Students walking

A group of students walk across East Carolina University's campus. 

Registering for courses at East Carolina University can be a difficult process for some students, but ECU advisors and other faculty members are able to assist and guide students in any way possible and can be a resource that is useful for registering for classes in the future.

Daniel Wiseman, an academic advisor at ECU, said regardless of a student’s major, class registration is based off of credit hours. Seniors typically would register for classes first, then juniors, sophomores and freshmen. Incoming freshmen don’t have any credit hours, so they are the last to register, according to Wiseman.

“I would advise students to continue to take and pass classes each semester in order to earn more credits and register for future classes ahead of other students,” Wiseman said.

Occasionally, Wiseman said he will have students come in who have registered for classes as soon as possible and are still waitlisted. The majority of students may not get all the classes they need and may not have a perfect schedule, but as long as students work with their advisor, they will be on track for graduation, according to Wiseman.

Wiseman said every ECU advisor monitors the waitlists and if a student needs a class, the advisors will continue to work with them to ensure they are put into that class. The advisors will always do whatever is needed for students to sufficiently stay on track for graduation.

“I have a very small number of seniors at this time who are still on a waitlist for a class they need,” Wiseman said. “Students should constantly check up with their advisors, especially after the tuition deadline...because spots for classes will become available after that date.”

If it is a class they can take in the future, Wiseman advises students to remain on the waitlist, but it will be okay if they aren’t able to get in that current semester and he would advise students to take it the following semester.

“If a student isn’t able to take a class right away because it’s full and no spots are available, it’s not going to hold them back greatly and they will graduate on time,” Wiseman said. “If a student doesn’t pass a class, then that might restrict them graduating on time.”

It’s more difficult to be removed from the waitlist and added to the class if the waitlist is 25 students compared to five. Availability depends on the specific class and it depends on how many students are on the waitlist, according to Wiseman.

“Classes aren’t a guarantee but that’s what the advisors are here for. We will let them know if it’s truly okay if they aren’t able to get that class at that time,” Wiseman said “If it’s a graduation issue or whatever the issue may be, contact us and we’ll make sure we can do what we can and make sure we get them all set up at the end of the day.”

Director of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences Academic Advising & Resource Center (THCAS AARC), LeAnn Etheridge, said in general, each class offered at ECU is different and there could be a lot of reasons why students don’t get into a particular class and are waitlisted.

Before registration, students should check the registrar’s website to see the registration schedule to know when they should begin to register for classes. Most advising departments have registration guidance on their websites that students should definitely look at and become familiar with the information, according to Etheridge.

“The way the registration process is set up, it’s designed to help the students who are juniors and seniors get the classes they need because freshmen have the most flexibility in their schedule,” Etheridge said.

Additionally, Etheridge said students should also review the requirements for their specific major in Degreeworks, which can be a useful tool to know what classes students will need to take for their major and write down their list of courses they plan on taking.

“Be honest with your advisor about how you are doing in classes,” Etheridge said. We are not here to judge you if you fail, but we can’t help you or provide accurate guidance if we don’t know the facts.” 

During final exam season or over the holiday break, students may adjust their schedules or perhaps even change their majors, so students should be checking their email constantly, according to Etheridge. Students have until the first week of classes to make adjustments to their schedule and after that, still have time to drop or add classes.

If students feel like they are unable to complete the desired courses during the spring semester, Etheridge said summer school is also an option, even at a community college. There are different options students can choose from if they are waitlisted or aren’t able to get into class right away, but it won’t restrict them enough to where they won’t graduate on time

“Most majors are flexible enough where students can switch classes around and still graduate on time,” Etheridge said.

Freshman nursing major Lylian Treece will go into her second semester at ECU this spring. She hoped to get into anatomy next semester, but when she went to register, she was unable to sign up because the class was already full. This class doesn’t offer a waitlist, so she couldn’t even be placed on that, Treece said.

“It’s a little frustrating because I did not encounter this problem whenever I first registered for classes as an incoming freshman. I got all the classes I wanted to take and even picked up a few classes I wasn’t planning on taking,” Treece said. “It worked out perfectly, but with this semester coming up, I now have to rearrange my whole pre-requisite schedule.”

Treece was planning on graduating a semester early, but if she can’t take anatomy with ECU this next semester, that means she will have to rearrange her entire plan. She said her advisor told her to keep checking the class and her email because she planned to take community classes in the summer, but it was recommended to her that she take ECU’s anatomy class.

“According to my advisor anatomy is a very difficult class, so students will most likely drop it during the first week of next semester which will give me a chance to get in,” Treece said.

Although multiple students are experiencing difficulties with scheduling their required classes, advisors in each department will continue to work towards “finishing in four.”

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