Course registration calamity: How to stay calm and confident when choosing classes

Syd Pierre, page editor

Picture this: a heavy winter wind is blowing outside; your first semester grades are tucked away in your transcript; you’re ready to take second semester by storm, and it’s almost time to. . . register for next year? Just like that, for all grades excluding seniors, it’s already that time of year again. Course registration for the 2019-2020 school year opened on Jan. 24 and ends on Feb. 21. Luckily enough, Dylan Hackbarth, a 3rd-year counselor at Edina High School, shared some tips for making course registration as less stressful as possible for students. Check them out below!

Use your resources

Starting in the 2017-2018 school year, the counselors began using the Academic Plan and Academic Progress programs on Infinite Campus. These two programs help to map out a student’s courses and credit advancement during their time at EHS. Starting in eighth grade, students can enter the classes they’re interested in taking and get instant calculations about how many credits they need to graduate. Hackbarth emphasized the importance of understanding “the long view of how [students] get to the end and how they get to graduation.”

He also noted the flexibility that it provides students, which is important due to personality and interest changes that students go through during high school. There are also plenty of options for students to meet up with their counselor to get advice about registration and to ask any questions they may have. Talking to current teachers, older siblings, and friends are also great ways to get a feel for what classes students might be interested in taking in the coming years.

Explore your options

EHS has a wide variety of courses available for students, ranging from International Foods to Ceramics to Organic Chemistry. There is also a multitude of off-campus opportunities, like Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) through local colleges and technical classes offered at Hennepin Technical College. Students can earn college credits through PSEO and get hands-on experience in a professional field they may be interested in through HTC, which offers courses ranging from nursing assistant to auto body repair.

Hackbarth recommends that students take note of what they may want to pursue in the future and take certain classes with that in mind. If a student is interested in a possible career in engineering, they may want to check out some higher level math classes as well as any Project Lead The Way (PLTW) courses that interest them.

Balance is key

There are only 24 hours in a day and time spent at play rehearsal, work, sports practice, household responsibilities, and other outside-of-school activities can add up fast. That’s why Hackbarth encourages students to think about their schedules for their daily life before they think about their future classes schedules. He doesn’t discourage students from taking five AP classes if that’s something they’re interested in but recommends that students make sure that they can handle the course-load along with their daily schedule. He noted that generally when students drop a higher level class for a lower level one, “it’s not because they can’t handle the course”, but rather that they can only do so much in one day. Overall, when registering for classes, students should look for “taking a rigorous course-load that they are going to find success in.”

Be honest

While it seems like no student can escape the looming thought of post-secondary education options and grades transcripts, Hackbarth stresses that students should stray away from picking courses just because of how they believe colleges will perceive them. Students should take classes because they are passionate about the subject matter and the class feels right to them. Otherwise, they could end up with hours of homework a night, just from one class that they dislike. With the possibility of having less flexibility for schedule changes next year, students should take the time to think about what classes would suit them best and what classes they can best succeed in.