Introduction

6 Tips for Surviving Your First Course Enrolment

6 Tips for Surviving Your First Course Enrolment

First year course enrolment is next week! And if you’re anything like I was last year, you’re probably pretty nervous. Course enrolment can be a tense time, full of waiting and rapid clicking, but it’s not as scary as you think. No matter when your start time is, there are always ways to make it go smoothly.

1. Don’t stay up all night

photo of dark bedroom with laptop on bed, netflix is open on the laptop
Netflix? Awesome. Netflix at 4am? Maybe not so awesome

Last year, I was lucky enough to be given a 5:30am start time. As great as this start time was, it lead to my stupid decision to stay up all night watching Netflix and refreshing ROSI. Take it from someone who made the mistake, ROSI and ACORN won’t open up 5 minutes earlier for you because you’ve been waiting all night. The only thing that’ll happen is that your combination of nerves and sleep deprivation will make your typing really shaky. Instead, wake up 45 minutes or so before your start time, make your self a cup of tea, and try to relax. It’ll all be okay, I promise.

2. Don’t waste your entire day waiting and worrying

photo of cat walking on laptop
If your cat is concerned about how long you’ve been on online, it might be time to go for a walk.

If you have a late start time it can be extremely tempting to stay glued to your computer all day checking how many spots are left in the Class you need and analyzing every schedule posted into the U of T Class of 201x Facebook page. Don’t do this. Course enrolment can be a stressful time, but you don’t need to torture yourself with worry. Get away from your computer, stay off Facebook, and enjoy your day. Keep a few alternative classes up your sleeve just in case, and don’t be afraid of the waitlist. Chances are most of the classes you need to get into have 1000+ spots, and you’ll most likely get into them. You’ve got this!

3. Check out the SWS before you sign up

animation of different pages on ACORN

As Nancy said in her post on course enrolment, it’s a very good idea to make yourself familiar with the SWS (student web service) before the actual day of course enrolment. ACORN, U of T’s new web service has lots of lovely hidden gems that are just waiting to be found, like the enrolment Cart

4. Use ACORN’s enrolment cart

screenshot of ACORN's enrolment cart feature

Back in my day, we had to type out our course codes by hand, which can be nerve-wracking when you’re trying to snag a spot in a small class. My favourite feature of ACORN’s course enrolment system is the enrolment cart, which allows you to add the courses you wish to enrol in ahead of time so you can simply hit “enrol” on the day of. Talk about a time saver!

5. Write it down!!!

photo of a piece of paper with multiple course codes written on it

As anyone who’s ever lost work on an essay knows, computers aren’t perfect. Power goes out, systems crash, and websites go offline.  If you’re keeping your course info on Griddy, an Excel document, or anything else on a computer, either print it out or copy it out by hand. This way you’ll be safe from any computer issues, and you’ll get the satisfaction of crossing courses off with a pen as you enrol in them! Chances are your computer and internet will be fine on enrolment day, but better safe than sorry.

6. Don’t be afraid of the waitlist

screenshot of the waitlist button on ACORN

Waitlists are your friend. Whether the class you wanted to get into fits 15 students or 1500, it’s always worth it to join the waitlist. After the first week of classes there are always a significant number of students who decide a course isn’t for them. You’re not losing anything by joining a waitlist, and you might even gain a spot in that class you really wanted to take! And even if you don’t get into the class, don’t sweat it. You can always take it next year, and if it’s an extremely important class, your registrar might be able to help you figure something out!

Bonus tip: Didn’t get into the 199 you wanted? Your seminar dreams aren’t over

The first year seminars, or 199 courses, are very popular and have very few spaces, so they fill up quickly. Seminar courses are amazing and a great way to meet people and get involved, and they can really help ease the transition from high school classes to university.

However, just because you didn’t get into the 199 you wanted doesn’t mean your seminar dreams are over. Victoria college offers their own collection of seminars, called the Vic One Hundreds (not to be confused with the VicOne program), that are less well known than the 199s. Though Victoria College students have priority for enrolling into these classes, students from all colleges are allowed to enrol, and there are usually many spots left after the priority lifts. You can find the entire list of Vic One Hundred seminars here.

picture of a person signing their signature at the bottom of a letter
I was lucky enough to take VIC116 – Politics of the Pen last year. As a class we worked together advocating for writers in prison and exile. On the last day we signed letters urging different politicians to help these writers.

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