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Prior to registration you should….

  • Utilize Resources: There are many resources available to assist you with selecting courses.  Links to information about clinical work, Programs of Study, as well as other Registration resources can be found on the Registration Information page. The Board of Student Advisors also offers registration guidance.
  • Course Catalog: Read through the entire Course Catalog once to ensure you’re aware of all available courses and their requirements for the upcoming academic year. Since there are several preferencing rounds, this will give you a full picture of what courses are available and when in the upcoming year.
  • Course and Schedule Updates: New courses will continually become available throughout the year. We recommend checking Course and Schedule Updates frequently to ensure you’re aware of any new courses included in preferencing or open for add/drop.
  • Tentative Exam Schedules: Tentative exam schedules and exam types are available for the fall, winter and spring terms prior to preferencing.

For course preferencing you should keep in mind that…

  • Registration Tab: The “Registration” page in Helios will only be used for course preferencing. If there isn’t an open preferencing period, no courses will be listed on the “Registration” page. Add/drop opens immediately after registration results are released; at that point students should select the “Add/Drop” page to make changes to their schedules.
  • By Permission Courses: By permission courses are not included in course preferencing. To enroll in a by permission course, you must seek permission from the faculty member then forward the confirmation email to the Office of the Registrar.
  • Submit Preferences: To submit your course preferences and finalize your registration choices, you must select “Submit” on the “Preference Order” tab. You are able to update your preferences after they’ve been submitted, but if you do complete any updates, you must return to the “Preference Order” tab and select “Submit” again. Preferences are not processed on a first come/first served basis, so there is no harm in revisiting your selections multiple times during a round, provided you finalize your course preferences before the round closes.

Once the registration round closes…

  • Confirmation of Bids: Once the registration round closes, all students that submitted course preferences for that round will be sent a confirmation from the Registrar’s Office. If you do not receive a confirmation email then the Registrar’s Office did not receive your course preferences and you will not be included in the registration process. If you did not receive a confirmation email, contact the Registrar’s Office immediately.
  • Registration Processing & Algorithm: After the confirmation email has been sent, the Registrar’s Office will begin to process your course preferences by running the registration algorithm. A detailed explanation of our registration processing and algorithm can be found below.
  • Waitlists: Students will be waitlisted for any of their preferenced courses under the following circumstances, provided the course is full: if you have not met the co- or pre-requisite, if you are enrolled in another course with an overlapping meeting time, or if you are already enrolled in the maximum number of credits for the term. You will not be waitlisted for a course if you were already enrolled in a higher-ranked section of the same class, or if the course closes the registration round with open seats.
  • Add/Drop: Courses from the registration round will become available for Add/Drop immediately after registration results are available. Read more about the Add/Drop and Waitlisting process.

Enrollment Algorithm Information

For each registration stage (clinical, multisection, etc.), participating students are assigned random registration ID numbers.  Numbers are re-assigned at the beginning of each stage.  Registration preferences are processed in a series of rounds and phases using these numbers.  Below is an example of registration processing that should help explain how the enrollment algorithm works.

Example of Multi-Section Processing

Student X submits the following preferences:

Preference #1. Admin Law
Preference #2. Admin Law
Preference #3. Con Law SOP
Preference #4. Con Law SOP
Preference #5. Con Law SOP
Preference #6. Evidence
Preference #7. Taxation

  • Round 1/Pass 1: Preferences processed from lowest registration ID to highest.  Student X enrolled in Admin Law #1.
  • Round 2/Pass 1: Preferences processed from highest registration ID to lowest.  Admin Law already enrolled, student skipped with no action, move on to next student.
  • Round 2/Pass 2: Preferences processed from highest registration ID to lowest.  Start again with the next preference for each student who did not receive an enrollment in pass 1.  Con Law #3 full, waitlisted in Con Law #3, move on to next student.
  • Round 2/Pass 3: Preferences processed from highest registration ID to lowest.  Start again with the next preference for each student who did not receive an enrollment in pass 2.  Enrolled in Con Law #4.
  • Round 3/Pass 1: Preferences processed from lowest registration ID to highest.  Con Law already enrolled, student skipped with no action, move on to next student
  • Round 3/Pass2: Preferences processed from lowest registration ID to highest.  Start again with the next preference for each student who did not receive an enrollment in pass 1.  Enrolled in Evidence
  • Round 4/Pass 1: Preferences processed from highest registration ID to lowest.  Taxation conflicts with Admin Law (same meeting day/time), waitlisted for Taxation, move on to the next student.

At the end of registration processing, you will be on the waitlist for any of your preferred courses under the following circumstances, provided that class is full: if you have not met the pre- or co-requisite, if you are enrolled in a conflicting course, or if you are already enrolled in the maximum number of credits for the term.  You will not be waitlisted for a class if you were already enrolled in a higher-ranked section of the same class or degree requirement (i.e. multi-section, legal profession, 1L international/comparative or elective classes).  For example, if you get into your first choice Evidence class, you will not be waitlisted for any subsequent Evidence class on your list.

For questions about this process, please contact registrar@law.harvard.edu.