Snapshots of Brown: My Favorite 8am? Pre-Registration.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 12.05.17 PMWelcome to Snapshots of Brown, your destination for pics of Brown all year long! I’m Celina Stewart, and I’ll be bringing you little photo insights into my third year on Brown’s campus. What’s up this week? Let’s take a look… 

For one week every semester, most students wake up at 8am at least one morning. Rather than being some strange, cultish practice or a meaningful statement of early rising, instead you’ll hear sighs and occasional strangled noises of despair as students all log-on to Banner and attempt to do one thing: register for the next semester’s courses.

Picking classes is a fundamental part of the Brown experience- how else will you get to embrace the open curriculum than to put as many courses as possible in your cart (pictured above)? As you can see, I have Religious Studies, Computer Science, and History represented in my current cart, which will probably change as it gets closer to registration (ONE WEEK!! How to decide??). Read along to see how to build a balanced cart, and some tips to make registration less stressful.

How it works:

Brown assigns all students a specific day to register, with seniors (in fall) and juniors (in spring) registering first. Before your concentration is declared, you’ll get an advising PIN from your advisor that you’ll input to “register” your cart. Once you declare, you no longer need that PIN anymore.

When you go to get your PIN, your advisor will likely want to discuss courses with you, helping you to build a strong academic program, and giving them an opportunity to know you better. If you want to go ahead and talk to a potential concentration advisor, they’ll probably be receptive- as long as you ask them early enough (otherwise they may devote time to concentrator advising).

Then, wake up at 8am on the morning you’ve been assigned, and click away! For some courses, like seminars or language courses, there may only be 15-20 seats available. If you don’t get in, don’t worry! You can always email the professor or get on a wait list- and you reregister at the beginning of the semester, before shopping period starts, and people often reserve slots in seminars, shop the course, and then drop (allowing you and your vigilant self to swoop in and grab their newly vacated slot).

What to avoid:

  • Don’t overload your cart with too many courses in one department, unless you know you enjoy that department (or are fulfilling concentration requirements).
  • Don’t solely take required classes, unless you have a balanced plan to do so. For example, in fulfilling IR requirements, I tried to take the pre-requisite courses offered that semester, as well as one language class. The other slots available, I filled with classes that interested me.
  • Don’t take courses in an overwhelming manner- that 10:00-10:50am, 11:00-11:50, and 12:30-2:00 seminar may all look great, but being in class for 4 hours straight may overwhelm you, especially if you have the chance to take other classes.

Make sure you…

  • DO explore! I’ve taken classes in Political Science, History, Anthropology, Music, Russian, Computer Science, Sociology, Hispanic Studies, Economics, and Religious Studies to name several.
  • DO take courses you’re interested in, rather than those you know you’ll have friends in. Having study partners is important, but likely you’ll make friends in your courses, even if you go in without knowing anyone.
  • DO balance work with activities. Know your limits! Taking five (or six, if you do what I do and participate in Chorus without getting credit for it) can be overwhelming- there’s nothing wrong with taking four courses and devoting extra time to homework and activities.

Have questions or comments? Want more details? Send an email to and I’ll get back ASAP!


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