This week on the (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer we are talking about What’s Next. You’ve finished Golden Bear Advising and you’re registering for courses beginning this week! ESS Adviser Chaniqua Butscher joins us to talk about what it means if you are on waitlists, how to make the best use of the swap function, and how to make sure your schedule is the best for you as you get ready for classes to start in August.
- Contact your adviser or make an appointment: engineering.berkeley.edu/ess
LAURA VOGT: Hello and thank you for tuning in to The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer. My name is Laura Vogt, and I’m the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for the College of Engineering. You’ve finished Golden Bear Advising, went over your schedule with your ESS Adviser and this week all of you will be registering! So what’s next? This week, I am delighted to have Chaniqua Butscher here to talk about what you should be doing now that you have registered.
CHANIQUA BUTSCHER: Hello. Thank you, I am an ESS adviser. I advise mechanical and nuclear engineers and I have worked on campus now for about 14 years, four of which have been right here in the College of Engineering. And I’m excited to welcome all of our new students.
LV: Well thank you very much for joining us today. What should students be keeping in mind about Phase 1 and the number of units they can enroll in?
CB: In phase 1 you will be able to sign up for 17.5 units. It is important that you sign up for any courses that are in high demand. So ones that fill up pretty quickly due the popularity or classes that have lower enrollment numbers and definitely you want to get until your technical courses. Those are your most essential enrollments for phase 1.
LV: And is there a set number of units that you want students to keep in mind as they are adjusting their schedules?
CB: Do remember that there is a twelve unit minimum for the College of Engineering, so you definitely want to maintain that. And this is your first semester so do be aware that it’s OK to have a more conservative schedule this first time around, just that you leave room for transition and being social and doing some other things as you adjust from wherever you’re coming from to UC Berkeley. And also, remember that units do not necessarily equal workload. So while one student may have a 12 unit schedule and another student might have a 15 unit schedule, that 12 unit schedule might equal a lot more work depending on the courses that a student’s enrolled in. So don’t necessarily equate units with workload.
LV: When most students start seeing their waitlist number changing or being added into a class?
CB: Waitlists are actually, most of them are done through an automatic process and that happens about four times a day. So it changes quite regularly. You’re going to want to make sure that you’re checking your schedule often just to see any changes that have happened and that usually takes place all the way up until week three. At which point many of the waitlist will go manual where department schedulers will go in and select out specific students based on their own reservation criteria.
LV: ill students get notification of if they’ve been taken off the waitlist?
CB: No. Students actually don’t get notified notified when they’re added from a waitlist. So you do want to check your schedule often, as I stated before. And certainly, if you decide that you don’t want to be on a waitlist anymore, go ahead and drop yourself out of that so that you don’t behind the scenes get enrolled, and all of a sudden week five you learn that you’re enrolled in a class that you haven’t been attending and you’re now responsible for.
LV: And that has to do with the swaps even if you swapped a course you don’t get a notification that the courses have been swapped…
CB: Correct. Bottom line is really to check your schedule often especially if you’re in any swaps or any wait lists.
LV: And do you have any advice for how to make sure you get the best position on a wait list?
CB: Yes. So in order to make sure that you’re in high priority off of a wait list be sure first of all that you actually meet the reservation criteria. So that might be a class level or a certain major and there’s a few other criteria there. So just make sure that you meet that criteria, whatever it is. And also, if there are any associated sections with a course, like a discussion section, be sure that you have put yourself on the waitlist for the one that’s most available or actually has an opening because another student who might be lower on the waitlist but is in a section that is more available would be added into the class ahead of you. And lastly, just make sure that you don’t have any time conflicts with any other classes that you’re enrolled in are also might be waitlisted for.
LV: And how do you handle time conflicts? Do you suggest that students avoid them completely?
CB: Well time conflicts are a little bit varied in that certain departments do allow for time conflicts, especially if they have a number of courses that have broadcast courses or webcasts casted courses. So obviously you don’t have to be at a specific place and time, but not all classes have that availability, so not all departments actually allow for time overlaps or conflicts between courses. So if you find yourself in a position where you really need to be allowed a time conflict, then you should contact that respective department to see what their policies are and see if there might be a way around enrolling in the class.
LV: What does it mean if a student is shopping courses and should they be shopping courses?
CB: Shopping courses essentially is attending maybe the first one or two lectures or sections of a course just to kind of see what it’s about, see if you like what the topic is, if you enjoy the professor/instructor without actually being enrolled in the class. And you’ve gone through GBA already and you probably have a good set schedule and even your alternate courses are probably good options as well so shopping is not really necessary for you but if you find that there is an HSS course here or there that also sound interesting to you in addition to the courses that you plan to sign up for then that’s OK to shop those classes a little bit but you definitely don’t want to go too far into the semester. I would really suggest no later than week two that you stop shopping classes and be in your finalized schedule
LV: And they also need to be cognizant of that early drop deadline that we’ve got.
CB: Yes there is an early drop deadline for specific courses.
LV: And I know we’ve got a couple of tips for students that just wanted to reiterate and one of them is about swapping courses. We talked about this in your last podcast for registration tips but one more time, if you decide that you want to swap of course, make it be the last thing that you do when you’re signing up for your classes. Otherwise if you’re already at 17.5 units or you’re close to it and you did the swap the course first and then you decide to add another class in there you’re not going to be able to because that puts your unit count over that 17.5. But if you add all your classes first and then do the swaps, the system doesn’t read them as part of that 17.5 units. You’ve kind of tricked the system a little. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for like flexibility.
CB: Yes. So you definitely do want to be flexible when it comes to your schedule. Do you keep checking to see if of course that you want has openings in the class. Even if it’s been full the day before but you might have to take a class at a different time than planned. So there’s multiple sections you might have to choose that 8 o’clock instead of the twelve o’clock option
LV: And last, I really want to say now that you’ve done your registration and you’ve got maybe a little bit more time this summer as you get ready to come here and be a Berkeley Engineer, listen to the podcast. If this is the first podcast you listen to we’ve got some great podcast that we did before I mentioned the one where we interviewed a couple of freshmen and a couple of transfer students. They talk about their first year experience, how they picked student offerings, how they investigated more about faculty and research positions and what they did to make their first year the best first year that they could do. They’ve got just really good tips and I it’s just they were just awesome to interview. I really had a good time talking to them. We also are having some podcast coming up about all the Golden Bear Orientation, we’ve got a podcast about financial aid, if you’ve got questions about financial aid, so make sure you check out the podcast keep on top of it and read the newsletters that we’re sending out, please. Throughout the year we’re gonna have newsletters that go out every Monday so get in the habit of reading the newsletter that comes out on Mondays.
CB: Essential information in those newsletters.
LV: Thank you Chaniqua for joining us today. You’ve given us a lot of some good tips of what we’re going to be doing over the summer and what we need to keep on top of. And I appreciate your time.
CB: Thank you for having me and happy enrollment to all of our incoming students!
LV: And thank you everyone for tuning in today to The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer and I look forward to bringing you even more information next week. Thank you.