This page will help First Year Engineering Students prepare for their first semester at CU Boulder. Be sure to read through to the bottom of this page and review recommendations from our math placement advisors at the end. All first year engineering students starting in fall, spring and summer terms should follow these steps, however, there are some slight differences that are noted for spring & summer start students. 

Registration Help Lab:

Need help the morning of your registration? A virtual help room is open between 8am-10am every Monday and Thursday between July 18th-August 11th to assist with last-minute registration questions or issues that might come up. If you have an urgent question that morning we recommend you join this help room rather than email your advisor and wait for a response.  

 Step #1: Complete the Calculus Math Readiness Exam by June 6, 2022

  • Spring & Summer Semester Deadline: If you start in a spring or summer term you must take the math readiness exam at least 1 week before you enroll in classes to ensure you are able to properly enroll in your first math course! 

  • All First Year students in the College of Engineering are required to take the Math Readiness Exam regardless of previous college, AP, or IB credit you might be expecting.

  • It is important that you take this exam before the deadline to ensure you are appropriately enrolled in classes this summer. We need this score in our systems because enrollment processes start before your AP/IB/Transfer credit posts to your record. 

  • You should prepare for the exam by working through practice problems. You can take as long as you need to practice. It is recommended that you review for at least an hour each day for a week or more before you take the exam.

  • Once you are ready to take the exam:

    • Access the Math Readiness Exam through Canvas with your CU Boulder identikey

    • Look for "CU Boulder Math Readiness Test" 

      • Click "Enroll in Course"

      • Click "Go to Course" 

    • Once enrolled in the course, go to Canvas, then click on "CU Boulder Math Readiness Test"

      • All Engineering students are required to take the entire Calculus Readiness Exam even if you are expecting credit for Calculus.


If your major does not require chemistry you can skip this step! Some majors require chemistry and offer students an opportunity to take an accelerated chemistry course in place of a two-semester chemistry sequence. You can learn more about the accelerated chemistry option here. Make sure you talk with your advisor if you have any questions about the chemistry requirements for your major or if you were thinking about changing your major.  


Step #2: Begin the Online Experience

  • Begin your Online Experience through Canvas in MAY.

  • In JUNE You must return to your Online Experience and complete the Engineering Advising and the Enrolling in Classes modules and pass the quiz at the end in order to register for classes in JULY! There is a hold on your account that keeps you from enrolling in classes until you do so. 

  • In JULY and AUGUST, more modules will open in the Online Experience sharing more important information and resources to help support your transition to CU Boulder. 


Step #3: Choose Your Enrollment Window

*This only applies to students starting in a fall semester; students starting in a spring or summer semester do not choose enrollment window*

  • After you complete the Advising and Enrolling in Courses modules, you will be able to select your enrollment window.
  • It does not matter which enrollment window you select as your access to classes remains the same. We release seats on a rolling basis during each enrollment window; there is no advantage to picking the very first window. In other words students in the last enrollment window have the same opportunity take particular classes as students in the first enrollment window.
  • To select your enrollment window, go to your Buff Portal and select the New Student Welcome card.

Step #4: Prepare for Your Enrollment Window

  • Students starting in the fall should plan on attending their major's Academic Advising Webinar in June. Your Advisors will present all the information you need to know to get ready for your first appointment with them. You'll be able to ask questions about what classes you should take and what opportunities are available within your department or program. 

  • Check Buff Portal to see if you've been pre-enrolled in any courses. In the fall semesters most students are pre-enrolled in one or more classes so when your enrollment window opens you'll simply be augmenting your class schedule rather than building it from scratch. In the spring students build more of their semesters and your academic advisors are there to provide additional guidance. 

  • Prepare your schedule and save classes in your "shopping cart" in Buff Portal. Start this process at least a full week before your enrollment opens. Look over your shopping cart before your enrollment window opens to ensure that the classes you chose are still available. This way you have time to make adjustments if you need to. 

  • New first-year students will find a comprehensive, step-by-step worksheet on how to prepare and register for courses in this Microsoft Word document:  

  • While you can schedule an appointment with your Academic Advisor using Buff Portal Advising to make sure the classes you have chosen are appropriate, it is not required. 

Step #5: Officially Register

  • Once your enrollment window begins, go back to your shopping cart and make your final selections, and officially register. 

  • Each enrollment window is open for a short time. Be sure that you check your Buff Portal carefully to know when you are able to make changes to your schedule. Always follow your advisor's recommendations when doing so. 

  • Register as soon as your window opens. Your enrollment is only open for two days and engineering courses are very popular; you might not get your ideal class-times if you don't register right away on the first day of your enrollment window. 


 Choosing Your First CU Math Course:

Important Note about AP Scores:
  • For your first math course specifically, if you choose to use your AP credit, please be sure that you have mastered the content included in these Final Exam Archives for that level. You should complete that exam in a test taking environment, without notes or a calculator, and score above a 70% to feel confident to move onto the next level.  If you are still unsure of where to start after completing an exam in a test-taking environment, you can email your exam solutions to or and Dr. Dougherty or Ms. Chang, our CU Math Placement Advisor, will assist you. Succeeding in your first math course is important and our math placement experts are here to help you determine what might be best for you!