It is a classic tale of student despair. There are one or two days left before Class Registration and there you are, sitting in front of your computer, trying to make sense of the countless amount of courses on your ISIS cart. There are the classes you need, the ones you want, the ones that are there as backup for the primary ones, the backups for the secondary ones, and so it goes -- without any conceivable way of making it work. And so you try an online calendar, you doodle your schedule on a piece of paper and you text your friends to make sure you will not have to do this or that class's problem sets all alone. Finally, it somehow manages to work, after maybe one or two failed registration attempts. I had resigned myself to having to go through this entire ordeal each semester, until I heard about Semester.ly.
The site is a start-up by college students Noah Presler, Rohan Das and Felix Zhu, which is designed to improve your course scheduling experience. Some of the application's key features are allowing users to compare various schedules with different course selections, seeing which courses their friends are taking, and having easy access to the courses' official and user-given evaluations. Semester.ly is currently available for Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland and University of Toronto, and includes all of the courses offered at those institutions.
One of the biggest inconveniences of scheduling through ISIS, in the case of Hopkins, is that searching the offered courses is almost as tedious as actually taking them. It takes way too long to go through the different search fields and slowly find the courses you are looking for. With Semester.ly, the entire process is simplified. You can use their search feature to quickly find any course by its title, or switch to their advanced feature and search courses by department, area of study, level of complexity or even by time of day. It takes you a step closer to not taking classes before noon!
Another reason to check out Semester.ly is that it allows you to connect your Facebook account and then see which courses your friends are taking or even considering. That takes away from the stress of having to find out what your friends are taking or wondering if there will be anyone you know in your upcoming courses. It might also lead to you finding courses you would not have thought to take otherwise when you see the people who are registered for them. With this feature also comes the opportunity to rate your courses though Semester.ly's set of emojis. That way, you have the University's official evaluations (which the site provides) and can also see what the site's users have to say.
Finally, once you have chosen your courses, Semester.ly lets you add them to a weekly calendar. With the option of creating multiple calendars and comparing different sections of the same course, it becomes very easy to find a selection that works for you. The site even provides links to the required course books on Amazon, which means that your entire scheduling experience can be done exclusively through the application. It is incredibly convenient and easy to use, almost as if it was designed by college students who know exactly what you are going through (which it was).
Semester.ly is launching a Version 3 of their application on July 8, which promises even more features that will change your scheduling experience for the better.