How To Navigate UIS (Even If You're Horrible With Computers)

Drop/Add can be one of the most stressful times of the year for many BC students. Those of us looking to squeeze into that one empty seat in a class can be found constantly checking UIS hoping for an unexpected opening. Don’t panic yet though because drop/add does not end until September 11, and until then students will constantly be shuffling classes. Searching for courses on UIS can be an intimidating and frustrating process. Lack of instructions and constant error messages do not make using UIS fun and easy. With its fierce black background color and its dated white font, UIS is not the most appealing program to work with either. Back in 1863 when Boston College was founded, many of our alumni experienced similar problems with the stone-age program. Today, BC UIS can be installed on either a Windows or Mac computer. But for those of you as technologically challenged as me, fear not, the CTRC in O’Neill has computers with the program installed available for use.

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Let’s start with the basics - use your Agora username and password and hit enter. To register for courses, type “R” and press enter. To search a course for a certain department, enter that department abbreviation with a “?” immediately following (example: “ch?” for chemistry). These abbreviations can be found on Agora under “Course Information & Schedule.” Hit enter, and a list of open courses will appear. Continuously hitting enter will allow you to browse all available courses for the department. When it gets to the end, UIS will cycle back to the beginning of the list. To choose a particular section, type the blue number to the left of that particular course and hit enter.

On the blank line beneath, you have several options:

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Save: First, be sure to type “save.” This is the only way that you can guarantee your seat in the course. Until you type save, anyone can fill that empty chair. For some of us this was most disappointing moment of freshman orientation. I will never forget losing my seat in a class that I desperately wanted to take because I didn’t know I simply had to type “save.” This will update your schedule and allow you to continue making any changes.

Back: Typing “back” at this point will get rid of any unsaved changes and bring you back to your original schedule.

Done: To update your schedule and exit UIS press type “done.” You will see the updated schedule in white, and you can now exit UIS. Be sure to take note of the classrooms, which will now be available to the right of each course. Now you can sit back and stop worrying about scheduling issues. You’ve worked out your schedule, so start packing your books for class.

There are also a variety of error messages that may occur, which would be listed to the right of a recently added course. This means that the course is not available to you for one of the following reasons:

Corequisite: The course has a corequisite, such as a lab or discussion section, which you must add to your schedule.

Course Closed: Either there are no seats available in the course or the department is holding seats of courses so they are unavailable at certain times.

Course Overload: Students with a GPA of at least 3.0 may arrange for a sixth course, otherwise the student must petition the Associate Dean’s office.

Department Permission: Some courses, such as graduate courses, may be unavailable to undergraduates who have not received department permission.

Duplicate Course: This means that you have enrolled in two sections of the same course. Choose to drop one and save. It’s really not worth your time to take the same course twice in one semester.

Invalid Index: You have entered an incorrect index number. Look up the department abbreviation and try a new code. If you search “Browse Courses” on Agora, each abbreviation and index number will be listed for the correct number.

Restricted: There are several reasons that a course may be restricted. The course may be restricted by school (example: for Nursing Only), by degree, by major, or by class year.

Time Conflict: You have enrolled in two courses that are scheduled for the same time or overlap for a period of time. Solutions include either choosing a new section of one or investing in a time-turner.

Now that you have the 411 on how to navigate one of the more difficult areas of BC's backwards technology take a deep breath, kick back and enjoy probably the only week of the year where professors expect little to nothing of you. In other words welcome to syllabus week, otherwise known as "vacationing at BC."

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Katie Carsky