First Semester Registration Process
The Registrar’s Office builds a schedule for you based on the course preferences you submit. We do our best to enroll you in your top choices, but there may be instances where demand exceeds available spaces.
You will receive your complete schedule when you meet with your advisor at Orientation. You may make changes to your schedule during that meeting as course availability permits. Changes to your schedule may also be made during the add/drop period (first 10 days of the semester).
- Course load. Typically, students enroll in four, 4-credit classes with a 16-credit hour schedule. You may take up to 18 semester hours without being charged additional tuition. A full time student must register for at least 12 semester hours a term.
- Activity courses. You may add 1-credit physical activity classes (we do not have a physical education requirement) and as many music activities as are feasible. Music activities do not count in the semester course load and do not count for credit unless taken in the combinations and/or sequences described in the College Catalog. The Music Department's Studio instruction/private lessons registration and ensemble auditions begin after you arrive on campus.
- Level of the course. 100 and 200 level courses typically do not have pre-requisites and are appropriate for students new to material in that field. 300 level courses in departments you are considering as majors or minors are good options. If in doubt, contact the department chair.
- Balance. Taking courses from different disciplines with different methods of learning is wise. Not only will this expose you to Macalester’s diverse curriculum, but it may also help you avoid taking three reading/writing heavy courses or three lab intensive courses in the same semester. Variety and balance often go hand in hand.
- Course sequencing. Some disciplines are sequentially organized and it is important to take the appropriate level course early in your college career. Language courses are a good example. If you will be continuing in a language you previously studied to meet Mac’s Second Language Requirement, taking that course in the first semester is a wise move. The Sciences and Mathematics are also examples of subjects where course sequencing is critical. Students planning to major in these areas are advised to read the recommendations on the department's website about which course should be taken first.
- Prior college credit or placement. College credit is awarded for courses taken at a college or university prior to entering Macalester and for appropriate scores on the Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate Exams. College credit is not awarded for college in the high school programs. Students who anticipate receiving college credit should not select a course that is equivalent to the course for which credit will be awarded. Similarly, students who are taking courses that have placement exams should take the test prior to selecting courses (in the case of French, German, Spanish and Chemistry) or during orientation (Japanese and Chinese) so that the course selected is appropriate. Schedule adjustments may also be necessary after consultation with the department chair or faculty member teaching the course.
- Graduation Requirements. The college has a set of requirements all students must meet regardless of major. These graduation requirements comprise approximately 1/3 of the credits for graduation. The Registrar's Office will complete a Transfer Credit Evaluation describing how your previous college credits apply to these requirements. It is wise for Transfer students to take stock of their progress on requirements, especially if they come in with Junior standing, to ensure timely graduation. This is particularly true for our Writing Requirement and our Second Language Proficiency Requirement.