Advance Registration Tips

Link to penn intouch

Consult the Academic Calendar for all registration dates.

Pre-major and peer advisors are available to help students navigate their life at Penn, including course selection. All students are encouraged to reach out for advice on how to register for classes. For quick questions, the College Office offers walk-in hours for advising from 12:00 to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday.

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The Registration Tutorial

introduces resources for choosing and registering for courses. Also see: Registration Tutorial for Transfer Students.

Smaller courses, courses in high demand or those students particularly need should be listed at or near the top of the list of requested courses. Writing seminars, in particular, can be difficult to get into.

The system moves through a student's selection list by sifting through primary and alternate requests. Students can be strategic with their choices to better their chances of getting the courses they prefer. Selecting an alternate for every course provides the system with more opportunities to accommodate requests.

Mock schedules are helpful when planning logistics BUT should not be confused with actually requesting courses which can be done by selecting Register for Courses under Registration & Planning in the Penn InTouch menu.

Penn InTouch has no "submit" button to finalize a schedule during Advance Registration. The courses in the system when the Advance Registration deadline hits are what the system will use to create the schedule. Make sure to check the Register for Courses screen before the deadline!

To allow travel time between classes, each one-hour class session is actually 50 minutes long; each hour-and-a-half session is actually 80 minutes long; and each three-hour session is 2 hours and 50 minutes long, usually with a 10 minute break.

The registration system will not allow a student to enroll in two courses that are in time conflict. If there is a time conflict, the system will enroll the student in the first course requested if it is available, and the second conflicting course will be automatically dropped. If the first course is unavailable and the second course is available, the student will be enrolled in the second course.

Note: The code for Thursday is R.

All Penn courses are identified by a course code that is made up of three elements: a four-letter department code, a three-digit course number, and a three-digit section number. All parts of the course code must be entered in order for the registration to be successful.

Multi-activity courses are divided into lecture, recitation and/or a laboratory.

Lectures are typically led by a professor and take place in a large group. They are often, but not always, divided into subgroups called recitations that typically meet once each week in smaller groups for discussions.

Each of these "activities" has its own section code. Only one part of a multi-activity course actually carries the credit. When registering for such a course, the credit-bearing portion must be requested first, and students must be sure to register for all parts.

If a course has several lecture sections, the recitation needs to correspond to the appropriate lecture. Each lecture may be grouped with a specific set of recitations. Students must register for a lecture/recitation within the same group.

This method is best for students with a clear idea of what they want to take and a clear order ranking of those classes. It then maximizes each request in that order by making the 1st alternate the 2nd course, the 2nd alternate the 3rd course, cascading down.

An Example

Course Bank: First Year Seminar (16 seats); Writing Seminar (16 seats); CRIM 100 (90 seats); [CRIM 100 cross-list] SOCI 233 (90 seats); ECON 001 (230 seats & 0 c.u.); ECON Recitation (25 seats)

  1. Primary: First Year Seminar (16 seats)  Alt: Preferred Writing Seminar (16 seats)
  2. Primary: Preferred Writing seminar (16 seats)  Alt: ECON Recitation (25 seats)
  3. Primary: ECON Recitation (25 seats)  Alt: CRIM 100 (90 seats)
  4. Primary: CRIM 100 (90 seats)  Alt: SOCI 233 (90 seats)
  5. Primary: ECON 001 (230 seats, 0 c.u.)
  6. Primary: Additional safety class or recitation   Alt: Additional safety class or recitation
  7. Primary: Additional safety class or recitation   Alt: Additional safety class or recitation

This method is good for students who don’t know exactly what they want to take or who are equally interested in multiple classes. The flexible method prioritizes the courses you have the narrowest opportunity to take: courses that only occur every few years, courses that are small and popular, courses that do not have multiple sections, or courses that take place only during a specific time block that works. On this approach, the courses ranked lowest have the most flexibility to be added later during the course selection period: larger courses, less popular courses or courses with multiple sections.

An Example

Course Bank: First Year Seminar (16 seats); Writing Seminar (16 seats); CRIM 100 (90 seats); SOCI 233 [CRIM 100 cross-list] (90 seats); ECON 001 (230 seats & 0 c.u.); ECON recitation (25 seats)

  1. Primary: First Year Seminar (16 seats)  Alt: Preferred Writing Seminar (16 seats)
  2. Primary: Preferred Writing Seminar (16 seats)  Alt: Alternate Writing Seminar (16 seats)
  3. Primary: CRIM 100 (90 seats)   Alt: SOCI 233 [CRIM 100’s cross-list] (90 seats)
  4. Primary: ECON 001 (230 seats; 0 c.u.)
  5. Primary: preferred ECON recitation (25 seats)  Alt: alternate ECON recitation (25 seats)
  6. Primary: Additional safety class or recitation   Alt: Additional safety class or recitation

Strategically selecting and prioritizing courses increases the likelihood of receiving a favorable schedule, but there is no guarantee that students will be enrolled in all of their requested courses.

Course selection starts about two weeks after Advance Registration ends and lasts approximately two and a half weeks. During the Course Selection Period, students move in and out of courses by adding and dropping on Penn InTouch. Students who still want a course they did not receive during Advance Registration should check back during the Course Selection period to see if room in the class has opened. Until they are sure they can’t get into the class, it is wise for students to attend the course so they do not miss any important material.

During Advance Registration, course requests can be changed and new requests entered on Penn InTouch up until the end of the period. The order of priority given to course requests can also be changed.

When the Course Selection Period begins, students are responsible for ensuring that they are correctly registered for all elements of a course.

College students are limited to 4.5 credits for their first freshman semester and 5.5 every semester thereafter. Since getting into all requested courses is unlikely, students should list as many as six or seven primary and alternate requests. There is no limit on how many courses can be requested, and requesting more increases the chances of being enrolled in 4 or more credits after advance registration.