As ever, this is the time of year when things start to get really busy at the Language Centre – it’s Freshers’ Week, registration is open for all our courses and we feel like we have students’ queries coming out of our ears!
With our website’s new design, we hope that it’s much easier to find the answers to your questions, and of course you can always contact us by email or phone if you can’t find what you need – but we thought we’d also include a list of our most commonly asked questions:
- How do I register?
Registration is now based completely online, though we have a communal PC set up in the reception area of the Language Centre if you do want to do it here.
- Is it first come, first served?
NO! We’re aware that lots of people think that they have to register as quickly as possible once registration opens, but that actually won’t necessarily increase your chances of getting a place. OPAL registrations are decided upon the strength of your personal statement as well as filling status quotas, and LASR and EAS places are allocated through a lottery system, with students and staff placed in classes first.
- For English courses, if I select one group, am I guaranteed a place in that class?
Unfortunately NO, this is not the case. The more groups that you can attend, the easier it will be to find you a place, so be sure to tick all the groups you could make! It is decided by a lottery system after the registration period ends. Please do not assume that just because you have filled out the registration form you then automatically have a place in that class! You must wait for a confirmation email from the Courses Administrator (Scarlett Nash) before attending a class.
- What are the most over-subscribed courses?
Our Beginners courses are always popular, especially French, Spanish and German. Arabic and Chinese are also usually oversubscribed. If you really want to take up a new language, you would have a good chance of getting a place for Italian, Georgian, Greek, Portuguese and Welsh. Don’t be afraid to try learning a slightly more unusual language!
- What happens if I don’t get placed in class and am put on a waiting list?
Don’t give up hope! We always have a certain amount of dropouts, no shows and mind changes at the beginning of term, and we keep a close eye on class registers and attendance so we do try to call up those on the waiting list as soon as possible. We also run intensive Week 9 classes for our most popular languages and levels at the end of Michaelmas so you could look to join that, ready to slot into the corresponding LASR class in Hilary Term. Please don’t email us to ask where you are on the waiting list, as we are very busy and simply don’t have the time to answer queries from everyone! Pity our poor cramped up fingers from so much typing…
- How do I know which level I should apply for?
We do have basic placement tests for several courses on the website, so be sure to check these out if there is one the language you’re applying for. Also, do look at the syllabi for the courses on the relevant course pages on our website. If you have any particularly specific queries, the course tutors’ email addresses are on our website here and they are happy to advise on level.
There is also a certain amount of flexibility in the first few weeks of term, so if you did find a class too easy/hard, there’s usually the possibility of moving up or down a level. This would have to be approved by the appropriate tutors, and would be dependant on space in the relevant classes.
- For classes that have more than one group, can I swap between the groups in different weeks?
No! We do ask that you attend the same group throughout the term, as it is disruptive and confusing for staff and tutors if students move around like this. It also makes the registers super messy and this irks the Course Administrator’s need for things to look tidy. Our tutors are always very helpful and can let you know what material is covered if you have to miss a class. Often they can let you know specific pages and exercises to do in the coursebook so you can get up to speed on your own.
- What if I desperately need a certain language for my studies/research?
In this case you would be a priority applicant for a LASR course (this process only applies to LASR courses), and you should fill out the priority form found on our website. You will also need to register online as normal, and the deadline for forms to come back to me is Wednesday 14th October (the normal LASR/OPAL deadline). If you think you will have to be late, please let the Admin team know at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can make a note of this on your application and your place in class will be secured.
- How can I pay for the courses once I get a place?
There will be instructions in your place confirmation email, but you can pay by cash or cheque at the Language Centre Reception, or online via the Online Store link that will be sent to you. We can’t take card payments at Reception, so please pay online if you want to pay by card!
We may add to this list as the registration period continues, but these are probably the most popular questions so far. Do bear in mind that a lot of this is also covered in the LASR Guide and OPAL Guide on our website. When you register you are asked to confirm that you have read these guides – so don’t forget to do this!