Friday, August 26, 2005


Late In-Person Registration, or, Let the Whining Begin...

We’re in the dreaded, feared, hated-with-the-white-hot-passion-of-a-thousand-suns late in-person registration period again.


As the dean, I’m the go-to person for students trying to get into closed sections. In other words, I am the target of whining.

“But you have to let me into that class! I’ll lose my financial aid!”

“I need that class to graduate, and my job conflicts with every other section.”

“Can you add a section? It would really help.”

“I just want something easy. Are there any, you know, bullshit classes?”

"It's not fair that I got kicked out, just because I didn't pay my bill."

“What doesn’t require any math?”

“An online class? Do I need a computer for that?”

And on, and on. The worst is the kid who shows up with his girlfriend five minutes before we shut down, wanting some impossibly baroque schedule with multiple prerequisite waivers and nothing too early in the morning, and he wants it RIGHT NOW. For whatever reason, that kid is always the most assertive of the day.

Given my druthers, I’d assign the most senior, most haughty faculty to late registration duty. Let them confront the reality of how students make the choices they make. We can have whatever high-minded discussions about academic integrity we like; the kids will make decisions based on convenience, perceived ease, and what their friends are taking.

Honestly, it isn’t as bad as it used to be. Online registration has made it easier, as the students have become (generally) more self-sufficient. (Hooray!) I hope to see us move even more strongly in that direction in the future, and we probably will. Still, for the next several days, it’s time to put on my thickest skin. Bleah.

(Judging by this post, whining is contagious. Sorry bout that.)

I had a person join my class late last semester who said that the choice was based on no prerequisites and that the books for my class were the least expensive of the choices that were still open to her.
Don't worry, faculty get their fair share of students begging to be let in. My favorites (not) are always the ones who demand to add a week or two late, swear up and down that they'll do the work to catch up, and then fail to even ask me for the old handouts. And then they fail the class. And then they're real joys, because they ask if they can do extra work to pass. Lovely.
I shoulder that responsibility within the division I oversee. My charge is to take care of business so that my Dean does not hear from students about such matters. Wouldn't you like that? Well, I prefer your system. Let the Deans of the world sort it all out! Just joking. I'm here to say that I feel your pain because it so happens that I have to make the same decisions!
ROAFs one and all. Poor Dean Dad. At this time of year, I really think I hate students.
Interesting. What do your faculty do if/when you let extra people into their classes? at our U the only way a student can get into a full section is with a faculty signature. And we are so underfunded that in my department, anyway, all sections are full...
The faculty have generally been very good sports about exceeding course caps; I try to reciprocate by not hitting the same section over and over again.

We're in a funny position. As a college, our enrollment is shaky, but what students we do get all seem to want the same few sections. If we could just spread them out a little...
I don't understand why your students don't register online. I am a student and I do everything online. I hate waiting on line and filling out those paper forms. Our online system lets me find courses by time, lets me know if I have scheduling conflicts and then lets me print out a schedule that I use all semester.

I can also pay online with a credit card and bank transfer.

I had to register in person for my first semester. I was sent from bursar's to registrar's to financial aid to nurse's office (vaccinations), back to bursas, registrar. Why would anyone choose to ednure that?
I've learned as a faculty member to do my share of registration hours during the early to mid part of the summer. Final reg is a nightmare for all the reasons you note.

Overrides at my college require the dept chair and dean to approve, with the faculty member usually consulted. I try to stick to a no-override policy, but I will bend for students I've had before whose work ethic I'm aware of. But I always give them a good talking to about the importance of registering early next time.

The worst override story I've heard involved a dept. chair who told the records office they could override adjunct, but not full-time, sections at will. Talk about slimy.
To echo Timna's comment: I know an English prof who taught "The Short Story," and had students admit to choosing the class because "short stories are short."

[First-time commenter, glad to have found you, via BitchPh.D.]

- Jess
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