Hi, Mason Families!
Well, maybe hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again – course registration for next semester. Your students have received multiple notifications from their academic department, their advisor, the Provost and even the Registrar about this, but I wanted to reach out, as a parent of a college student myself, to answer some questions that may be on your mind.
When does my student register, and what is a ‘time ticket’?
Students register in the order of graded credits achieved, in other words, students with the highest number of credits (like seniors) register first. Students are sent a ‘time ticket’ by the Registrar’s office, which is the window during which their ability to register for courses opens. You may have seen a note from the Registrar that this semester, all on-campus residential students, regardless of their total credit hours, will be permitted a small window in which to register on the first day of registration – November 6. That window is open only briefly for them at that time but will remain open for a longer time at the scheduled openings listed below. So if they happen to miss that small window on November 6, please feel free to remind them that they will have another opportunity.
How does my student know what to register for?
The best advice here is to encourage your student to meet with their academic advisor. Advisors help students navigate the course options each semester to figure out what makes the most sense for them. They are policy and curriculum experts in the various majors and a student’s best interpreter of course progression plans and requirements.
The advisors have launched email appointment campaigns reminding students of the importance of meeting with them, but it’s possible some students don’t look at their emails (right?). So if you feel that you need to prod them to connect with their advisor, you won’t hear a complaint from me.
The websites of the various academic programs on campus also keep a copy of the ‘four-year plans’ for each major. These are suggested and not necessarily prescribed paths, but they can be helpful in showing students all of the courses that are part of the major.
Students also have at their disposal a tool in Patriot Web called ‘Degree Works’. This tool is a running tally of courses a student has completed toward their major and what courses still remain.
Some students may be very organized and keeping a record of what courses to take at what time, but even they should make a point of checking in with their advisor at least once a semester.
But what if my student doesn’t know who their advisor is?
There is a wonderful tool called the Advisor Locator that can definitely help with that. Or a student can also find information on the main website of their degree program (usually by finding the ‘academics’, ‘current student’ or ‘advising’ menu.
If that is ever not successful, the central advising leadership team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and are happy to help direct students who email them to the correct team.
Where does my student go to register?
Students register for courses through the Patriot Web portal. If your student is new to Mason and may not remember how to do it, there is a tutorial on the Registrar’s website, or they can get a virtual walk-through of the steps with their advisor.
When does the time ticket window close?
Students can continue to amend or update their schedules and course registrations from the start of their time tickets through the end of the add period in spring semester. In other words, a junior can make changes to their course registrations from November 9, 2020 all the way until Monday, February 1, 2021! No one recommends that a student make frequent changes – courses do have limited enrollment and will eventual fill up – but the window of opportunity may be longer than you realize.
The full spring 2021 calendar can be found on the Registrar’s website here: https://registrar.gmu.edu/calendars/spring-2021/
Once your student has gone through the registration process a few semesters in a row, it becomes very familiar for them. Always feel free to suggest they reach out for help if they need – that’s often the toughest step. We’ll get them squared away for spring!
Undergraduate Academic Affairs
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