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Building a Cart & Setting Registration Priorities

For degree-seeking undergraduate students, the fall and spring registration process starts with building a primary cart, setting registration priorities for their top choices, and selecting alternate options for those courses in PATH.

More information about the phases of fall and spring undergraduate registration can be found on the Registration Structure page. The options outlined below may not always be available. Review the When to Register page for information about when carts open and the add/drop periods. 

TL;DR: A PATH Quick Start Guide (pdf) to setting registration priorities is available!
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Carts in PATH

Every student automatically has two carts in PATH: the Primary Cart and the Alternatives Cart. Using these carts, degree-seeking undergraduate students will select and prioritize courses they would like to be registered for. Students may also create their own cart to save course options as they are deciding what to put in their primary and alternative carts.

The Primary Cart and Alternatives Cart 

The Primary Cart includes your top choices. Think of it like the schedule you want the most! Courses saved in your Alternatives Cart will be available to select in your Primary Cart as an alternate choice in the Registration Options panel while setting registration priorities. (See Setting Registration Priorities below.)

Create Your Own Cart

If you'd like to save courses of interest, you can create your own cart in PATH. Remember that if you want PATH to attempt to register you in any of those courses during the initial registration period, courses in a cart you create must be moved to the Primary Cart (or Alternatives Cart and selected as an alternative to a primary cart course in the Registration Options panel).

{{youtube:large:center|zLfoTzXvuf4, Primary and Alternative Carts in PATH}}

Setting Registration Priorities and Alternatives

Setting Registration Priorities and Alternatives is done in the Registration Options panel in PATH. The panel automatically appears when adding a course to your Primary Cart during the cart-building phase of registration, but you may also access it by selecting the "Edit Registration Options" button that appears in the Course Details panel for courses in your Primary Cart.

You may assign a registration priority to each course in your Primary Cart. You can choose to set priorities from First (Highest) through Ninth, or you may also utilize the auto registration priority to automatically assign a priority to a course based on demand. The more popular a course, the higher the priority PATH will assign to it (respecting that you may have hard-coded a course selection as first, fourth, sixth, etc). PATH will use the auto function as a "tie-breaker" for any courses you assign the same priority number. Auto is the default priority assigned to courses in your Primary Cart if you do not save changes.

Each course in your Primary Cart may have up to two alternate courses designated. For courses with multiple sections, you also have the option to select "any other section" of the course from the alternate drop-down. If you choose this option and your first choice section from the Primary Cart is not available, PATH will attempt to register you in any other available section of the course.

Note: You can continue to make changes to your Primary Cart, including the registration priorities and alternatives, until carts close. After carts close, no changes can be made to priorities or alternates. If you do not populate courses in your primary cart by the time the carts close, PATH will not attempt any registration during this first phase of registration. The University Registrar's Office (or your advisor) cannot build a cart or set priorities for you. 

{{youtube:large:center|4zw2U0sAhFA, Setting Registration Priorities and Alternative Course Options in PATH}}

What's the Best Way to Build a Cart?

There is no one correct way to build your Primary Cart and set your registration priorities!

Maybe you like to start by adding courses to the Primary Cart and Alternatives Cart, and then updating the Registration Options on each course in your Primary Cart as the last step. Or maybe you prefer to build your cart round-by-round by adding your alternate courses to the Alternatives Cart, adding your number one course to the Primary Cart, and then setting the registration priority before moving on to your second course. Experiment and find what method works best for you! 

Whatever the path you take, by the time carts close, your Primary Cart must have courses in it, and any registration restrictions (like instructor permission) or registration errors (like missing prerequisites) must be resolved. Courses with unresolved registration errors will be unsuccessful during the registration process. Students with unresolved registration holds will not have their cart processed by PATH. The University Registrar's Office (or your advisor) cannot build a cart or set priorities for you. 

When to Build a Cart

A registration outline for each term is available on the When to Register page. Generally, registration dates will be available in late February for fall registrations and late September for spring registrations. Please note that times are listed in Eastern Time (ET) and that registration dates and times are subject to change.

Tips & Tricks for Cart Building and Registration Priorities 
Collapsible and expandable table with tips and tricks for carts and registration priorities in PATH
Co-requisite Groups - Adding to Carts, Prioritizing, and Using as an Alternative

Students must put all co-requisite courses in their primary cart. When evaluating a student's priorities, PATH will assign the highest priority to the whole co-requisite group and complete the registration at the same time.

Example #1 - Co-req Group in the Primary Cart: A student adds BIOL 203, 203L, and 203D to their primary cart. The student assigns First (Highest) registration priority to the lecture section, and lower priorities to the lab and discussion sections. When PATH is processing registration, all three sections will be attempted at the priority set for the BIOL 203 section because it has the highest priority assigned.

Example #2 - Using a Co-req Group as an Alternative in Your Primary Cart
Approach A - Using Primary & Alternatives Cart: A student adds GOVT 201 to their Primary Cart and adds AMST 200 & 200D (lecture and discussion co-requisite group) to their Alternatives Cart. In the Registration Options panel for GOVT 201, the student adds AMST 200D discussion section as the alternative course. Then, they review their Alternatives Cart to ensure AMST 200 lecture is saved in that cart. When PATH evaluates registration, if the student cannot be registered into GOVT 201 but AMST 200D is available, PATH will review the Alternatives Cart for AMST 200 lecture, and then register the student in the co-requisite group.
Approach B - Using the Primary Cart Only: The student adds GOVT 201 to their Primary Cart, chooses to set it as their third registration priority, and sets no alternative courses. Then, the student adds AMST 200D to their Primary Cart and chooses to set the course as their fourth registration priority. Finally, the student adds AMST 200 to their Primary Cart and chooses to set the course as their ninth registration priority (because PATH will evaluate the whole AMST co-requisite group at the highest priority set for any section of the course; in this case, that is fourth for AMST 200D). When PATH evaluates registration, if the student cannot be registered into GOVT 201, PATH will move on to AMST 200D as the next priority. Space is available in AMST 200D, and because AMST 200 is part of the co-requisite group and also saved in the Primary Cart, PATH registers the student in both courses. 

How many courses should I put in my Primary Cart?

Maximum credit hour registration restrictions will still be in place when PATH processes registration, but you should put more than the allowable maximum hours in your registration cart. PATH is designed to evaluate selections each round until a successful registration is made for a student, or until all of their course selections have been exhausted. Based on course demand, restrictions, and tiered enrollment maximums, PATH may need to evaluate more than one course per round. Remember, each course in the Primary Cart can have up to two alternative selections; for courses with multiple sections, students can also select "any other section" as an alternate course.

Start early! Give yourself time to browse courses, resolve issues, and set your priorities.

We suggest searching for and adding courses to your cart when carts open so you have time to resolve any issues before carts close. PATH will display registration errors for each course and registration holds at the top of your cart. Starting early allows you more time to request instructor permission and take care of any issues like holds or a missing prerequisite course. 

Related pages for additional information: PATH Icon Legend and Glossary of Terms, When to Register


If you have questions about carts, setting registration priorities, or the registration process, contact the University Registrar's Office at [[w|registrar]].