Swarthmore College - Office of the Registrar
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 Swarthmore College
 Registrar's Office
 500 College Avenue
 Swarthmore PA 19081

 phone: (610) 328 8297
 fax: (610) 957 6100
 email: registrar@swarthmore.edu

 on campus: 124 Parrish Hall

 Martin Warner, Registrar
 Lesa Shieber
, Assoc. Registrar
 Stacey Hogge, Asst. Registrar
 Keira Stevenson , Asst. Registrar

 Copyright © 2006 Swarthmore
 College. All rights reserved.

August New Student Registration

Note to new students and their parents: Students are advised in person and register for courses at Swarthmore during Orientation, not ahead of time. Please feel welcome to familiarize yourselves with our web pages about Registration and Requirements, but please wait to ask your questions when you come to campus in August. (We want to help you, but many of us are not available to do so until then.)

First Year Student Advising & Registration occurs during
Fall Orientation August 26 to August 31, 2014


"Academic Advice: Here's the Scoop"
LPAC, 11:00AM, Wednesday

Karen Henry Dean of First Year

Diane Anderson Dean of Academic Affairs

Martin Warner Registrar


New Student Registration at a Glance


& Course Selection

Consider your placement results.

Keep in mind the Academic Requirements.

Select 6 to 8 courses (including alternates) you would love to take plus several PE options (knowing you will only take 4 plus PE).

Visit the Department Advising Fair on Thursday.

Meet with your Advisor, prioritize courses (including PE), plan alternates as might be needed, and get the Advisor's signature on the green form.



Pre-register for your top choices of 4 courses plus PE or PE dance.

Complete any Pre-Reg. supplemental forms as needed.
Pre-Registration Supplemental Forms:

Chemistry10H Lab Pre-Registration Form
Physics 3 Lab Pre-Registration Form
Physics 5 Lab Pre-Registration Form
Math 15 Pre-Registration Form
Math 25 Pre-Registration Form
Math 26 Pre-Registration Form
Math 27 Pre-Registration Form
Stat 11 Pre-Registration Form


Departments lottery any over-subscribed classes and sometimes add or change sections, sometimes shifting students from one section to another.

Patience during lotteries.


Follow-up Meeting

If you were lotteried out of a course or otherwise need to make a change, bring the signed green form to the Saturday meeting, and use a drop/add form and pink card as needed to make changes.

Be prompt! The meeting only lasts 30 minutes.

Forms and cards will be available there.


If needed, see your advisor and use the first week of Drop/Add to explore further alternates.

*Pre-Registration Supplemental Forms:
Chemistry10H Lab Pre-Registration Form
Physics 3 Lab Pre-Registration Form
Physics 5 Lab Pre-Registration Form
Math 15 Pre-Registration Form
Math 25 Pre-Registration Form
Math 26 Pre-Registration Form
Math 27 Pre-Registration Form
Stat 11 Pre-Registration Form

What about regular Chem 10 (not 10H)?
What about Biology?
What about other Math/Stats and Physics?

New Student Registration Detail View

Prior to Thursday: Preparation
... for advising and course selection

Course planning homework

Keep in mind the Registrar's recommendations for the first semester:

  • Take a variety of subjects in at least two divisions each semester
    • Over the year, take courses all three divisions
  • Take at least one writing course per semester
  • Take at least one PE unit per semester
  • If convenient, take one First-Year Seminar
    • only available to first-year students
    • not required, but highly recommended if one is convenient in your schedule
  • Explore prospective majors
    • Try to take 1 course per semester in each subject in which you might major
  • Consider an NSEP - a science lab course
    • You only need one to graduate, but try to take it in the first year
  • Take Four Full Courses plus PE or PE Dance
    • Half credit courses are additional to the normal load of four

Understand the Lottery System

  • Swarthmore uses what we call "lotteries" to manage course enrollment in the few classes that have enrollment limits.
  • The lottery system makes (nearly) all pre-registrations equal, regardless of when during pre-registration you register, thus eliminating first-come-first-serve stress. The exception is large Economics and Chemistry course sections, which use "first-come, first-served" to fill the sections of its larger classes. This is still no reason to stress -- just be prepared to be flexible.
  • Departments each have their own different lottery rules and procedures, but in general, students should ...
  • Enter only one lottery per department.
    • For example, for English Literature First-year Seminars, the department limits students to only one lottery submission per semester.
    • Rules for lotteries are not enforced automatically during online pre-registration, but are enforced by departments when they lottery courses.
    • Students can be dropped for not having turned in the required supplemental pre-registration form.
    • Departments that have specific Lottery Procedures usually list them under the "Courses" section of their departmental home pages. If you can't find them there, please ask the department directly.
    • Otherwise, departments use a random lottery.

Where is that building? See the Campus Map

Ask for help!

    Ask SAMs

    Ask Advisors

    Ask Deans


Thursday morning: Action

  • Consider your Placement Results
    • Mathematics and Statistics introductory courses require placement recommendations in order to pre-register for or take the class.
      • Students obtain their Math/Stat placement recommendation on mySwarthmore.
    • Other placement results are available from the specific departments.
    • Placement versus Credit: before classes start, resolve placement, then after classes start, take up the matter of credit.
      • Many departments don't finalize AP credit until January of your first year
  • 10:00AM Departmental Advising Fair Thursday
    • Visit the Departmental Advising Fair on Thursday morning in Upper Tarble.
    • Obtain departmental information from professors in person.
  • 11:15 AM Meet and Greet your Advisor
    • Meet with your Advisor in a group meeting before lunch
    • Make an appointment to meet individually Thursday afternoon.
  • Prepare six to eight courses (including alternates) you would like to discuss with your Adviser, plus options for PE or PE Dance, knowing you'll only take four academic courses plus PE or PE Dance.
    • The key to happiness during Registration is having alternates at the ready.
    • Plan your week with the Weekly Schedule Card
      • You are responsible to avoid time conflicts. Neither your adviser nor the computer will prevent you from registering for a time conflict -- this is your responsibility
    • Understand Swarthmore's Course Numbering System
      • Anything over somewhere in the teens (it varies by department) is probably too advanced for a first-year student. Be patient, you will get there soon enough.
    • List all courses of interest, including alternates, on the Green Advising Form.
      • You will get a green one in your packet upon arrival.
      • Swarthmore's normal course naming short-hand is Subject & Number, such as "ENGL 009."
        • The 5-digit CRN (computer reference number) in the Course Schedule is helpful for computer registration, but is not used in the catalog or during person-to-person discussions.
    • Use the Schedule of Courses - online always updated
      • The Schedule of Courses PDF available from Academics/Registrar's Office/Course Information/Course Schedule PDF.
      • The search engine: TriCollege Course Guide
        • Select "Campus=Swarthmore"
        • Use Swarthmore's Department names (not Bryn Mawr's or Haverford's department names).
          • For example, use "English Literature" (not "English") because the Swarthmore department is called "English Literature"

    Thursday afternoon: Meet your Advisor

  • Meet with your Academic Advisor, map out your Fall semester. Discuss courses and alternates and PE or PE Dance.
  • Select six to eight courses (including alternates) you would like to take, plus options for PE or PE Dance, knowing you'll only take four academic courses plus PE or PE Dance.
  • Obtain your Advisor's signature on the green course advising form.
    • Be prepared bring the Green form to the Saturday meeting, indicating Academic Advisor approval of any actions on Saturday.
    • Students who do not get advised can have a "hold" placed on their pre-registration by their Academic Advisor. Students are informed by email of holds being placed, and can check for holds on the mySwarthmore web site. Students who discover they are withheld from pre-registration will probably miss pre-registration and need to register using paper on Saturday. If you miss pre-registration, you will have missed all lotteries.
    • Confirm your access to mySwarthmore. Any problem, ask ITS Client Services, or a friend.

    Friday afternoon: Pre-Registration Online

    1. Pre-register online from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Friday. Use the mySwarthmore web site. Finish early if you can.
      1. No rush. Pre-registration provides equal access to courses and lotteries regardless of when you pre-register with the exception of large Economics and General Chemistry course sections which use "first-come, first-served". Register for these first, but don't rush.
      2. Students who need to be away from a computer through this time must obtain special approval (and the handout of instructions on how to get registered) from their coach or a dean.
      3. Keep in mind that rules for lotteries are not enforced online, but will be enforced by departments. Read departmental web sites for lottery rules information.
      4. If you miss pre-registration, you can still attend the Saturday Registration Follow-up meeting, but you will have missed all the lotteries. All departmental lotteries will be run off pre-registration.
      5. Where to pre-register?
        • Options include your dorm room, dorm computer clusters, or McCabe computer clusters. Help will be available at McCabe and many dorm computer clusters. Ask for help from a CA, a SAM (in a dorm), or a Public Area Consultant (at the library).
    2. Pre-register for the 4 academic courses plus PE (or PE Dance) that you actually plan to take.
      1. The Pre-Registration Limit of 4.5 credits gets lifted for drop/add. The 4.5 credit limit during pre-registration is to ensure that every student has a fair chance at 4 courses. (Language courses are usually 1.5 credits.)
      2. PE or PE Dance does not count in the 4.5 credit limit. Register for PE or PE Dance on top of your 4 academic courses.
    3. One at a time or both parts at a time: Add or drop one course, one lecture-and-lab combination, or one language-and-drill combination at a time. Most science courses have associated lectures and labs; most language courses have associated language and drill sections -- for these, add or drop both associated parts at the same time. For most other courses, add or drop one course at a time.
    4. Special instructions for the following subjects
      1. Biology: Enroll for Biology 1 lecture AND your first choice laboratory section during computer Pre-Registration on Friday August 30. If the enrollment in any laboratory section exceeds 24 students, a random lottery will be held only for the over-enrolled laboratory sections. Lottery results will be posted by 6:00 PM on August 30, outside the Introductory Biology Laboratory (SC 204) and outside the Biology department office (Martin 201). Students who are lotteried out of an over-enrolled lab section will be placed on the waiting list for that section. First-year students who are on the waiting list for an over-enrolled laboratory section are encouraged to enroll *in person* in any other unfilled laboratory section at the Biology table at the Follow-up Registration meeting (11:00 AM Saturday, August 31st), where sections will be filled on a *first-come, first-served* basis. Laboratory sections will meet during the first week of classes.
      2. Chemistry: First, Chem 10 and 10H lecture and labs need to be added separately. Chem 10 and 10H lectures are NOT LINKED with Chem 10 labs, so when adding these on mySwarthmore -- differently than any other lab/lecture combination -- these must be added one after the other.

        Second, General Chemistry Chem 10, computer pre-register for lecture and your choice of lab section on mySwarthmore (no lab form is required for Chem 10). Registration for lab will be "first come, first serve" so it is strongly advised to register early.  For Chem 10H, computer pre-register for lecture and then complete the REQUIRED supplemental lab pre-registration form to specify a first and second choice lab section.  Fall pre-enrollment lab section assignments are tentative and are not finalized until late afternoon on August 30th. Students who still need to resolve conflicts with their lab assignment should come to the Chemistry/Biochemistry table at the Registration meeting in Upper Tarble at 11:00 am Saturday, August 31st. Laboratory sections will be begin on Monday, Sept 2nd.  Chem 010 and Chem 010H share the CHEM 010 labs.
        Chemistry 10H Lab Pre-Registration Form
      3. Physics & Astronomy: For Physics 3 and Physics 5, computer pre-register for lecture and your first choice of Physics lab section on mySwarthmore, then when you are done pre-registering, complete the appropriate REQUIRED supplemental lab preference form and return it to the registrar's office by 2:30 PM on Friday.  You will be assigned a lab section according to your expressed preferences, and that assignment will be posted outside the Physics and Astronomy Department office (Science Center 143) by 9:00 AM on Saturday.
        1. Register online for your first choice of PHYS 005 lab, and complete the supplemental form.
        2. Note that not everyone will get their first choice.  If you still have a conflict after lotteries, come to the Physics and Astronomy table at Upper Tarble on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM to resolve it.
          Physics 3 Lab Pre-Registration Form
          Physics 5 Lab Pre-Registration Form
      4. Math & Stats: Certain Mathematics and Statistics courses have a REQUIRED supplementary pre-registration forms.  Courses requiring such a form are Math 15, 25, 26, 27, or Stat 11.  Maths/Stats supplementary  forms are due at the Registrar's Office by 2:30pm, Friday.  This is required to confirm your enrollment in a section.  In the event that your first choice for a section is over-enrolled, the information you provide here will be used to re-assign some students to different sections.  Thus it is important to report accurately any scheduling conflicts you may have with any of the sections.  Students who fail to submit this by the 2:30pm. deadline will be re-assigned randomly if their section is over-enrolled.
        Math 15 Pre-Registration Form
        Math 25 Pre-Registration Form
        Math 26 Pre-Registration Form
        Math 27 Pre-Registration Form
        Stat 11 Pre-Registration Form
    • Prerequisites: Students must be sure that they have fulfilled any pre-requisites for courses they wish to take, or obtained the permission of the instructor.
    • Auditing: New students should NOT audit in their first semester. See the catalogue for other rules on auditing.
    • Music 48: Sign up for Music 48 at the Music Department after classes start (not on the Green form or an Add form).

    Friday afternoon after pre-registration:
    Patience during Lotteries

    • Departments "lottery" over-enrolled class lists after pre-registration. Most are done Friday evening at 8:00 p.m., some Saturday morning, and rarely one or two might happen after the Saturday follow-up meeting.
    • Late lotteries: Any class or lab with a supplemental form, either a supplemental lab form or the supplemental Math/Stat web form, can take a long time to lottery. Be prepared for these classes and labs to be late in announcing their lottery results, perhaps even doing so after the Saturday meeting.

    Saturday at 11:00 a.m. in Upper Tarble:
    Follow-up Registration Meeting as needed
    Don't be late!

    1. Most lotteries are completely finished by Saturday at 10:00 a.m. After that time, you should consider registrations in mySwarthmore approved.
    2. Keep in mind that classes and labs with supplemental registration may be late in announcing their lottery results, perhaps even doing so after the Saturday meeting.
    3. The Saturday meeting is designed for students who did not get into 4 courses, but is available for any student who wants to attend to make a change.
    4. If you do not need to go to the Saturday meeting, your Green Form can be discarded.
    5. The Registration Meeting starts at 11:00 a.m. and finishes quickly! (probably shortly after 11:30). Come at 11:00 a.m. Don't be late!
    6. Students line up before 11:00, but will be admitted very quickly as soon as the meeting starts, so placement in the queue need not be a concern. Students are admitted in this order: seniors, juniors, sophomores, then first-year students.
    7. SAMs will be there to help. Thank you SAMs!
    8. Bring your Green Form to show Advisor approval of what you do on Saturday.
    9. Look for Open First-year Seminars list (online and on paper at the meeting). On Saturday the list will show which first-year seminars have openings after lotteries.
    10. To Add a course, use the Add/Drop form to obtain instructor signature. First add any Computer Science or Economics courses, as some sections fill on a first come first served basis. Blank forms will be available at the meeting.
    11. To Drop a course, indicate it on the Add/Drop form, and complete a Pink Withdrawal Card and immediately hand the Pink Card in at the departmental table. Forms and cards will be available at the meeting.
    12. Hand in Add/Drop and Green Form at the Registrar's table.

    Saturday, Sunday, Monday...

    • You are required to attend the first class or laboratory meeting to confirm your enrollment. All classes and laboratories meet the first week of classes. Contact the professor directly to ask that your seat be held if you can't make the first meeting.
    • Buy your books at the Bookstore.
    • If you haven't done so yet, set up your Moodle account (linked from the Dash). Moodle is Swarthmore's course management systems, and are used by many courses to post syllabi, homework assignments, discussions, etc.
    • For Moodle supported courses, you need to hand in the Add/Drop form the day you make the change, in order to get your name on the list as soon as possible.
    • Students are required to complete an Add/Drop form for all drops & adds, but the instructor of a class has last word about who is enrolled.
    • In the first week of classes, you are encouraged to check classes you were lotteried out of to see if seats have since become available.
    • Some course "shadowing" may be appropriate in the first week of classes, but not in the second, when most classes are well underway. Shadowing is attending a class of interest for which you are not registered. If space opens, ask to add the class.
    • Look again for the "Open First-Year Seminars" list, showing which first-year seminars have openings and how many, this time after the Saturday meeting.
    • Remember that the liberal arts experience includes serendipitous discovery. Be open to it.
    • Full Time Enrollment Required: All students must register for at least 4.0 credits per semester, unless they have obtained special permission to do otherwise.
    • Read the Guidelines on Scheduling Conflicts Between Academics and Athletics.

    Caution about Credits and Grades

    • Normal progress is four semester course credits per semester, plus PE until PE is done. Students that do not manage to complete and pass at straight C or better at least three credits per semester will have their records reviewed by the Committee on Academic Requirements and could be required to take an academic leave. Note that INC grades, Withdraw grades, or shadow grades of less than straight C do not satisfy this minimum expectation.
    • Students should also be mindful to maintain satisfactory progress toward fulfilling their degree. Normal progress is four semester course credits per semester. Over the semesters, at a minimum, students should earn 6 to 8 credits by the end of the first year, 14 to 16 credits by the end of the sophomore year, and 22 to 24 credits by the end of the junior year.  Students not achieving satisfactory progress will have their records reviewed by the Committee on Academic Requirements and could be required to take an academic leave.

    Financial notice:

    • Students who have not satisfied their financial obligations will not be permitted to attend classes, live in campus housing, have a meal plan, register via add/drop (or any other method) for any classes, enroll for the following semester, participate in the room lottery, obtain a transcript, or be permitted to be graduated.



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