It’s been hours since you’ve been obsessing over the new course catalog. You scream out “Eureka! I’ve finally created the perfect schedule for next semester.” It took a lot of tactical insertions, shuffling classes into your everyday life. Feeling accomplished and relieved, you pat yourself on the back for getting the job done. Don’t start celebrating yet. The struggle has just begun.
With classes filling up fast and priority given to seniors and athletes, you decide to go on the offensive, seeking friends with earlier registration dates to save you a spot. Over the next few days, you revert back to your obsessive ways: religiously logging in to check for an open slot. Reality settles in and an ideal class schedule has gone out the window. Many students at this point are re-working their schedules as classes get filled up. Back to square one.
We’ve all been in that situation before. Needless to say, it’s frustrating getting an undesirable schedule. Underclassmen are almost destined to get slim pickings, even upperclassmen don’t get priority due to a lack of credits or picking after athletes. Most schools give seniority to student athletes and then to those with the most credits. Some believe the system is fair and others believe it’s flawed. Personally, I believe each registration process varies. You have to account for a few factors; the size of the school, it’s division and is it a private or public school.
Larger schools such as GMU will have a bigger pool of backup classes to choose from. However, being a larger school, there are more regulations that need to be noted. For example it’s rare for students to be manually added to classes and the school operates on hard deadlines. I found SU’s registration process fairly painless. The staff took my work schedule into consideration and built the perfect schedule for my first semester as a transfer student. Even though my situation was accommodated, that’s not to say that SU’s registration process is better. Being a smaller school, classes are dictated by interest. Expect a class to get cancelled if not enough students register. That can be troublesome for a senior trying to graduate.
GMU’s course registration, Patriot Web has significantly improved over the years.
SU’s new platform on Webadvisor, called Student Planning helps students better plan and manage upcoming semesters.
Both of these schools do give athletes preference for picking classes. Something I strongly disagree with. Athletes should get priority registration only if it’s a division 1 athletic school. For private schools, priority registration should be given to seniors with the most credits who are in academic standing then athletes. The chances of Division III athletes going pro are slim to none in Basketball and Football. Those who pay tuition and qualify with enough credits should receive priority registration.
Student athletes get priority because they need to find classes to revolve around their practice times. This is problematic at private institutions as there are a lot of slim pickings. Should these small schools blaze a new trail? For example, creating hybrid courses for student athletes. This will give them ample of practice time devotion and make up any missed classwork. For those such as myself who commute an hour and PAY tuition, we cannot afford another semester or two if classes are full. Student athletes who are on scholarships surely can “afford” to stay an extra semester or longer if need be.
I also understand the business aspect of giving student athletes priority registration. SU, a small private school would love to see its athletic program grow – it’s good for recruiting and ultimately makes more money. It’d be difficult for potential recruits to commit to SU if they couldn’t promise priority registration. With practice, classes and a well-balanced social life, graduating on time would be difficult without that perk.
Moral of the story, be happy that you’re even in college. It’s a privilege that many don’t have. Crafting an ideal schedule is no easy task and you should always have a backup plan. College students, especially in America are known to be lethargic and lazy.
Let the games begin, choose wisely.