First Year Registration Class Choices and FAQs

Class Choice #1

You will be assigned to register for either a First Year Seminar (FYS), listed as FYS 120, or Writing and Rhetoric course, listed as WRIT 120. Your assigned course will be shown on the registration page as First-Year Course.  You can select a section/topic that you are interested in!

If you are in a Conversation Program that fulfills FYS or WRR in the OLE Core, you have been registered for that Conversation Program course already.

IMPORTANT NOTE: An English AP score of 5 or IB score of HL 5-7 satisfies the Writing and Rhetoric requirement, in which case you will register for FYS.

Class Choice #2

Many students choose to take a world language course during their first semester for several reasons listed below. Also, watch this video about choosing a language to study at St. Olaf.

  • If you are planning to start a new language, have never taken a language or have placed in the first semester of a language, the first course in the sequence is typically only offered in the first semester of each academic year. Thus, if you do not enroll in the first class in the sequence now, you will need to wait until sophomore year to begin your language sequence.
  • If you are continuing in a language, it is often advantageous to continue the language without interruption if possible. Be sure to follow your placement guidance found on SIS under Advising Information.
  • Enrolling in a language first semester is often necessary if you wish to major in that language.
  • If you are interested in Asian Conversations, you should sign up for Chinese or Japanese during your first and second semesters.

Students who enter St. Olaf College with a native language other than English should contact the Registrar’s Office.

Class Choice #3
Review the following questions:

  • Many majors at St. Olaf do not require you to take a course in that department during your first semester. However, there are some majors and pre-professional programs in which it is recommended that you start right away. Be sure to review the First Year Registration Guide for more information.
  • Is a math course a requirement for your major? If you plan to major in math, physics, biology, chemistry, computer science, or wish to pursue a pre-health professional program and have not completed Calculus I (Math 119 or Math 120), you should enroll in Math 119 (Fall semester) or 120 (Fall, Interim, or Spring Semester). Note: Math 119 is only offered in Fall semester and is by placement only. Find your math placement results in SIS under Advising Information.
  • Thinking about becoming a doctor, accountant, or engineer? Pre-professional programs help you shape your studies to fit the requirements of America’s top professional and graduate schools. Review the pre-professional requirements. For example, if you wish to pursue pre-health, you should enroll in Chem 122, 125 or CH/BI 125. Interested in engineering? You will likely need to enroll in physics and math or chemistry and math (chemical engineering).
Class Choice #4
This is a great time to explore! Look at all the courses offered and develop a list of 7-10 courses you would like to take! It is always wise to have a Plan A, B, and C schedule.

Additional Course Options (.25 or .50 credits)

If you’re looking for partial-credit courses to add to your schedule, here are some options:

  • Intercollegiate fall athlete?—If you are a member of an Intercollegiate sport, you can register for it to receive .25 credit and Active Body in the OLE Core. Search the class/lab schedule for Kinesiology (KINES) courses numbered 170 and higher.
  • Interested in Dance?—Search for Dance Dept courses that may fulfill Active Body.
  • Music lessons? –Contact the Music Department for more information.


When is registration?
Registration begins June 22, 2023 and is a first-come, first-served process. You will be randomly assigned to a registration time, either 8:30 AM CT or 9:00 AM CT.   Check the Fall Registration link in SIS beginning on TBD to see your registration time.  If you have questions, please contact the Registrar’s Office.
How many classes should I take?
Most students register for 4-4.5 credits each semester. Full-time status is defined as 3-4.5 credits. If you receive financial aid, be sure to review the requirements for various programs on the Financial Aid website. Most St. Olaf full-semester courses are 1.0 credit, but we also offer many that are .25 and .50 credits.
What classes, majors and concentrations does St. Olaf offer?
St. Olaf offers many classes, majors and concentrations that you may have never considered! What classes do you really want to take?! What subjects interest you? This is a great time to explore! Review the list of majors and concentrations in the First Year Registration Guide as well as the Class and Lab Schedule in the Student Information System (SIS) to identify classes, majors, and concentrations that interest you.
If I’m undecided about my major, what will my fall semester schedule look like?

If you are undecided about a major, fall semester is a wonderful opportunity to explore. Each first-year student will take a First-Year Seminar course (FYS 120) or a Writing and Rhetoric course (WRIT 120) in the fall. Many students will also opt to continue the foreign language they studied in high school or start a new language. Since the most common schedule is 4-4.5 total credits, you can select two (or three or even four courses if you don’t take a language course or have completed your Writing and Rhetoric course through transfer credit) additional courses that pique your interest. The OLE Core curriculum includes a group of courses all students take within the liberal arts as part of the St. Olaf degree requirements. First semester is a great opportunity to take a Core course or two, especially if you are exploring different majors.

A word of advice: Don’t worry about declaring a major right away if you are not ready! The liberal arts and the OLE Core curriculum are designed to help you find the best major for you. Most students switch their majors within the first year or two of college, and you are not required to declare one until March of your second year at St. Olaf.

How can I see which courses are offered?

Once you have deposited and activated your email account, log into the Student Information System (SIS). On the left, you will see Class and Lab Schedule. Click on that to see course offerings. You can search by department, major area of interest, or even by OLE Core requirements!

While planning your schedule, keep in mind that it is best to have a balanced schedule with a variety of classes, time to eat lunch, time to get from one class to the next, etc.

What if one of my course placements isn’t offered this semester?

If a course that you have placed into is offered only in Interim or Spring, you can use the opportunity to choose a different OLE Core/elective course in the fall. Please contact the Center for Advising and Academic Support if you need assistance.

How likely is it that I will get into the classes I want?
We plan accordingly for course offerings that are specific to first-year students to ensure there is room, but as always, you’ll want to have alternate options in case your first choices are full.
Can I test out of the language requirement?

St. Olaf requires successful completion of either the third or fourth semester in a language as one of the OLE Core curriculum requirements. Chinese, Greek, Latin, Norwegian, Japanese, and Russian require completion of the third semester while Spanish, French, and German require completion of the fourth semester. However, if you begin in the first semester of Spanish, French, or German, then your language requirement is met after successful completion of the third semester.

  • If you have studied one of the above languages previously and will continue with that language at St. Olaf, you must take the placement survey.  This is true even if you have AP/IB credit or other transfer credits in that language.
  • Students who place above the fourth semester may have the option to take a proficiency exam to complete the language requirement.
  • If you wish to take a language not previously mentioned or your native language is one other than English, please contact the Registrar’s Office to discuss your options.
How do I transfer my pre-college credits?
To transfer AP/IB scores, have them sent directly from College Board/IB to St. Olaf. To transfer credits from other colleges/universities, have a final, official transcript from the awarding institution sent directly to St.Olaf for evaluation. An official transcript is defined as one available via a secure link to a PDF or in a sealed envelope. For more information, visit the Registrar’s Office website.
How do I make changes to my schedule?
Log in to SIS and use the drop or change buttons, but remember…registration is live and another student might register for your seat immediately after you drop a course. Please contact the Center for Advising and Academic Support if you need assistance.
What if I have changed my mind and no longer want to be part of a Conversation Program?
When you open the First-Year Registration link in SIS, you will see that you are already registered for the first course in your Conversation Program. If you decide that you no longer want to be part of this program, please contact the Director of the Conversation Program.