semester but what the plan should be for the next two or three semesters. It’s totally OK to ask them questions like, “What classes should I take next semester?” and “Should I take classes over the summer, and if so, which classes would you recommend?” and “Next fall I begin my junior year, what do I need to know for going into my major’s courses?” Take full advantage of the time you have with your adviser and plan ahead.

Another thing I would like you to do while waiting to meet with your adviser is to review your course plan sheet (also called a degree sheet). This plan should have been created when you first met with your adviser at the beginning of your first year at Mercer. This is a form with all the courses required for your program, along with a guided plan that shows which courses to take during each semester. If you still have that course plan, take it out and review it. Mark which courses you already have taken and which ones you still need to take. Usually, you will want to get all of your core classes out of the way first, so if you still need some of those credits, you could plan to enroll in those courses for next semester. If you would like to see when the classes you need are going to be offered, and on what days, you can pick up a course catalog from your local campus. Catalogs also are available on the Registrar’s website, based on campus location.

After reviewing your course plan, you may be able to register for classes on your own. You can register by going to your MyMercer account. After you log in and are taken to the home page, you will see “Online Registration” under the “Announcements” section. Click on that tab, and when you arrive at the next page, you will see an option to “View Registration Tutorial.” This tutorial will walk you through the process of registering for your classes. The Office of Academic Advising services provides more information about how to register for classes on its website. Registering for classes is easy, and if you need any help, your campus’s student ambassadors would be more than happy to help you through the process. If you do not feel comfortable, however, and are concerned you might make a mistake, then I would wait on your adviser, but just know the option is there.

(Note: If the option for “Online Registration” isn’t available on your MyMercer home page, you may have a hold on your account. If this is the case, contact the Registrar’s office for more information).

Finally, as a student ambassador, I often get phone calls from students who haven’t heard from their advisers, and after many attempts, they ultimately just want to speak to someone. That’s understandable. If you have attempted to contact your adviser multiple times and are still not hearing anything back, please call your center coordinator. Often times, they can intervene on your behalf and connect you with someone who can help. If after reaching your center coordinator you are still unsuccessful, and after all else fails, contact your department chair.

The phone number and coordinator for each campus is:

Just always remember to plan ahead. Advisers work diligently to help their students be successful, but they do have multiple students. By preparing for registration far in advance, you will avoid the rush and have more time to plan for what comes next as you work toward your degree and enhancing your future.

Good luck to you, and as always, I wish you health, happiness, and continued success throughout your journey.

Do you have a question about distance learning or coping with school in these challenging times? Each week Kelly Browning, an early childhood education/special education major and student ambassador at the Henry County Regional Academic Center, answers questions from the Mercer community. Email her at kelly.l.browning@live.mercer.edu or fill out our online form to submit your question anonymously.