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MIT student blogger twins Danny and Allan G. '20

How to (Im)properly Cross Register by Danny and Allan G. '20

a step by step guide of our mistakes

Among all the classes that MIT offers, it’s almost impossible to narrow them down to just 4 at the beginning of each semester (or 5 for the over-achievers or 6 for the eventually sleep-deprived). Well, at least we thought it would be, since our semesters are no longer clogged with GIRs.

But actually, to our surprise, having a “plan” and a “major” and a course road “filled” up (quotation marks because neither of us have future vision), actually did make it fairly simple to choose our classes.

We’re taking
6.00 – Intro to Computer Science and Programming (bleh so far)
6.042 – Math for Computer Science (just had our first exam, so bleh^2)
CMS.100 – Intro to Comparative Media Studies (v interesting conversations bi weekly)
AND !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Animation 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We’re super excited about this last class, because we’ve been dipping our toes into the art form for the past year now with some independent projects and the Borderline Project (which we’ll have to blog about one of these days). And now, we get formal instruction!!!

Besides the level of excitement, there’s another difference between this class and our other classes this semester (which you can probably guess at by the title of this post). We are actually NOT taking this class at MIT, because *sigh* MIT doesn’t offer animation classes.
BUT *excited inhale to prepare for a long run-on sentence* MIT offers this super duper cool opportunity to cross-register at 3 local schools – Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), Harvard, and Wellesley – which covers the bases for what classes MIT doesn’t offer, while also giving students an opportunity to check out what other school environments are like! *exhaaallleeeee*

Now, without further ado, the excruciatingly detailed how-to-do-everything-that-you-can-possibly-do-incorrectly-while-cross-registering … oh and this was “not” from personal experience.

Step 0: Decide you want to cross-register and begin the process just a few days before registration day.

Step 1: Look up “mass art course listing” on google, and trust the first list that seems reasonable.

Step 2: Locate the class you want to take on the list.

Step 3: Find the professor’s email through his website, and email him expressing interest in the class.

Step 4: Find the MIT cross registration instructions and follow those steps. Email the transfer credit examiner with the syllabus of the class (that the professor sent you) for approval.

Step 5: Attend the first class, without being actually registered, because you don’t want to miss any important information of this class you will “definitely” be taking. And don’t question the fact that your entire class is filled with people with day jobs.

Step 6: Pick up the signed form from the transfer credit examiner.

Step 7: Meet with your academic advisor for her signature.

Step 8: Email the professor to email you their electronic signature, because you don’t want to commute again and email is a thing.

Step 9: Attach said signature to your form.

Step 10: Give in said form to the registration office in MassArts and then a copy to the one at MIT and audibly exhale a sigh of relief.

Step 11: Go on with your day

And so we did. The beginning of the semester has a certain feeling of frenzy (or at least for us it does) and this was just one thing to check off the list of many other administrative things to get done, so we were pretty pleased with ourselves. The next day, we went to the first Art Scholars meeting, where we ran into a friend who also happened to be cross-registering this semester at MassArt. And right before we were done talking, Danny asked, “Just wondering, in the class you’re in, are there actual full time MassArts students or are they actual Adults with jobs.” And our friend said, “Oh wait, are you taking a continuing education class, you know, the ones for people who aren’t in college but still want to take classes? Because undergrads aren’t allowed to take those.” Our reactions began with initial denial and progressed to self-pity.The next morning on our way to class, we decided to call the registrar at MassArt to see if indeed we royally messed up, and indeed we did.

Step 12: Express your self-pity to the MassArt registrar through “oh no’s” and “ahhs” and hope the registrar will help you fix the problem so you can sign up for a class you are actually allowed to sign up for.

Step 13: Go the MIT registration office, again, but this time to pick up your bad form and explain that you accidently went through the entire registration process for the wrong class and are trying to sign up for the same class, but the one offered for undergrads.

Step 14: Go through multiple stressful email correspondences with said MassArt registrar (who luckily turned out to be super nice and very willingly helpful) to find a class with open spots that also fits your schedule. And jump excitedly when said class is found!

Step 15: Realize that said class is actually happening right now and go in person to the class (which is almost over) to introduce yourself to the professor, ask for their signature and hope that they are nice enough to still do so even though you just missed 90% of the first class.

Step 16: Realize that the professor is actually really nice, understanding, and willing to sign your forms.

~2 days pass~

Step 17: Go yet again to the MassArt registration office to turn in your new form, get it signed off by the registrar and then finally get a long awaited confirmation that you have successfully registered.

Step 18: Go back to the MIT registration office (and get greeted “Oh hello again.”) to turn in a copy of your corrected form.

Step 19: Celebrate!

If there’s anything to take away from this, it’s that if you want to cross register, make sure you start early, are registering for the correct class, and steps 2-9 are probably correct things to do if you’re signing up for a class you’re allowed to sign up for. (another qualification: you shouldn’t use this post as a guide to cross-register, instead use this). We definitely learned our lesson, but it was definitely worth it. We just had our first class (which was the second class of the semester) this past Friday and we absolutely loved it! Also, It’s nice to get out of the MIT bubble sometimes.