With Modreg around the corner, so are the anxieties of appealing, re-appealing, and re-re-appealing… Having had the misfortune of not securing half my mods until week three last semester, I learnt a few tricks to help you secure the mods you need (or at least salvage your study plans).
1. Pre-module registration: Preparing for hell
Keep an eye out for the competitive modules—the elusive ones with student-to-vacancy ratios in the double or even triple digits, that even year fours narrowly secure in their last semester.
While the module vacancy report released before modreg gives you some idea about the supply, you won’t get a concrete understanding of the demand – and competition– without the input of those with first-hand experience.
Ask your friends and seniors, trawl Reddit threads and similar forums, email the professors, etc. etc.
It goes without saying that the usual methods to increase your chances of securing modules still apply. This includes: doing module feedback at the end of the semester; paying any outstanding fees; declaring major/minor on time and for the modules you want to take even if you if it is not your actual major/minor (and change them back the next declaration).
2. If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try again
The key to appeal, besides luck and black box algorithms, is persistence.
While the vacancy may be zero when you first check-in, it fluctuates throughout the appeal period and the early weeks of the semester as other appeals are processed and students drop their backup mods.
Refresh the EduRec Appeals page at least a few times a day and slam the select button the moment a vacancy opens up. Drawing from my own experience, two of my modules, fortunately or unfortunately, had vacancies only in early Week 2.
3. Make the word count count
You are given a limited number of words to detail reasons for your appeal—make every word count.
For core modules, emphasise how your study or graduation plans will be affected if you fail to read the module this semester. Other things you can explain, especially for non-core modules, include: the relevance of the module to your areas of study, your past failed attempts at securing the module, how many MCs you are short of, and more. If there are certain prerequisites you lack, detail how you are qualified for the module, such as similar modules/external courses/prior background you have in lieu of the pre-requisites.
4. Vacancy who? Go to class anyway
Even if you have not secured the module, attend the first week of class anyway so that
a) you know the module is actually what you want,
b) you do not fall behind should you secure the module later, and
c) you can explain your situation to the professor in person.
The latter is especially important if your pending status on EduRec is resolved by the module coordinator, who is usually the professor. If you’re unsure , the module coordinator can be found on Luminus, under Module Overview. Be sure to email the professors before lessons begin in Week 1 to ask for permission to attend classes. You can also ask them to add you to Luminus as a guest student or send you the class materials.
Depending on how many modules you appealed for, you may find that you are attending a lot more seminars/lectures than you are accustomed to. Fret not, for the workload in the first week is usually lighter, and it helps you have an easier time after appeals are finalised. For me, I went for three to four extra classes in the first two weeks of the semester.
5. Take your Ls, but strategically
Despite the tips listed above, it does not change the fact that vacancies are limited, and even the most understanding professors can only squeeze in a handful of last-minute stragglers.
Before appeals begin, make backup plans and figure out which modules can be deferred to subsequent semesters, which can be replaced with less competitive modules, and which must be taken this semester.
If any module will fulfil the minimum workload requirement, consider applying for one or two with plenty of vacancies, even if they may not mesh well with your study plans. If you need to clear MCs in certain brackets, give the unpopular modules a try. Since unpopular modules tend to be notoriously difficult, be mentally prepared to dedicate more time to the module, and read ahead if you have access to the lesson materials. Alternatively, cash in one of your UEs and learn something new!
The sky is blue, grass is green, Modreg is stressful. But, hopefully, some of these tips will alleviate some of the anxieties should things not go smoothly.