iSIS and the Search for a Schedule
June 27, 2013
Already have six potential schedules outlined for the year? Can’t figure out how to use iSIS? Have no idea what you might possibly want to take? I’ve seen tons of questions come up about how to use iSIS and whether you should be making your schedule, so I decided to put a post together explaining what iSIS is, what it’s used for, and how you can be using it now.
iSIS (which you can find here) collects all student information and stores it in a secure place, allowing you to access your information (including grades), sign up for classes, and see your financial aid. At the moment, all you really need to be worrying about on iSIS is looking at classes (although if you’re not going to need university health insurance, you can waive that fee on iSIS now).
So there has been some confusion about how exactly to use iSIS to look at classes. It’s a new system and the entire university is still figuring out exactly how to use it, so this is understandable. Basically, the first thing you need to know is that “My Planner” is designed to be used to plan courses for the long term, so it includes the entire course listing – not just the classes available for next semester. If you’re looking to plan just for the fall (which is probably all you should be thinking about right now), it’s probably not the best bet.
Instead, I find the best way to search for classes for next semester is through the “Enroll” section. Click the “Enroll” drop-down menu from the top of the screen and select “Search for Classes”. Rather than looking for specific classes here, I usually browse classes by department – click select subject and you’ll be given a whole list of the different Tufts departments that you can choose from. Pick the one you’re interested in and search without a specific course number, and you’ll see all the courses that department is offering for next semester.
On that page you can see the title, the time of day, and the professor name. Obviously that might not be all the information you need, so if you click the hyperlink next to the word “section” you’ll get a whole bunch more. Here you can see the course description, enrollment requirements and exactly how many spots are left. If you like what you see, you can simply click "view search results" to return to the previous page and then click “select class,” which will add it to your Shopping Cart.
Of course, the question remains of how you might want to use this tool right now. My best advice is to explore and try things out, but keep an open mind and don’t wed yourself to any potential schedule. Engineers, of course, your first semester will have a few more required classes than for Arts & Sciences. It doesn't hurt to take a look at a few classes you might be interested in, but you should also check this link out for more info.
It will be helpful during Orientation to have some idea of what you’re interested in taking, but it is not necessary (in fact it’s discouraged) to arrive with a perfect schedule, or even with a set schedule at all. So look at any department you think might interest you, throw cool classes into your shopping cart, and start to figure out some potential combinations that will keep you happy. Keep in mind your preferences for large or small classes, or for specific times of day – and don’t be afraid to try something new! Happy exploring!