Freshman registration is flawed; we need reform

This year, the Office of the Registrar tried a new procedure for registering the incoming freshmen. For all students attending the first three student orientation sessions, the Registrar provided premade class schedules and allowed them to choose any Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences course. The Registrar emailed everyone attending student orientation sessions four and five, myself included, with a time slot about a week before orientation to register through Student Information Services. Both of these methods are flawed, and didn’t make getting ready or adjusting to the college experience any less stressful or difficult. 

The first flaw in the registration process is that the pre-made schedules seem randomly assigned with no input. I have multiple friends with six hours of chemistry in a row, and others who crawl out of bed for multiple 8 am classes when they are in no way morning people. The first registration method also limited the number of possible HASS classes that we could select from. Many of my friends wanted to take a certain HASS class, but their pre-made schedule didn’t have the space. Some only had two or three options for their HASS class due to conflicts. AP and other transfer credits added another layer of confusion, as classes had to be added to, and removed from, this pre-made schedule, and people with over a semester of credit basically had to rebuild their schedules from scratch. These procedures reminded my friends of high school registration, as it took jumping through multiple hoops to change your schedule.

Unlike the “high school” style of their first three student orientations, the last two orientations’ registrations were like the Wild West. The Registrar was completely hands-off, and its email only provided a basic outline of what a first year student should take, along with a one-sentence description of each HASS class. The only reason that I was not completely lost was due to my network of upperclassmen who were extremely helpful and provided advice on scheduling and what would be a manageable schedule, and even directed me to the catalog for a recommended path. My registration day was a mess; some introduction classes were full before registration opened, and then after my registration time, more slots mysteriously appeared, preventing me from registering for certain classes. I had to call the Registrar and the School of Advising Engineering Hub multiple times to fix my schedule. On a positive note, the engineering advisors were extremely helpful and resolved most issues, but the process was tedious. 

There are many improvements that the Registrar should make for the Class of 2023. Remove the pre-made schedule and push back class registration until after student orientation. During orientation, there is a major-specific meeting, and I propose going over at least a two-year outline of the major and recommended tips for registration during that meeting. Then, the next day, the registration opens at different times based on incoming credit, but stays open until the end of the day, preventing people from oversleeping and missing their registration. Having people register themselves would allow for personalization and limit the confusion with transfer credit. While the registration process did work, it could have been a lot better.