Registrar Defuses Preregistration Concerns
Published: Friday, December 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, December 7, 2012 02:12
Forty-three percent of registered undergraduate and graduate students received complete schedules for the spring semester, down from 44 percent last year, according to University Registrar John Pierce.
Though Pierce said that the change is not unusual or drastic, several students expressed discontent with the initial results of their preregistration.
“I have no reason to expect that people won’t have a complete schedule as they always do,” Pierce said. “I’ve been running this registration process for a long time, and I see it as my responsibility to get everyone into a complete schedule so they can make timely progress towards their degree.”
According to Pierce, the preregistration system’s algorithm considers three priorities to place students in classes. Seniors get first priority in their first two requested major courses, regardless of how they ranked their preregistration courses, and juniors then receive the same priority. After those major courses are assigned, seniors then get priority for their first and second course requests. Request assignments are then interwoven among the rest of the student body.
“If a junior puts the course for their top priority and it’s outside their major, and a senior has put it as their third priority, the junior gets in before the senior, so it’s not just a case of seniors get everything,” Pierce said. “It goes back and forth so that everyone has a chance to get into their top priority course.”
Aan Amin (SFS ’13) only got into two of his major courses, but he needs a third major course in order to graduate on time in May. When preregistering, however, he did not list alternate courses.
“I didn’t think I needed to because two of my classes were my major classes, so I thought I’d get into them,” Amin said. “One of my classes was a large history class, so I was really was only going for two electives that I put as my choice one and two. And I just figured that as a senior, I’d get into my first two choices.”
Nevertheless, Amin said that he was not concerned about getting into courses during registration completion, so he was not worried about graduating on time.
Amanda Dominguez (SFS ’14), a Culture and Politics major, also only got into two courses for which she preregistered. CULP requires courses not listed as major courses, so they were not considered as such in the algorithm.
“I didn’t get into a film studies course this semester or a television course this semester because I wasn’t registered within the major requirement for which the class was listed,” Dominguez said.
The registrar said that he was working with the deans and department chairs to expand capacities for required courses, especially math and economics courses.
“There were other situations in math and economics, and we’re still working on both of those,” Pierce said. “We were still negotiating with the department over what to do about demand where we thought the students needed the courses. It wasn’t because a particular faculty member was very popular, but rather that we had real demand in excess of supply.”
For example, Pierce and the math department registered 50 students originally rejected during preregistration into a math class Tuesday.
Lexi Thomas (NHS ’14), a pre-med junior who did not get into a second-semester physics class because both her primary and alternate selections were full, suggested that the registrar should attempt to schedule more classes at more popular times in order to improve preregistration results.
“Physics is about a 200-person lecture and certain sections end up being more popular. People tend to avoid morning sections just because they don't want to wake up at 7:30 for an 8 a.m. physics lab,” Thomas said. “If there was enough faculty and space I think it would be better off holding multiple sections for the really popular times and have two different sections going at the same time just so that the majority of the class could get into sections that they want to get into.”
Pierce said that students should not be concerned if they did not receive a full schedule because the registration process is not yet over.
“We have open registration starting on Saturday, and we are monitoring the spaces in courses, so we believe there is enough room for everyone to make a complete schedule,” Pierce said. “The deans and the registrars are prepared to help people next week if they can’t get a complete schedule, so the process isn’t finished until we go through this real-time registration next week.”