Registration has arrived. Like clockwork, it is once again time to think about classes for next semester and inevitably, the dates and times of registration appointments on Wolverine Access. To many, the thought is a disheartening one – students scramble for classes as the wave of registration times gradually works its way through the University community from top to bottom. Almost anyone can speak to past registration injustices in which an acquaintance with fewer credits got into classes that filled before the student with more credits got to register. This tale is common because of a flawed registration system and the number of classes in high demand. Many students each year find themselves left scrambling to build a schedule around what open classes remain.
The main problem with the registration system is clear: Students are divided into seven groups based on the number of credit hours they have passed. The first group, which consists of those who have more than 100 credit hours, gets registration priority, followed by the rest in order. The glitch in the system is how students within each group are given priority – randomly. Two students with as many as a 24-credit difference could have registration appointments such that the student with fewer credits registers hours before the student with more credits. With each bracket composed of thousands of students, even an eight-hour delay could mean the loss of more than 10,000 course slots. Considering how some crucial classes may have only 20 or 30 total spaces, an afternoon registration could have terrible implications. Failing to receive a class that someone has been waiting for because another person with significantly fewer credits was luckier defeats the purpose of the hierarchical registration system.
At first glance, it seems the University should simply add sections of the classes that fill quickly, particularly those that students need to graduate. Considering how much students and their families pay for tuition each year, it is difficult to justify why students should be crowded out of classes they need or simply want to take. Making spaces for students would certainly help, but because the University lacks the money to create identical classes of equal quality without cutting from somewhere else, administrators need to offer a more feasible solution.
Narrower credit-hour ranges of five credits would group students together who have taken roughly the same number of classes – not the same number of semesters. This figure would sufficiently break up the current credit brackets, but it would not be so narrow that students would be punished if their concentration requires many three-credit courses. With smaller groups, there would be less time and fewer registering students between the first and last student in each group than with the current setup.
The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Student Government has discussed advocating five-credit registration brackets in the past and would be wise to try again. Smaller brackets would help out students at all levels who deserve to get the classes they need or want over their peers who have less credit hours. Breaking down these brackets would be fairer – if students do not get a class they need or want it is because they do not have enough credit hours, not because Lady Luck let them down.