Why we need to change the way we register for classess

Photo courtesy YouTube

Photo courtesy YouTube

It’s 7:59, one minute before my registration slot opens. I’m hunched nervously in front of my computer, waiting for the clock to turn so I can submit my schedule. Eight p.m. hits, and I quickly hit “submit” and await my results. The site is slow. Will it crash? Will the classes be full? The slow buffer circle nauseates me as I pray it goes slightly faster.

The page opens, only to reveal that one of the classes has been closed. I do a manic rush back to the search bar for alternatives: CLOSED, CLOSED, CLOSED… A lump forms in my throat. Petitioning doesn’t always work. Will the class open later? Should I keep checking? How will this affect my four-year plan?

In the end, I am one of the lucky ones. Through God’s grace a class opened, and I quickly submitted my registration. Seconds later, the class was closed.

Others are not so lucky. Registration time is typically stress-filled. With backup schedules, advising appointments and the inevitable “what-am-I-doing-with-my-life” scare, it is a time of high anxiety. However, the worst part is registration itself. After all, not everyone is able to get the perfect schedule.

In Calvin’s defense, no registration system can be perfect. There will always be some who get their schedules to work and some who don’t. However, the problems with Calvin’s registration go past the occasional disappointment. A system where a person with 47 credits registers later than a person with 27 is, simply put, screwed up.

The example mentioned above, sadly, isn’t just a hypothetical scenario. This is my dilemma. Late one night, I was going over registration times with my roommate. When I found out she registered an hour before me, I was shocked. I came in with a lot of credits from AP classes and thought I had more credits than she had. We compared our credit hours. I had 47. She had 27.

And yet, there we were: Friday night with her registering an hour before me. Although no harm was done, it was a major inconvenience. I had gone through most of my core already and desperately needed to get into upper level classes in my major that filled rather quickly. Comparatively, she still had plenty of core classes to take, which have many open sections. Although I was able to make it work, not everyone is that lucky. Slightly disgruntled and slightly curious, I looked into how this situation happened in the first place.

Currently, Calvin first divides registration by “credits.” However, these credit blocks are the equivalent of each grade: seniors go first (89+ semester hours), followed by juniors (58-88 semester hours), sophomores (27-57 semester hours), and finally freshmen (0-26 semester hours). After that, a random letter is chosen, and people register in order of the first letter of their last name.

While there is no outright discrimination in this system, Calvin needs to realize that they are not setting their students up for the best system possible. Although two people may both be juniors credit-wise, one with more credits deserves to register before another who has just achieved this credit segment. The student closer to senior status has already taken the majority of their courses and has fewer scheduling options than the student who just recently attained junior status. The recent junior has a higher level of flexibility, and Calvin should recognize this.

Calvin needs to change their registration system. A system with further credit hour segmentation is not only more fair, but also more logical. If Calvin were to have separate registration for different number of credits (perhaps in increments of fives), there might be less need for petitioning (which is extra work for students, teachers and the registrar).

To be fair, Calvin does a great job getting people into the classes they need. They are willing to listen and work with each student to ensure success. However, a more segmented system further simplifies the work and stress of all those invested in the registration process and allows those who need it the most to register first.