Editorial: registration anxieties

Posted by The Editorial Board

As students of the College enter a brief respite from exams and assignments of that midterm haul, a new wave of bi-annual panic and stress has set in-registration for Spring 2013 is upon us.

It's that time of year again where failure to get into a course can feel like the end of the world. Everyone understands the nature of the beast-major requirements, maturity requirements and credit requirements keep students hunkered down and fully loaded until the eve of graduation. Seniors stress over which capstone they will be able to get into for months ahead of time, and underclassmen just hope they can get into their chosen courses to further explore their interests.

As some students try to complete double majors or double minors, getting into every class they need to take becomes vital, which is not easy to accomplish considering the increase in size of the student population recently (the class of 2014 is the biggest the College has ever seen). Getting blocked out of a single course can be the end of a major or minor especially when you have departments with as many requirements as Government and English.

With all of this in mind, it is fair to think that students shouldn't have to have any further concerns over the impending registration date, but as the day approaches, the outcome of last year's registration comes to mind. 

Since the confusion and conflicts caused from a switch to the new system last semester, and the four-day registration hiatus that took place thereafter, the administration has not taken action to address students' concerns that the same mishaps will not unfold this semester.

While the switch was one the school was forced to make by the network provider, Oracle, and the intentions were good in changing from a staggered method to one in which every member of a grade registers at once, what began as a new system of fairness quickly turned into one of luck.

When the system crashed last semester, many students found themselves blocked out of courses, or at least sitting in front of their computers for hours on end waiting for the system to come back online. Some were fortunate enough to get into some, if not all of their classes before the system crashed. Others were blocked out of registering for days. The registration process also proved to be especially difficult for those abroad at the time.

This semester the College is using the same system as last year. Since no announcement has been made to clarify the issues from last semester and to explain how things will be different this time around, the return of student concern over getting blocked out of classes is reasonable.

Further stress will surely unfold over the problematic nuances that have always been a part of the system, such as requirement overrides. It is all-too-common for students to get an introductory level class waived by the head of a department, only to then find themselves blocked out of upper-level classes because the pre-requisite is unfulfilled in the system. Stepping over this obstacle requires an email to the registrar requesting to waive the pre-requisite yet again, an extended process which usually occurs while the student sits in front of their computer watching their desired courses fill up. While the system was on a staggered basis this was not as big of an issue, but with each class registering all-at-once, these further anxieties seem even more problematic.

While the Registrar had little say in changing to a new registration system, they do have a stake in making sure that students are prepared for the mad rush soon to take place. Students don't necessarily require all the technical jargon of what the exact problem was in last semester's registration, but if the registrar can simply explain last semester's issues and the changes that have been made more or less in layman's terms (that is assuming changes have been made) students can, at the very least, be relieved of the additional panic that was tacked onto the already existing and inevitable stress of registration. 

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