What is Plan Ahead?

Plan Ahead is the feature in My Banner/Personal Access Pages that students use to gather course requests for registration. The Registrar’s Office creates plans for students: Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, Round 5. Students add course requests to those plans. The Registrar’s Office processes student requests on the dates announced.

Getting Started

This link will take you to Plan Ahead to prepare for registration. You will need to authenticate with Duo.

Before you start, we recommend that you gather a list of 10 to 12 courses, so that the system has alternate courses if a priority course encounters an error.  Create a plan in Plan Ahead to collect these courses. You can use the notes on the courses to indicate what plan you want to add it to and in what order. Consider the timing of classes, types of classes, types of assignments, levels of classes, size of classes, and familiarity with course content by reading course descriptions.

During registration of your course requests will be attempted in the order courses were added and saved to the plans.

NOTE: You will not add music lessons and ensembles to the plan; they will be added during drop/add.

How to Create a Plan 

Access Your Plans in Plan Ahead 

Screen grab showing location of Plan Ahead link

Select Plan Ahead then select the semester that you would like to search. Click Continue.

Screengrab showing Fall 2020 selected

Click “Edit” to begin working with a plan.

Screengrab showing select a plan screen

Searching For and Adding Courses to Plans 

Courses must be added to the plan in the order in which you would like the system to attempt to add the course. That means, search first for the priority course by clicking “edit” for the plan, click “view sections” and then “add” to the plan. SAVE. You must click View Section before adding the section with the CRN to the plan. Without the CRN, the system will ignore the course during registration.

The list of courses is not displayed in the order the courses were added but in alphabetical course title order. If you have followed the instructions above, your courses will be processed in the correct order because the system saves the course section with the sequence number which is used during processing. In other words, your list will look alphabetical but the back end will remember the order in which you added them.

Enter your search criteria to begin looking for the sections of the course that you would like to add to your selected plan.

Screengrab showing seach fields

After entering your search criteria the search results will be displayed. Courses that are being offered for the upcoming semester will show with “View Sections”. Course not being offered will be clearly indicated.

Screengrab showing list of courses

Click “View Sections” to view detailed section information even if only one section of the course is being offered. An example is included below.

Select the course title for full course information (including the full course description).

Click “Add” for the course to be added to your plan.

Screengrab showing course section

After selecting “Add” the screen display will change. A calendar will display on the bottom left; the course and your plan appear on the bottom right. The screen can be changed by clicking on the toggles in the middle (circled in red).

Screengrab showing toggles circled

The section will not be added to your plan until you click “Save Plan.” The color of the course will change and confirm that it has been added to your plan.

Screengrab showing addition to plan

Plans will be viewable by your advisor. You can add notes for your advisor if you would like to give more information on a course you are intending to take.

Recommended Order of Sections in Plans

Alternate courses are not required for each round. However, if your priority course encounters an error, without an alternate course in the plan you will miss a chance to add a course to your schedule. Note: the credit is increased by 0.50 units before each plan is processed.

Round 1 (0.75 units)
Priority course
Alternate course
Alternate course

Round 2 (1.25 units)
Priority course
Alternate course
Alternate course

Round 3 (1.75 units)
Priority course
Alternate course
Alternate course

Round 4 (2.25 units)
Priority course
Alternate course
Alternate course

Round 5 (2.25 units)
0.25 course 
Alternate course

Credit Increases as Plans are Processed

Each student starts with 0.75 units of credit in the first round. Before processing each subsequent round we increase your credit by 0.50 units until we reach 2.25 units. You will want courses in each of your rounds to take advantage of these increases.

Add Your Alternate PIN to Your Plan 

You must add the Alternate PIN provided by your faculty advisor on Round 1 in the note icon. We will copy that to all the other plans. If you do not have the Alternate PIN on Round 1, your plans will not be processed.

Screengrab showing the field in which to enter your alternate PIN

Error Checking Procedures

Three to four days before we process the plans for each class year of students, we will run a series of data checks on the plans. These checks will email students about errors that will prevent successful registration. Possible errors are: 

  • Missing CRN’s
  • Missing Alternate PIN in the Round 1 note 
  • Missing one of the plans
  • Two or more plans with the same name
  • No courses on the plan

Each email will provide simple instructions for how to handle the issue(s). We will continue to run these checks each day until the day of processing your class registration.

How Will Plans be Processed?

The Registrar's Office will process the plans in groups based on the anticipated term of graduation. We will run Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, and Round 5 for each group in that order. 

The system randomizes the students with plans for each plan processed. Each round students will be processed in a different order.

The maximum credit allowed during web registration is 2.25 units. Students can add courses above the 2.25 units beginning the first 7 class days of the semester. 

After plans have been processed, each group will have that Friday morning through Saturday to make adjustments to their schedule through Personal Access Pages in Banner web registration. 

Note about the spring half of yearlong courses and Plan Ahead:

Be aware that the spring half of yearlong courses will be added to students’ schedules after registration has been completed for your class (including any online drop/add time periods). Yearlong courses have a “Y” in the course number. DO NOT attempt to add your yearlong courses to your schedules; they will not be added by the system.

  • Avoid adding courses that create a time conflict with the spring half of your yearlong courses — we will remove these from your schedule.
  • You must leave enough credit in your schedule to allow us to add the yearlong courses without going over 2.25 units. If that does not occur, we will remove the last course or courses added that will create space in the schedule for the yearlong courses. Students will be notified of these changes.