Preparing for Registration

This tutorial was created to assist you with preparing to register for your first semester at Columbia.  Most students begin registering for courses before New Student Orientation, but you might be registering on your own as a student-at-large or because you are starting classes in the summer. Either way, the resources on this site should help your registration experience be extremely productive, informative and easy.

To keep this simple, we have organized this tutorial into five steps to help you prepare to register.  If you're coming to Orientation, we expect you to be prepared—and that's what this website is all about. Good luck!

  • Step 1: Accessing your MyColumbia Account
    • MyColumbia is the online portal to your account at Columbia College Chicago
    • MyColumbia is used to access your academic record, your online “Advising Guide” and your student financial services information, and where you register for courses!
      • To log onto your MyColumbia account, you will need your Columbia student ID # and your MyColumbia password. By default, your password is your six-digit birthday in this format: mmddyy
    • HOMEWORK – Successfully log into your account at If you have trouble logging in, contact User Support at 312 369 7001.
      (Once you have verified that you can log into your account, continue to Step 2.)
  • Step 2: Determining your Placement Scores
    • Before you can register for courses, you will need to know your placement in English and mathematics. If you have not yet taken the New Student Placement, you should do so as soon as possible.
    • Transfer students who have already completed college-level English Writing & Rhetoric courses and mathematics, please skip to Step 3.
    • All incoming students without transfer credit in English Composition are required to complete The Write Class (TWC) to determine their English placement scores. More info here.
    • If you have completed the New Student Assessment at Columbia College Chicago, your placement scores for mathematics are located in your MyColumbia account under “Exams.”
    • If you completed the ACT or SAT Exam and you submitted your scores to Columbia, you can also use these test scores to determine your placement levels in mathematics.
    • HOMEWORK – Look up your placement scores on your MyColumbia account by selecting your exams record. (Once you log in, click on the word "Student" on the top right for a list of links.) There will be a breakdown of placement scores and your personal scores will be listed at the bottom. Write down the English and mathematics courses you placed into.
  • Step 3: Transfer Credits & Evaluation
    • If you are not transferring credits from another institution, please skip to Step 4.
    • Once your transcripts have been received and evaluated, you will receive a “green evaluation sheet" from Columbia College Chicago.
    • The evaluation will indicate how many credits were accepted at Columbia and whether or not your transfer courses will fulfill the ELAS (Essential Liberal Arts and Sciences) portion of the Columbia Core.
    • If you wish to have your transfer credits fulfill requirements in your major, you will need approval from your major department.
    • HOMEWORK – Verify that your transfer credits have been accepted at Columbia by viewing your Academic Record on MyColumbia. If your credits have not been evaluated and accepted, you should visit the Columbia Central website for more information.
  • Step 4: Graduation Requirements & Suggested Major Courses
    • During Orientation, we will review your degree requirements and answer your questions. However, we suggest that you arrive with a basic understanding of your requirements. If you are a student-at-large or beginning in the summer, you might not be attending Orientation; if that's the case, get in touch with us to learn more about your requirements.
    • HOMEWORK # 1– Look at your “Advising Guide” on MyColumbia.  This advising guide will give you an unofficial evaluation of your degree requirements, including your Columbia Core and major requirements. 
    • HOMEWORK # 2 – View the requirements and various degree pathways for your major in the most recent catalog.  Write down the suggested courses and their course numbers.
  • Step 5: Prepare Your First Semester Schedule
    • Log into your MyColumbia account and view the course schedule for the upcoming semester. Use the table below to guide you in selecting your first-semester courses.
    • HOMEWORK - It is important that new students register as soon as possible to get the best choice of courses. You can do this once you pay the deposit, RSVP for Orientation, and complete the Registration Prep course on Canvas. Registration Prep will show you the ins and outs of registering for courses and and an academic advisor will review your schedule within a few days. We will follow-up if we think you need to make any changes. We are here to help along the way! Don't hesitate to get in touch with your academic advisor, give us a call at 312-369-7645, or send us an email to . 
    FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS "Sample Schedule"
    (Photography Major)
    English Placement ENGL-111 Writing & Rhetoric
    2nd COURSE First Semester Experience FEXP ***(Topic of your choice)
    Introductory Major Course PHOTO 101 Photo Practice 1
    4th COURSE Introductory Major Course ARTS Foundation Studio
    5th COURSE LAS Core, College-Wide Elective or Major Course MATH 110 College Mathematics


    TRANSFER STUDENTS "Sample Schedule"
    (Public Relations Major)
    Major Course                               ADVE 101 Introduction to Advertising
    Major Course                 PURE 102 Intro to Public Relations
    Major Course ADVE 120 Consumer Behavior
    Major Course PURE *** Major Elective / Lower Elective
    College-Wide Elective College-Wide Elective

    Develop Your Course Schedule
    (with a few back-up plans)

    Course Name Course Number Section Number Days & Times
    1st COURSE
    2nd COURSE
    3rd COURSE
    4th COURSE
    5th COURSE