Tutorial Registration FAQ

If I submit my preferences early will that improve my chances of getting one of my top choices?

No. Every student who enters their top 5 preferences for the tutorial by the June 15th deadline has an equal chance of getting their preferences. This is not a first-come, first-served placement process. After the registration period closes, student will be placed into classes all at once using a sophisticated sorting method developed by mathematicians. (If you are mathematically-minded, check out this journal article to learn more about the “Sorting Hat” algorithm (PDF) used in our process.)

Will I get one of my top 2 or 3 choices?

Not necessarily. Many students will get one of their top choices, but others won’t. That is why we ask you to pick 5 different classes that sound interesting to you. Grinnell has a very strong commitment to holding this class size very small, to 12-14 students. To distribute students evenly across all of the classes means that we to have to take all 5 of your preferences into consideration. And, rarely, we have to place students into a section in which they did not express interest. Fortunately studies comparing students’ initial preferences with their ultimate satisfaction with the class show little to no correlation — which means that students who end up with a class that they weren’t initially as excited about often have a terrific experience.

Should I pick a tutorial based on advice from current students about the professor?

With caution. Advice you get from current students should be weighed carefully. All of the faculty teaching tutorial are full-time faculty at Grinnell and are well-prepared to teach the class. Grinnell has, quite frankly, amazing instructors.

Should I pick a tutorial that is taught by a professor from the department that I want to major in?

No, this need not be a consideration in your choice. Your tutorial professor is also your academic adviser, but, regardless of their departmental affiliation, your adviser will know Grinnell’s curriculum well and be positioned to assist you in your first couple of years as you craft your own educational plan.

Will I receive a confirmation email when I submit my form?

Yes. An email message will be sent to your personal email and to your Grinnell email accounts from the Grinnell College Academic Advising Office. The absence of a confirmation means that there was a hiccup in your internet connection or in the system at the time you tried to register and we do not have your choices. If you do not receive a confirmation email after several minutes, please try again. If you continue to have issues, contact advising@grinnell.edu

Will I only have one chance to enter my choices for this class? What if I change my mind before the deadline of June 15?

The tutorial registration system allows you to change your mind as often as you wish between your first entry and June 15. So, if a different topic appeals to you after you have already registered your 5 preferences, you can still change your preferences or the order of your preferences before 11:59 p.m., Central Daylight Time on June 15.

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