Registration Tips: To Thine Own Self Be True (A Modernist Interpretation)


Registrar: Good morning, and welcome to our 18th session on how to register for classes using our new system: MyFinallyUpOnTechnologyFromLastCenturyHLS. Now, if you attended sessions 1 through 17, you’ll have learned how to find the course catalogue on the Registrar’s website, as well as the importance of reading every single e-mail we send you, even if it obviously only applies to, say, 3Ls who want to take Evidence and also Comparative Family Law, but have not yet fulfilled the Legal Writing requirement. You may also have learned that there is, in fact, an actual person whose job title is “Registrar” and it’s not just an abstract, bureaucratic institution as you always kind of assumed. Now, I’m going to turn you over to Professors Rosencrantz and Guildenstern for some thoughts on choosing classes.

Prof. Guildenstern: Thank you, Registrar. I’m glad to see you all here today. As you all know, choosing classes is very important and may ultimately be part of what determines whether you end up at a Vault 7 firm or only a Vault 8 firm, or whether you get to clerk in the 7th Circuit or have to settle for the 11th. In other words, you should just take whatever you want.

Prof. Rosencrantz: That’s a good summation, Prof. Guildenstern, but I’d like to add some caveats. First, you should remember that the law school has several recommended second year classes: Tax, Corporations, Accounting, and Boring Things Involving Math You Went to Law School to Avoid. These courses are recommended, but aren’t necessarily right for everyone and it’s important to think carefully about your own goals and priorities. So basically, you should take the recommended classes.

Prof. Guildenstern: Exactly. In that same vein, you should look for large classes, but also for small classes. And you should try to take classes in a lot of broad areas, as well as making sure to specialize in something very specific. You might also consider taking classes you’re interested in, but also possibly ones you’re not interested in at all.

Prof. Rosencrantz: Great advice. I like to tell my students that they’re only at Harvard Law School once and should take advantage of all the opportunities they have in these three short years. Also, that most people think law school is a year too long anyway, so maybe you should think about cross-registering at the Kennedy School of Government, or possibly even at Tufts, which is only 15 minutes away, but also 30.

Prof. Guildenstern: Thanks, Prof. Rosencrantz. Sound advice. Now, we’d like to turn the podium over to the Registrar (or a representative from the Registrar’s office; I still haven’t precisely figured that one out) who will explain exactly what you’ll do in each of the 37 lottery rounds, beginning next Thursday.

Prof. Rosencrantz: And we’ll make sure to chime in with comments every so often for clarification, and also comic relief.

Registrar: Thanks guys. We’re really proud of this new computer system, which will allow you to register for classes without having to game the system at all. Seriously. You don’t need to game the system. Nor am I going to tell you how the system might possibly be gamed, even if you needed to do it, which you don’t. You’re Harvard students; figure it out for yourself.

Prof. Rosencrantz: Does that mean you should just list the classes you want to take?

Prof. Guildenstern: But what if you want to take a less popular class more than a more popular class?

Prof. Rosencrantz: In that situation, couldn’t you rank the more popular class first despite the fact that you want to take it less than the less popular class?

Prof. Guildenstern: Wouldn’t that be gaming the system?

Prof. Rosencrantz: What constitutes “gaming” precisely, anyway?

Registrar: Thank you professors, that was informative. Moving on, in your first round of course selection, you’ll put down your picks for the courses that have multiple sections being taught. It’s important that we do this first, because the faculty has a pool going as to whose con law class is more popular, and the winnings need to be distributed before finals.

Prof. Guildenstern: Which reminds me, I forgot to mention that you simply must take Prof. Elsinore’s section of Tax. No student should leave Harvard without it.

Prof. Rosencrantz: Not a question. 10 points to me. Also, Prof. Yorrick’s class is much better.

Registrar: Anyway, you won’t know whether you’ll get into clinicals or general courses at this point, so you’ll have to determine your future schedule using the ancient art of divination. Chicken blood and pig knuckles are available at the distribution center for this purpose.

Prof. Rosencrantz: Could we get a Dane to demonstrate?

Prof. Guildenstern: What kind of racist question is that?

Prof. Rosencrantz: Living in Dane hardly defines you as a member of a particular ethnic group.

Prof. Guildenstern: Oh. Right. Also, not a question. 10 points to me.

Registrar: Thank you again, professors. As I was saying, if divination isn’t your cup of tea leaves, you might try higher math. Yes, you over there in the brown shirt, you have a question?

Student: Are we allowed to cross-register for “Figuring Out Your Schedule the Harvard Law School Way” over at MIT?

Registrar: Why, sure, assuming you’ve taken all 16 pre-requisite math courses. But not until Lottery Round 83, so I’m not sure what good it will do you. Don’t worry, though: the system won’t allow you to register for conflicting classes, so it’ll simply drop you from the class altogether. It’s part of the system not being gameable. Any other questions? Yes, you in the back row, with the twitchy eye. . .oh, you seem to have collapsed. I guess not, then. Alright, guys. Registration is tentatively scheduled to begin Thursday, but the time is out of joint, so it might be a bit longer. Thanks for coming and we’ll be happy to take any questions you have down here at the front.

Katie Mapes, 1L, actually desperately needs a few extra days to figure out what to sign up for.