Preregistration: that most terrifying of words, an inducer of stress, the moment at which fates are decided. As a first-year, it just confused me–why couldn’t I just sign up for classes and be done with it? But as shopping week came around, I was grateful for the ability to easily rearrange my schedule. The first time I did preregistration, I’d wanted to take Japanese, French, film, and anthropology on top of my Emily Balch seminar. When I left my dean’s office for the first time, I was signed up for anthropology (albeit a different kind than I’d expected), French, my Esem, and a costume design course. Second semester, I got lotteried out of a class and my backup was not nearly as appealing as it had sounded on Bionic. I ended up taking a class at Haverford that I never would have known about if not for the preregistration/shopping week system.
This time around, I was prepared. Since I had to fill out a sophomore plan at the beginning of the year and I’d declared my major in October, I already had to look at the courses being offered this spring. I knew I needed to take a math course and I’d put down some anthropology and film courses on my major plans, so I thought I was pretty much set for preregistration. Just in case, I decided to double check the courses a few days before preregistration started on Monday morning.
Before checking, my plan for the spring semester had been to take the following:
Forensic Anthropology – to broaden my experiences within my major
Anthropology of DIY Movements – with a Haverford professor I enjoyed
Statistics – gotta fill those college-wide requirements!
Identification in Cinema – I’d taken a course with the same name at Haverford the previous spring, but they were supposed to be different.

The first blow to the plan was when I discovered that Anthropology of DIY Movements was no longer being offered. Instead, that professor was teaching two other courses–neither of which particularly appealed to me or fit into my schedule. I read through all of the course descriptions and decided on Museum Anthropology as a replacement. I then decided to check out the film courses, eager to take something that wasn’t an introductory course. I ended up with four film classes in my shopping cart. Oops.
While on the phone with my mom, she lamented that I was only taking courses related to my majors and the other requirements instead of exploring other subjects like English, history, or the arts. So I checked the English courses and discovered that a professor I had last year was teaching a poetry class that looked cool. Success! Except it was at the same time as Forensic Anthropology. I figured I could deal with that later.
As I tried to decide between poetry and forensics, I also tried to narrow down the film classes. I settled on Sex on Screens, which is taught by the major adviser of the film program, and an experimental media production/history course at Haverford that I thought would be an interesting way to get out of my comfort zone. Unfortunately, I still had six courses in my shopping cart–and I can only preregister for four (though it’s possible to add a fifth during shopping week).
I found out from a friend that the poetry professor was planning to retire this year, so this would be my last chance to take a class with her. I’d loved her class last spring, so I decided to put forensics on hold, even though I love that professor as well (all the professors at Bryn Mawr are so awesome that it makes it really hard to choose classes based on who is teaching it). I then realized that if I dropped the production course, I wouldn’t have any classes on Friday–which sounds awesome to most people, but for me, I knew it wouldn’t be good for my work drive. I talked to a few upperclass friends and decided to try out taking five classes, see how it felt, and drop one if needed. I felt that I had a pretty good mix of subjects in my schedule and didn’t want to part with any of them. Besides, with two once-a-week classes, I’d definitely be able to handle the workload.
On Monday, I got up at 8:15 to get ready for breakfast with my friends. I preregistered for four classes, deciding to send an email to the fifth professor in case the enrollment jumped later in the week. Here’s what my schedule is (probably) going to look like:

yes, I color-code my classes.

yes, I color-code my classes.

I’m really happy with the way this preregistration worked out–I’m excited to take the courses I signed up for and I’ll even have some friends in my statistics class if everything stays the same. It’s really helpful to just calm down and make a list of the courses you want to take. Make note of the professor, the time, and what the workload will be like, along with why you want to take the course (i.e. for a requirement, because a friend said it changed their life, because you love the professor, whatever!). Preregistration doesn’t have to be stressful. It can actually be kind of fun to look at all the fascinating courses being offered! Now, all I have left to do is to daydream about color-coded school supplies and decide how to differentiate among all five classes.

Good luck to everyone figuring out their schedule for next semester!

2 thoughts on “Preregistration

  1. This is super random and I hope you’re able to see this, but anyway I’m a junior in high school in North Dakota and I’m seriously considering applying to BMC this winter. I’m just wondering, how do I know it’s right? A visit is in the works, but I’m also curious to hear what a current student would say when asked, “Who fits in at Bryn Mawr?”. I’d love to keep in contact with you over email.

    • Hi!! Sorry I’m just getting back to you, but you can absolutely email me! My Bryn Mawr email is And I don’t necessarily know what will be right for you, but I’m a firm believer that anyone who wants to fit in at Bryn Mawr absolutely will. It’s a community of academically driven, fun-loving, outspoken, passionate women who place a high value on functioning as a community. There’s no one set of interests that defines a Bryn Mawr student: instead, I’d say it’s more about always striving to know more, do better, and work (and play!) harder. But most liberal arts colleges seem to say that about their students, so for me, it was really the sense of community that felt almost tangible on campus in how friendly and excited everyone was as well as Bryn Mawr students’ obvious proclivity for fun that made me want to come here. People here are passionate about learning, of course, but they also value beautiful surroundings, the fun-filled traditions, and even sacrificing to a statue of Athena. Self-governance means that we all get to have a say in how the college operates, and plenary resolutions like recommending that the college take care to hire more professors of color or creating a committee to better support STEM majors show where our priorities lie as a community. I could honestly go on forever talking about all the things I love about Bryn Mawr, but I’ll let you tell me what else you want to know. It’s impressive that you’ve already come here to get more information about the school–if you do visit, let me know, and maybe we can grab coffee or something! 🙂

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