This week on the (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer we are talking about registration. Beginning next week all incoming freshmen and transfer students will be registering for their fall classes. Almost everyone has gone through Golden Bear Advising and has heard back from their ESS adviser, so it is time to double check your registration appointment on CalCentral and actually register. Monica Bernal, ESS Adviser and Laura Vogt, Communications Manager are going over some last minute tips to help make your registration process easier and get you the best schedule for your first semester.
Follow along with an illustration of the tips with our slide show for Top Tips for Registration.
- Day of registration troubleshooting
- Humanities and Social Sciences Requirement
- Early Drop Deadline – Open the accordion for “Enroll in/Drop a class” and click on the pdf for Early Drop Deadlines
- CalCentral registration support
- Video and PDF Tutorials for planning your schedule and how to find classes:
LAURA VOGT: Hi my name is Laura Vogt and I’m the communications and events manager for Engineering Student Services in the College of Engineering. Welcome back for this week’s Registration Tips episode of the (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer! This week we are excited to have Monica Bernal joining us – Welcome Monica – why don’t you tell us about yourself?
MONICA BERNAL: Hey my Berkeley Engineers! I’m very excited to be here. So I’m Monica Bernal, and I’m one of the college advisors in the College of Engineering, and I currently advise all of the MSE students, so I’m very excited to meet my material science engineers out there! I co-advise our EECS students, which are electrical engineers and computer science scientists, with two other advisers, and I’ve worked on the Berkeley campus for seven years this mid August! So we’re very excited about getting that milestone. And this will be completely my first year in the College of Engineering which is an amazing college to be in. So very cool.
I love hearing about all of your projects, and internships, and the amazing student clubs that we have going on campus so I definitely have to say working with engineers is the highlight of my time here at Cal.
LV: Registrations beginning next week. I believe that we’ve done all the prep work. We’ve got you finished for Golden Bear Advising. Transfer students have their appointments on Monday, July 16th, and freshmen are on Wednesday July 18th. So make sure you check your CalCentral for your registration appointment time.
All of you should have completed your Golden Bear Advising by now, and have heard back from your ESS advisor about your proposed schedule. If you have not completed advising, then you have a hold on your registration, and you have to go in and finish it before you are able to register. We have a link on our website for your courses, it’s going to take you directly to where you need to go to get that advising done.
Monica, Can you give us a little explanation of why we put a registration hold on student accounts that they haven’t completed GBA
MB: Golden Bear Advising is there to benefit you, and it just walks you through some basic introduction things, like how you can do it at your own pace, get familiar with the university, student life, and in addition, your college. So everyone who’s entering Berkeley whether you be a transfer student or first year participated in GBA and so really the reason we block you is because if you don’t do GBA, I’m not going to lie, your schedule is going to be a hot mess. It’s going to be a recipe for disaster in your first term, and your first term is really critical because not only are you a new student at Berkeley, many of you transition to moving away from home for the first time, having roommates, living in a different city. It’s so much more than the academics it’s really acclimating to a culture and new climate. And we find that just students who participate in GBA are more likely to be successful. You’re more likely to have a schedule that’s going to work for you, and know these tips and tricks.
LV: Let’s get into what everyone is really here to find out, our last minute tips for registering, and what we think is important to keep in mind as you make your first semester schedule. You can follow along, we’ve got a PowerPoint set up to give you a little bit of an illustration, and some pictures of what we’re talking about at times at welcomengineer.berkeley.edu. Monica why don’t you kick us off.
MB: So number one, all colleges on campus have different requirements, different deadlines. This means is we have distinct colleges. You might have a roommate who is in the College of Natural Resources, Letters and Science, CED, The Haas School of Business, if you’re a transfer student. And the key thing to keep in mind is to not take advice from other students who are not in your college. And this is just critical because each college has different things in mind. The curricula of COE is unique to engineers, and engineering, and our coursework, and, of course, we do have engineers who take classes in the College of Letters and Science, and take courses in environmental design, but at the end of the day, you are registered/listed as a student in your own college, and so those are the deadlines you are responsible for knowing
LV: And the number one question that I hear a lot of times from people… is how heavy of a schedule they should have their first semester. So by all means go ahead and register for more classes, go in and test them. But we really don’t want you to have to over exert yourself this semester. Get to know the classes, get to know what your study schedule is going to be like. A lot of you are on your own for the first time, you’re gonna learn how to do laundry, and make sure you get enough sleep. So, definitely a minimum of 12 units. Correct me if I’m wrong.
MB: You are correct. 12 is the magic number for our college, and that’s critical because there are other students who are at different colleges with different minimum requirements, but… you have to hit 12. And then we checked you for that 12 units, and at the end of that add/drop deadline, which is the fourth week, so at the end of the fourth week, or early fifth week, your advisers go in and we run a report to check that everyone is in that minimum of 12.
LV: If you’re already thinking about changing your major, you’ll need to make an appointment with your ESS adviser during the fall semester. Until then you need to prioritize your current major when making your fall schedule.
MB: Every single semester, the College of Engineering has an expectation that you will be taking a minimum of two technical courses, so three units or more, towards your declared Major. So that is the major they came in. So for my MSE students you come into Berkeley as an accepted declared material science engineer, every schedule, every semester, I’m going to check your schedule to see that you have two technicals towards that MSE degree. So, for instance, if you have right now, on your schedule, engineering 7, and math 53, and a reading and comp, you are gold and you have two technicals towards your major, and then you have that third course that’s going to give you 12 units. Now, if you write me, and say Hey Monica, I just learned that there’s a MSE/EECS joint Major. That looks amazing. I want to drop engineering 7 for CS61A, I would actually say no, that’s not an appropriate schedule, because you’ve not been accepted, or you’ve not applied, nor been accepted to the joint Major, and the 61A is not applicable to your current program, unless you wanted to add it on as like an additional fourth course basically. So really, when we’re talking about students who want to do a change of major, which really means you probably want to go into a joint or a double. Really plan this fall based around the major you’ve been accepted into with those two technicals, and then you can come in midway through this semester, and we’ll talk about what that can look like, and we’ll adjust your spring schedule. But for right now, fall has to be what you’ve been accepted into
LV: Our fifth point for today, it’s one that I had a lot of questions about when we had students on site that were registering because it was a little bit confusing. Chemistry 1A and 1AL are two different courses, but chemistry 1A has a lecturer. So just because you see that lecture with 1AL, that’s not the lecture that goes with 1A, it’s two different things you’re going to end up taking two different courses so you’ll end up with two different lectures that say chemistry on them but one’s for one. And the other is for when I go and make sure that you have to prioritize chemistry 1A over 1AL. So this semester for some reason you’re not getting the chemistry 1A that you want to get. You can’t take the lab. You’d have to wait to take the lab until next semester. Make friends with 8 a.m. Not everyone’s going have to take an 8am class but a lot of you are going to have to. And if you’re not in a class, you might be in one of those killer 5:00pm 6:00pm discussion sections. So the key here, your first role here, without a doubt, is to be a student. And I know that many of you will have a work study job, or you will have tutoring, or you will have commitments outside of the classroom. But really we will work hard for you to make those commitments work. But your focus has to be the academics, and so sometimes, even though it’s the least desirable, if you really wanna take the class, that 8AM discussion section is what’s going to be open.
LV: And number 7 kind of pulls right off of that. If you have a choice in enrolling in the course, a lab, or discussion, or choosing something where you’re going to be put on the waitlist, enroll in the course if you need to take the course. There’s a reason why you have it on your schedule, enroll in the course. Don’t put yourself on a waitlist just because it’s a better time.
MB: I mean unless you’re like a gambler by nature. And you already have two technicals. Let’s say this is your third technical course, because you’re only required to have two. And let’s say you have a third course, you’re already at 12 units, doing your two techs, and you want to gamble, go for it. Put yourself in it. Because you’re in a perfect schedule. But if you are trying to still hit your two technicals toward your major, and get your 12 units, please enroll in that class. There are a million students who are trying to get into courses. And I say that, not to scare you, because typically if you take the section that’s in front, you’ll be able to get into classes. I know that’s one of the biggest myths about Berkeley is that you can’t get into the classes you need, and you won’t be able to graduate in time. Our students in engineering especially, do tend to graduate on time. But you’re not going to, kind of take the courses that are in front of you, that might create a little bit of an issue. So we do say, you know, like I said, no one might want that 8am discussion section but there’s seats available, you should definitely take it because it’s better to be in a class than in a wait list.
LV: And number eight, avoid time conflicts, don’t try to take classes at the same time. I don’t really understand how it works. I just know that it’s difficult. And you might end up having that final schedule at the same time. And your instructors don’t have to adjust for that.
MB: That is 100 percent true. So I think the biggest reason we want you to avoid time conflicts is because your finals will have conflicting times. If you were in two classes at the same time, your faculty has no obligation to change their final for you. So unless you are 100 percent sure have already gone on the first day, and got the syllabus, and know that one of the classes will be a 100 percent webcast, and that the final will be like a take home, and you said you won’t be missing a sitting time.
Your professors are under no obligation to offer you a separate final exam. So yeah. Also, there’s another weird little funky rumor that’s if you have like three or four finals on one day, the reg office will let you move one. I have no idea where that came from. If I could scrub every single bathroom wall that is written on, I would. But if you happen to make a schedule that you love, and you realize all four of your finals are on the same day. Guess what, you’re taking all of those four or five finals on the same day.
LV: So let’s talk a little bit now about the swap function. This is new. It started last year and the first confusion that I think folks have is, you can’t swap if you’re in math 1B and you want to swap lecture 1 for lecture 2, because the system looks at ends like you’re in math 1B already. If you want to swap a discussion or lab section, there’s a way that you can do that under clicking options on your enrollment card, and it’ll actually let you change discussion or lab section. You don’t actually have to swap to do that
MB: Swap is great to use when you’re going to be waitlisted for something and you’d rather have it but you can get into something less ideal. So like a great example for swapping something would be that… I’m in Slavic reading and composition 5, you know, and it sounds interesting, but I would really love to be in this English R&CB that’s on Jane Austen. Like I just find out there’s a waitlist, so I’m kind of using the swap function, so that if I come off of the waitlist, I can get into the other classes and I think that’s the easiest way for students to use it personally.
LV: That definitely makes more sense. I think that would be the best use for it because if you go from one to the other it automatically does it for you, so you’re not having to constantly track to see if something’s opened up in that Jane Austen class and you can get on the waitlist earlier.
MB: Exactly. So I think that’s like the the easiest way for us to swap. And there’s some really great videos I actually recommend watching some of the students CalCentral videos tutorials on swap because you can kind of visually show you how to do it. Show you how the swap function works and I think that’s the most helpful
LV: Register for all the classes you are going to register for, and then go back, and do the swap. That way you just put you over your unit limit.
MB: That is like the pro-tip of the podcast, with our registration podcast, pro tip number one be in the schedule you need to be in, and then use the swap function as a perk.
LV: Exactly. If you’re having problems registering for a class and you keep getting an error check the “i” button that we showed you in the video and GBA and schedule planner, because there might be a reserve cap that you didn’t realize was there before, or there’s something else in those notes that are telling you why you might not be able to register for it. Remember what Sharon had said earlier. We got like 8000 messages, most of those had to do with reserve caps.
MB: Exactly because students oftentimes, since you’re like hey I’m an engineer, I should have priority in this course. And what you’re not realizing if you check the “i”, you’ll realize wow, engineering does have priority. But this is like a 700 people class. Only 400 seats are reserved for engineers. The other 200 are reserved for L&S undeclared students, and one hundred for like seniors who really need it. And so sometimes what it is, there absolutely was a priority but those seats were already filled. And that’s why you’re getting this error message, so what can really help you kind of revamp your schedule, and then go back into your GBA notes, and see like OK what were my alternative classes that my advisor recommended in the scenario. And so those alternative classes aren’t just there for fun just to be like, hey alternates like it’s good. Those are there because sometimes you know certain classes do have reserve priorities, and unfortunately, they fill up. So we want you to be prepared to feel like you know I didn’t get the ideal schedule, but I have a schedule that works. I’m in compliance with COE, I’m on track to graduate. I mean and those are really our goals. So one of the things about college is you have to be flexible, but at the end of the day you’re still going to be meeting all the goals you need to graduate on time.
LV: The math 53 is not a prerequisite for math 54. We talked about this a lot in GBA, and we made it so that you can look at the different schedules, but you can take those classes in which every way that you want to, but you just need to be aware that math 53 is either a prerequisite or concurrent requisite for things like physics. So you’ll have to make sure that you’re taking the math class that’s required.
MB: Definitely. And one thing for some of you who’ve been playing around on guides.berkeley.edu. That’s our online course guide so you can see descriptions of all the classes on there. One of the things you want to remember, for instance, if we’re looking at math 53 versus math 54 in the guide, there’s a little blue hyperlinking you and it will actually show you basically information on those courses about repeats and things like that. So, for instance, it will also show requirements. Let’s say for, math 53, the requirement is math 1A, math 1B, so similar for those physics courses. So although, in GBA, when you’re doing the engineering specific, we kind of try to point those out. You can always go into a guide, and click that blue hyperlink, and not only will it tell you repeat rules, it will tell you any course requirements for a course, and this is a great pro-tip when you start exploring upper division courses. So shout out to all of our amazing transfer students, some of you are going to come in right off the bat and be ready to take upper division coursework. And if that’s the case, feel free to head over to guide.berkeley.edu, whether it be MSE, Mech E, any of our amazing Civ E courses. Basically, if you’re unsure if you’re ready for a course, just go ahead and click that hyperlink, and it’ll show you the pre-reqs or the co-reqs, and co-reqs just means that it can be taken concurrently. So for instance physics 7B can be taken with math 53, you’re still golden or you can complete it first, and you’re ready to be in the course. So go ahead, and check that out. I think that’s a great tip just to make sure. Sometimes students are concerned if they’re going to be prepared. And there are even some upper division that actually have very few, if any, pre-reqs. So there’s a lot of options out there.
LV: And just to kind of build on that a little bit for our Frosh students, when you complete the GBA, the courses that were suggested to you were based on the math course that you were told is that you wanted to take. So if you downgrade the math course make sure you double check that pre-req, its pretty important.
MB: Absolutely. And I just want to say, another of our favorite jams here in engineering is, like downgrading your math course. Yes. I live for that, because you know, as some of you have had amazing AP math teachers or IB teachers they’re simply fabulous but you know what, taking it at Berkeley is a whole different world. And really a lot of times sometimes your AP test scores although fabulous, and great preparation for taking rigorous courses. We absolutely salute you, and encourage all of our intended students to take AP courses. There’s still nothing quite like taking math in Berkeley so if you feel like you really just kind of want to come in, and you know, learn from the best and brightest, and make sure what you were taught in your AP course was really setting you up for success. We highly recommend taking this step back and taking math 1B, Math 1A, you will still graduate on time, we have students who come and who take precalculus, math 32 is our amazing amazing amazing 4-unit precalc class, and they graduate on time in four years, and go on to be some of the most amazing engineers on the planet. So don’t feel like scared to be like, oh my God! I’m only in calculus or OH MY GOD I’M ONLY precalculus everyone’s so much better than me. You’re going to graduate on time. That’s absolutely not the case. Some of our best engineers came to Berkeley and took precalculus here and that’s what helped make them so fabulous.
LV: And last but not least if you run into problems on the day that you’re doing your registration, please immediately send a ticket to Cal student central right away
MB: One of our new amazing features this year is when you are having registration problems on whether it be July 16th or July 18th, the registrar and Cal student Central has really stepped up the bat, and they’re going to have all hands on deck to help answer your questions. So we would highly recommend that you are experiencing that issue, for you to send in a help ticket immediately so you can get a response on what is going on with your registration. That being said we definitely want you to first though go to schedule planner and click that little “i” just to make sure it’s not a course-based restriction.
LV: We want you to go to the sis.berkeley.edu, and on the upper right hand corner is a link that says “Help:, has all kinds of things for you to click on, to report an issue to get more enrollment FAQs. It’s a pretty robust thing here. You can also send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. And as we get going on the days, starting with the transfer students on the 16th, we are realizing that there’s problems or a lot of questions coming in, we’ll have answers as we get them, and we’ll make sure that that’s the best place for you to go, so check out our engineering.berkeley.edu/ess and click on registration troubleshooting. We also have a link on this podcast if you want to be able to get there fast. Maybe find it ahead of time, and bookmark it so that you can find it the day of
MB: Do it, its amazing. Our director gets those updates from department heads and department chairs we go in and we we make those notes for you all. So that is great but like Laura said, be flexible, your registration requires you to be just like you’re doing some yoga, like just be chill, be bendy, know that there’s other alternatives. There are five different ways to make a schedule. So yes, I know it seems stressful, because it’s your first time, and maybe your parent is looking over your shoulder. You know tell them to go get iced coffee for you. And just, kind of, be flexible and know that it’s going to all work out. At the end of the day, we will definitely help you get into two techs and 12 units.
LV: Monica thank you so much for joining us today.
MB: Yea, I know this was overwhelming. Probably did not answer all of your questions, because you have a million great questions, but also trust that we will meet you at Golden Bear Orientation. So, all of your advisors will be there that first week before classes start to meet you freshmen and transfers, and we will have a small group advising. You can ask the questions that we didn’t get to hear. So even if your adviser is busy answering a million schedules, when you show up in August, before school starts, you will definitely have a chance to meet your advisor, and ask additional questions, and even during that time make adjustments to your schedule. The schedule you have, like Laura said, on July 16th, July 18th, isn’t final by any means. Still plenty of time. All the way up to that fourth week midweek deadline to make adjustments.
LV: So thank you again for coming today and thank you everyone for tuning in. If you have other questions please e-mail us at email@example.com. You can also email your adviser all summer long, they’re here and willing to answer questions, and thank you all so much for tuning in. Bye.
MB: Bye. Go Bears!