By Ashley Dressig
Special to NFP
College class registration.
One night every semester, college students all over the country prepare themselves, and their sanity, to take on registration. You don't just pick classes, you fight for them.
It's that time of the semester again. Your neighbor is your worst enemy; your psyche falls into an abyss of insanity; and you're willing to do anything it takes to get what you want.
It's class registration.
Whether you're signing up for a purely ornamental prerequisite or a high-strung general education course, students are dreading the sign-up process.
An entire night is summed up into a mere 60 seconds. If you don't pick and click "submit" fast enough, you're stuck with a terrible class or a terrible professor. No one can save you from your sealed academic fate.
"Registering is dreadful to everyone. It requires patience, and even luck to get it all correct on your first attempt," said Daemen College freshman Scott Miles.
It's All About Luck
Registering for classes either works out perfectly, or becomes one of the most dreaded experiences of the semester (just behind finals). It has to be done and, sadly, we all have to do it at the exact same time as our classmates, thus leading to an onset of mass chaos.
Registration is just complicated.
For those few lucky souls out there, the day of registration is just another day of the semester. Some students at Niagara County Community College said class registration has never stood out to them.
Conversely, Kayla LaForest a sophomore at Niagara University, got stuck with the short end of the stick.
"Last semester while I was registering for classes, WebAdvisor closed out unexpectedly and I had to log back in. I ended up getting locked out of one of the classes I wanted to take. I checked back every day until finally someone dropped it. I got lucky," she said.
It doesn't matter who you are or what you have. Registration is going to take its toll.
An honors student at Edinboro University, Shawn Murphy, said, "Even with an advantage (having an early registration time as an honors student), that doesn't make scheduling easy. I've spent at least four hours each semester just planning out my classes and possible time slots for the next semester. Even with an advantage, the planning is still time-consuming."
Registration might seem pretty easy from an outside view, but its not only picking classes and time slots. It's beating the system itself.
Some students at Rochester Institute of Technology are all too familiar with problems involved in registration. Just last semester, one had problems with the system not recognizing prerequisites. Another had a financial aid hold that wasn't brought to light until the night of registration and had to wait a few days to register. And, with huge class sizes at RIT, other students dread registering knowing it leads to wait-listing, and wait-listing leads to not getting into classes required for graduation.
What happens when worst come to worst? You end up wasting your time and money.
"Have I ever had a terrible class because of registration problems? Yes, I have. Had to take a professor I did not get along with and, as a result I ended up dropping the class," Alfred State sophomore Kayla Sheridan said.
Truth of the matter is, it's just how it goes. Every college student has to do it at one time or another. Whether it's you, a relative, or just someone you know, there is no other choice. Thousands of students have the same science requirement and, odds are, some are going to have to wait until next semester or suck it up and take a professor that may not even be their third choice.
Registration isn't just picking a class and crossing your finger it goes through. There are countless hours of planning; making lists of which courses you want to take versus those required, and having a separate list of back-up classes; there are holds, wait lists, prerequisites and system flaws.
Registration is the lottery of college. The game seems rigged from the start.
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