Course Registration Advice

Aim to take 16 credits this fall, including the First-Year Tutorial, a four-credit class. (Most students take about 16 credits per semester, but between 12 and 18 is a full load.) So, now you need to consider what else will round out your schedule.

Resources for Choosing Classes

Your faculty adviser (your Tutorial professor) is your primary resource as you make decisions about your academic plan. Every new student registers for their classes upon arrival to Grinnell, during New Student Orientation. Whatever pre-planning you do will help that process go smoothly.

Prior to meeting with your adviser, consult these three essential resources:

  1. Departmental Advising and Registration Suggestions describes each academic subject in alphabetical order by department, and gives suggestions for courses to take, in which order, with an eye towards the possibility of majoring in that discipline.
  2. The Schedule of Courses displays the courses, with descriptions and prerequisites, offered in a specific semester. It is searchable by subject, level, time of day, and instructor’s name. (See directions below.)
  3. The Grinnell College Academic Catalog is the official listing of all courses offered at Grinnell. Within it, departments, majors, and concentrations are listed. The catalog does not indicate which courses are offered in which semesters; for that information check the Online Schedule of Courses (above).

In addition, now that you have your Grinnell online credentials, check out the student planning tool in Colleague Self Service and begin adding classes there. Review instructions (login required) if you want a little more guidance.

  • Do you have prior experience in a language? Take the Languages for Life survey (received via email this summer) and follow the instructions there.
  • Did you take AP, Cambridge A-Level, CAPE, or IB exams? Look at how your exam performance will equate to courses you get credit for at Grinnell and the level it entitles you to.
  • Do you have prior experience in math, statistics, computer science or physics? During New Student Orientation you will have a chance to speak with faculty in these departments to determine the right course placement if you intend to take more classes in these fields.

Courses Available to First-Year Students

To identify which classes are open to first-year students, do the following:

  1. Go to the searchable Schedule of CoursesUse the "Advanced Search" (it should default to this).
  2. Enter these parameters for your search:
    • Results View: Catalog Listing shows course descriptions and pre-requisites, while Section Listing offers a more compact view (and you can still see those details by clicking on a particular class); you can use whichever you prefer
    • Term: select a semester, e.g., “Fall 2022”
    • Location (about halfway down): “Main Campus”
    • Course Type (at the bottom): select “Open to First Years”
  3. Click “Submit.”

This will display a very long list of classes to choose from.

To narrow the parameters of your search, use the “Filter Results” options on the left side. Under "Subjects," you will find each of the majors and programs offered at Grinnell. It is important to plan for the possibility of several different majors in your first year as you explore coursework.

You will also find interdisciplinary areas of study. Many of these classes are open to first-year students. Interdisciplinary studies offer a way to investigate intersections across fields of knowledge and are sometimes the gateway course to one of the concentrations. Examples are American studies; East Asian studies; environmental studies; European studies; global development studies; general literary studies; humanities; Latin American studies; linguistics; neuroscience; peace and conflict studies; policy studies; Russian, Central European, and Eurasian studies; science, medicine and society; and studies in Africa, Middle East, and South Asia.

Dates for Advising and Registration

  • Between June 1 and 15, provide your top five preferences for the Tutorial on the New Student Checklist.
  • By July 15, complete Advising Information form available on the New Student Checklist after considering what classes you want to take to complement your Tutorial. Your comments on this form will give your faculty adviser an idea of your background and interests.
  • Between Aug. 19-24 you will meet with your adviser during New Student Orientation (NSO) and finish registering for the rest of your fall classes with your adviser’s guidance.
  • Classes start on Aug. 25.

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