How to Register for Classes at UMD
Build a schedule with Courseoff, find ratings on classes and professors on PlanetTerp, and see what requirements you have left on Degree Audit. Talk to your advisor, but also check what they tell you with more experienced people in your major. Once you have decided what classes you will take, make sure you have no registration blocks at Appointment and Registration Status and register for them using Registration Drop/Add. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your 4-year plan, and make sure it lines up with the PDF your advisor emails you.
This is a guide on how to use various tools to register for classes at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). It is written by me, and although I'm a computer engineering major, I wrote it in a way that it should be useful for people of any major. Also, I am in Gemstone, so I have included some info on Gemstone classes here too.
This guide is based on my experience and advice people have given me. If you have anything to add, contact me and I will add it to this blog post. It was last updated on November 5, 2019.
Testudo Schedule of Classes
https://app.testudo.umd.edu/soc What is it: This is the official UMD list of classes, where you can look up a class or requirement and see the professors, sections, days and times, prerequisites, requirements it satisfies, how many seats are available (updates once a day), etc. Useful for: finding which professors are available for a class, which sections are still open, which classes fulfill a particular requirement Tips & Tricks: You can click on a GenEd requirement to see all the classes that fulfill that requirement. You can also search for part of a class name, for example searching “CMSC1” will give you all the 100 level CS classes.
https://planetterp.com What is it: A site made by UMD students/alums that gives info about and ratings for each class and professor. You can see the grade distributions and which professors have the highest ratings for a particular class. Useful for: Deciding which classes to take so that you don't end up with all you classes having a hard grade distribution, deciding which professor to take for a given class (although you should confirm with people in higher years in your major just to make sure). Tips & Tricks: There is a “View on Testudo” button which sends you to the Testudo Schedule of Classes (described above). This is useful for finding which sections are open once you find a class on PlanetTerp. Side note: I would definitely recommend HONR218T as a good GenEd — you get to go to DC and see some plays!
https://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ What is it: A 3rd-party (not made by UMD) tool to find other students' ratings of professors. Useful for: It is not as useful as PlanetTerp, but if a professor isn't rated on PlanetTerp, you can check this site. Tips & Tricks: The site keeps track of the same professor as they move to different schools.
http://www.sis.umd.edu/bin/venus What is it: UMD's official schedule builder tool. It auto-generates multiple options based on the classes you input, and several options such as desired start time in the morning. Useful for: Finding a schedule based on the classes you want to take. Tips & Tricks: If you get frustrated with Venus, use Courseoff instead. :)
https://umd.courseoff.com/ What is it: A 3rd-party class schedule builder tool. You select the classes you want, and it shows you all the sections for each class, which professor teaches each section, and how many seats are open for each. Then you can select the section you want and it will show it on a calendar. You do this for all you classes to make sure that your schedule works, swapping out sections where desired. Useful for: Manually creating a schedule that fits your needs without having to specify requirements like you do on Venus. Tips & Tricks: You can also create multiple alternate schedules to compare them, or as a backup plan in case you don't get the section you want when you go to register later.
https://uachieve.umd.edu/ What is it: An official UMD tool to run through your degree program and find what requirements you have completed, which ones are in progress, and which ones you still have to take in future semesters. Useful for: Seeing if you are on track for graduation in time, seeing what requirements you need to fulfill next, calculating how many credits you need to take per semester. Tips & Tricks: You can click on “Major,” “Gen Education,” or “Gen Elective” to see the results only for that category of your audit.
Appointment and Registration Status
https://app.testudo.umd.edu/main/regAppt What is it: A simple tool to view your class registration status. It will list any “registration blocks,” which are things that are keeping you from registering for classes. The most common one is your meeting with your advisor. Useful for: Finding your advising deadline, finding your class registration date and time Tips & Tricks: Make sure to register as soon as possible after your allowed registration date. You will register using the Drop/Add tool (see next).
https://app.testudo.umd.edu/main/dropAdd What is it: The tool to actually register for a class (or drop a class). Useful for: Registering for classes! Also seeing if a class is full (see below). Tips & Tricks: Since Testudo Schedule of Classes only updates once a day, you can use Add/Drop to determine if a class is full. Just try registering for it and it will fail if full and succeed if not full. You can then drop the class if you didn't actually want to register for it. Also, if you aren't 100% sure of your schedule on your registration day, just register anyway and you can drop some and add some later.
PDF from Your Advisor
What is it: After you meet with your advisor, they will email you a PDF with your current 4-year plan. The classes you are registering for next semester will be highlighted in yellow. Useful for: Seeing your overall plan, when you will graduate, what requirements you have completed and what you still have left, which classes your advisor thinks you will be taking (make sure that it is correct!) Tips & Tricks: You'll want to save these PDFs that you receive to a folder somewhere so you don't lose them.
What is it: A basic spreadsheet that you can edit to keep track of how you will fulfill all the requirements and graduate! You can use Libreoffice (https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/), a free and open source office suite. Of course any spreadsheet software will work fine, but I like to use and support open source stuff where possible. Useful for: Trying out different 4-year plans, making sure you'll complete all the right GenEds, Tips & Tricks: The organization scheme I use is a set of columns (class, credits, requirements, etc.) for each semester, with 1 row for each class. Here's a screenshot: Note that I have color-coded some items blue to note that I have a future class planned to fulfill that GenEd. For example, some of the later Gemstone classes will fulfill several GenEd requirements. Make sure you don't register for extra GenEds that will be completed later!
That was a lot of info! I hope you took the time to read through it and found it useful. If you have any questions, or suggestions on something to add to this post, feel free to contact me. Good luck registering!