Fall semester course registration will be open to all students by April 21. With the current coronavirus situation, it is easy to forget there are still classes planned after the year ends.

After all that’s gone on, students needn’t fear course registration. UT’s academic advisors are still here to help.

Kirsten Pitcock, UT’s coordinator for academic advising for the departments of English and history, spoke to the Beacon about course registration and how coronavirus has affected it.

Pitcock hopes that students planned ahead and already laid out their academic plan. However, she emphasized that UT advisors are still actively making appointments for those without one.

“For the regular semester, hopefully, they’ve already made a plan with their advisor. If not, I don’t know anyone who’s not available for their students virtually,” Pitcock said “We’ve still been able to meet with students to think about things.”

A student’s academic plan is their charter through the upcoming summer and fall semesters. It lists out the courses they need to take for graduation, as well as those they want to try out of sheer interest.

Merrill Walker, undergraduate advisor for the Haslam College of Business, pointed to the academic plan as the first thing students should look to while registering. She described it as an easy way to keep track of all of a student’s required classes.

“The first is to look at the academic plan you make with your advisor. We’ll rank the classes in order of importance,” Walker said. “So if there are classes you absolutely need to take in the fall, we’ll have marked that on your plan.”

However, required classes aren’t everything. There are multiple ways to build a course schedule around your personal interests and career goals. For that, Walker recommends exploring the course catalog for classes that peak personal interest.

“We already remind students to review the catalog and review course descriptions, especially for those requirements where you have options,” Walker said. “That’s an opportunity to find something that’d be the best or most interesting course for you — based on your interests and what you see yourself doing after graduation.”

When registering for classes, an issue on many a student’s mind is how difficult each class will be.

However, Pitcock encourages students to not pass up “difficult classes,” as they may be a good way to explore more topics and find new interests. Those classes may also not be as hard as first appearances suggest.

“I don’t really believe in easy classes. I think there are classes that feel easier for some student than others, but that really depends on the student,” Pitcock said. “If I could go back, I wish I had explored things I hadn’t explored previously. I tended to be drawn to classes that felt more familiar, which is what a lot of my students do.”

The biggest hurdle that coronavirus has caused for registration is summer term registration. UT faculty haven’t finalized summer courses yet or how online courses will function.

Since summer courses are more intensive, with students doing in seven weeks what is usually taught in three months, students may find these classes more difficult. Add online coursework into the mix, and the question becomes a lot more complicated. Synchronous classes, where students need to log into class every day, may lead to students taking unreasonably early or late classes depending on time zone.

Pitcock recommends talking to your advisor to create a plan, but also suggested talking to your summer course professors to avoid this.

“Faculty are still deciding what online classes will look like in the summer now that they have time to actually prepare for it,” Pitcock said. “You want to find out if a class is going to be synchronous or not, especially for students in different time zones. If there’s a time listed, you want to reach out to the instructor. I wouldn’t sign up just hoping it’s not synchronous.”

Freshman course registration will open on April 20 and 21. You can register for courses via your MyUTK account and schedule advising appointments through GradesFirst or by emailing your advisor.

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