Sorry, this class is full: The perils of registration

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Classes are wrapping up and much-deserved (and needed) long breaks are rapidly approaching. In the midst of the craziness that the end of the semester brings is one thorn in all of our shoes: registration.

It is no secret that registering for classes is a stressful experience. From registration times to overlapping classes to degree requirements, planning a schedule out takes organization, forethought and sometimes luck.

Obviously, in order to graduate with a certain degree, we have to take specific classes for that degree. This can prove to be challenging. Between limited class offerings to enrollment caps, sometimes getting that class you have to take can be nearly impossible. Something that can influence this is your registration time which is determined by your class standing which is then determined by how many credits you have.

Herein lies a major issue and one I have heard many people discussing in recent weeks. Support for the credit-based registration time makes sense; if you have more credits, you are probably upper-division and therefore have less time to complete your credits. However, is the credit system the most effective system?

Many students come here with AP credits and/or transfer credits from community programs. These students have worked hard to earn these credits, no doubt. However, the disparity that exists under this system cannot be overlooked. For students who did not have the option to earn college credit while in high school, catching up to their peers who did can be extremely difficult or downright impossible. Should a student who did not have access to such credit-boosting classes in high school really be affected by this for all of college?

I am not arguing that we should retire the credit system for getting registration times, but I do think that maybe we should examine it and look for alternatives.

However, more important than the way registration time is decided is the root of the problem: not enough classes and not enough professors. Many classes will only be offered twice in a semester. (Some of the more universal and lower-division classes are, of course, offered in many more sections, but this is not common for most classes.) If one of the limited class offerings does not work with your schedule or is filled up before you register, you will probably not be able to take that class that semester.

Offering more classes requires more faculty. Professors already carry a heavy load with their classes and independent scholarship they produce; it is not fair to ask them to take on more classes than they already do. Having more faculty members means that more classes will be offered and students will more easily be able to fulfill their requirements.

Obviously these suggestions are really easy to throw out there but not nearly as easy to bring to fruition. Bringing more faculty is expensive and difficult. Even with more faculty, there is not the guarantee of the physical space for more class offerings. Despite this, it is clear that something needs to change. Students need to be able to complete their degree requirements.

Another option could be done on the departmental level. Departments that experience a high volume of students each semester could try to work with students to accommodate their schedules. They could offer pre-registration (something that some departments have already begun to do). If all else fails and a student is unable to get into a class they need, the departments ought to work with them to figure out an alternative.

Not fulfilling requirements puts students at risk of having to take a fifth year or transfer. Neither of these are ideal options. With appropriate measures put into place, we can at least minimize the amount of students who struggle to get into classes they need to take.

When we all chose to go to a small school, we were accepting the possibility that registration might be difficult. A smaller school simply cannot provide the sheer amount of classes that larger schools can. While it is unfortunate that registering is such a difficult task, the amazing faculty and students make it worth it. As this semester draws to a close, best of luck finalizing your schedules, Loggers!