Over the past few semesters, students have faced increasing difficulty enrolling in courses required for their concentrations. While the problem typically affects incoming freshmen with low-credit standing, upperclassmen in certain majors have also been struggling to get a spot in required courses.
University officials said registration difficulties are likely due to increasing interest in specific areas and a lack of general resources in these departments, such as the departments of Romance Languages and Literatures and Communication Studies.
Carin Scott, department manager of the University’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, said that because a high volume of students always try to register for foreign language, those classes typically fill up fast. But she said that the Romance Languages and Literature department is accommodating and willing to work with students if they have scheduling conflicts.
“Students need to register as early as possible,” Scott said. “We work with students individually to try to ensure they enroll in classes for their concentration.”
Cristina Moreiras-Menor, chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and an associate professor of Spanish and Women’s Studies, said registration problems for Spanish classes are likely growing due to limited resources and an increased interest in the language.
Though students may have issues registering for courses they need to complete their degrees, Moreiras-Menor said she has never heard of an instance in which a student’s graduation has been delayed because of enrollment issues.
“Last semester we had two students who had issues registering,” Moreiras-Menor said. “They got into classes. This semester we haven’t received any complaints.”
According to Moreiras-Menor, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures tries to be as accommodating as it can.
“In the context of our possibilities and our resources, we try to cope. If we can open classes, we do,” Moreiras-Menor said. “My impression is we are placing the majority of students in classes.”
The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures isn’t the only department in which students have had difficulties registering for classes. LSA sophomore Phoebe Barghouty said she has encountered major issues trying to enroll in Department of Communication Studies courses that are already full.
“Because I am a first-year student with sophomore standing, and I am trying to graduate early, it’s hard to get all my required courses because I’m lower on the priority list,” Barghouty said. “I got my first two comm classes, 101 and 102, by luck. Comm 211 was filled up in just a couple days, so I had no chance.”
Planning a schedule becomes frustrating, Barghouty said, since she’s not sure which classes she’ll be able to get into.
“I avoid waitlists,” Barghouty said. “I tend to choose the classes that I want, then if they are full, I just make a completely new schedule.”
The problems with registering for required courses, Barghouty said, could stem from students with other majors enrolling in popular classes to fill elective credits.
“In lots of cases, people are just taking them for an elective, when people need them for their major,” Barghouty said. “Sometimes I worry that I won’t be able to graduate early.”
While some students are discouraged from seeking enrollment if a class has filled up, others, like Public Policy senior Michael Bertenthal, attempt to get into the class by lobbying professors.
“I think it’s common for students to have this problem, but talking to professors really helps,” Bertenthal said. “Getting on a waitlist, going to class and discussing the opportunity to take the class with the professor works pretty well.”
He added that registration issues within other schools at the University besides LSA tend to be easier to resolve since students can receive more specialized help.
“If you are in a smaller school, I think you have a better chance of getting into classes you need,” Bertenthal said. “I was in LSA for two years before I entered Public Policy. In LSA, you are more anonymous and dealing with advisers can be more difficult when trying to get into courses.”
Though a number of students pointed out flaws in the registration process, students said they had mixed feelings about whether they would talk to departments to express their dissatisfaction.
Barghouty said she has suggestions for improving registration within the Department of Communication Studies, but she wouldn’t contact administrators with a grievance regarding registration issues.
“I wouldn’t file a complaint,” Barghouty said “But I would consider giving the comm department some constructive criticism.”
Engineering freshman Alex Nagler said his registration problems for introductory classes have been aggravating, but he would rather handle the situation on his own.
“It’s impossible to get into any 101 classes. Those should be really easy to get into,” Nagler said. “I would never really consider taking it up with the department. It’s a nuisance, but I can deal with it.”