Class Registration Madness

Signing up for classes at SIPA is bananas. Between the number of websites involved and the wild processes you must navigate, most second year SIPA students still have no clue how to do it properly. And while we can’t save those who have already registered, here at the Morningside Post we wanted to help out new students with some quick links to all the information needed to create and upload a schedule for registration.

Of course, if this doesn’t make sense to you, keep in mind that this will also be explained during orientation week. However, if you are eager to get started, here are the steps and links to send you on your way:

Step 1: Get to know the process.

First things first, get to know the general rules of registration here. This page includes key details on how to cross-register (cross-registration= registering for courses that are offered at other Columbia schools like the Law or Business Schools) as well as more helpful links in this process. One thing registration does not lack is a plethora of different resources!

Step 2: Find classes.

Once you vaguely understand what the heck is happening, here is where you can find the required courses for a Master of International Affairs (MIA), Master of Public Administration (MPA), and all the concentrations and specializations. Some people find it helpful to map out all the requirements you’ll need to graduate and then use that to create an outline of each semester at SIPA, but everyone has their own system.

In searching for courses to fulfill these requirements, SIPA students have a number of different sites to do that. Each with their own pros and cons. Using this page and clicking on the Advanced Search Criteria, you can select and search for classes that fulfill various requirements. This is great for things like Management that can be fulfilled with a number of different courses. Additionally, by checking multiple boxes, you can also see what courses could potentially be double counted (be sure to check with advisers or concentration/specialization directors to be certain you can actually double count something).

Vergil is another great source for SIPA and Columbia wide courses, and once you have found your favorite courses, you can upload them to your planner (you must sign in using your SIPA login before using the resource). Your planner on Vergil allows you to view your weekly course layout and plan out different schedules in case some of your first choice classes fill up.

Lastly, SSOL has its own search area. After entering SSOL, click on Registration>Continue with Fall Registration 2018 Registration>(scroll down)Search Classes. SSOL is a little trickier to use for searches since you have to input a call number or a name of a class; however, some people prefer this site since it is also where the actual registration process takes place.

Step 3: Evaluate Classes.

There is some suspicion that course evaluations and course syllabi (you will need to sign in to access these) are purposely hidden on the SIPA website, but now the secret is out! If those links don’t work, try switching your browser or starting on this page and clicking through to the evaluations and syllabi. After your first semester, though, you’ll find that your peers are often the best sources of information on professors and courses.

Step 4: Upload your schedule to SSOL.

After you have sufficiently browsed all of your courses and created your schedule on Vergil, the best thing to do is upload your Vergil plan to SSOL. Remember, you can create your Vergil plan here by searching classes on Vergil and then selecting the "Add to Planner" button below each course. To upload this plan to SSOL, sign in to your SSOL account click Registration>Continue with Fall 2018 Registration>(scroll down)Import Classes from Vergil into your Wish List. Uploading your classes from Vergil may seem duplicative and annoying, but since all registration actually happens on SSOL, it’s helpful to have all your classes listed there. It may sound like overkill now, but just trust us.

Of course, there are a few final steps to actual register your classes, but we will leave those to your peer advisers during orientation when your registration times open up.

But there you have most of the maddening, complicated mess that is registering for classes at SIPA! If you are confused, you are probably not alone. Luckily, we are all in this together. If you need any additional help, check in with your peer advisers or the Office of Student Affairs located on the 6th floor.

Oh, and good luck getting all your first choice classes!