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Maybe you've heard that in college you learn more outside the classroom? Well, it's true. There's nothing like class scheduling to teach you the art of manipulation. Freshmen usually register last, so unless you want to be stuck taking 8 a.m. classes Monday through Friday for 10 torturous weeks, you'd better learn the rules of the game.

Having scrutinized every page of the course schedule, you jump at the chance to take History of Rock 'n' Roll. But – the horror! – it's full.

Fear not. You have more options than you realize.

"There are two ways to make it into a class you've been shut out of," says U. of Southern California sophomore Leif B. Strickland. "You can go to the first few sessions and wait until others drop, or you can get on the prof's good side before the semester starts by visiting them."

Priya Sircar, a junior at the U. of Texas, Austin, found she could worm into an already-full, upper-division poetry class without the prereq just by showing the prof her own poetry. "I expressed a strong interest in the subject and showed the prof the work I'd done on my own, and it impressed her enough to sign an add form," she says.

Of course, there's more than one way to skin a cat. If you're a gambler, sucker an upperclassmen into registering for an extra class and then dropping just before your registration time. Also, start building a good relationship with your academic adviser ASAP. If they like you, many advisers can pull strings that even the profs don't know can be pulled.

But if all these tricks fail, however, don't despair. It's always possible that the class or prof you were dreading most will pleasantly surprise you.

By Tara Haelle, U. of Texas at Austin/Illustration by Seth Hardy, Fort Hayes State U.

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