This past week, USF students planned their class schedules for next semester as spring registration began on Nov. 12 and wrapped up this week. For many, registration week creates additional stress in an already busy time in the semester. Our staff reflected on the pitfalls of the registration process and how it could be improved to better accommodate students.
Selecting the correct classes to keep you on course to graduate on time creates inevitable pressure for students. However, registration poses the additional challenge of signing up for your requirements while other students are able to register before you according to their designated registration time. Students are assigned prioritized registration times according to grade level, and some groups, such as Honors College and student athletes are also assigned priority time slots.
With this system, underclassmen feel worried watching necessary courses fill up as the week goes on. In order to make sure we can advance in our graduation plans, we routinely have to come up with alternate schedules in case our ideal registration plan does not come to fruition. This sometimes becomes so frustrating that we do not go into registration with any particular plan so as to not be disappointed or concerned if they fall through.
It is equally nerve-wracking to hear our peers talk about how they finished the registration process when we have later time slots. We feel that much of registration is a waiting game as opposed to actually being able to get access to the classes you need to graduate.
Additionally, we struggle when registration times clash with our classes and jobs. When necessary, we email professors to let them know that we have to register for courses during their class, and we will have to be on our laptops. Most professors are accommodating of this, however, we are left to wonder how many other students do not have that support in classes where the use of electronics is not encouraged. Additionally, some registration times can clash with jobs, and depending on the industry, it is not always feasible to email your boss that you have to walk away from the floor when you are on the clock. Occasionally, even those with prioritized registration, such as nursing students, struggle to register for their desired classes as some of them are already booked or not offered in the semester they are entering.
With a time slot even earlier than upperclassmen, certain students such as athletes and Honors College students are able to register first. This prioritization can make us feel that registration times correlate to how valuable we are to the University or how valuable our field of study is. For example, logically student-athletes get priority because they need registration out of the way to focus on games and coordinate with professors on travel. However, we feel that the mentality of needing to stay focused and coordinate your schedule around some other job certainly applies to other students as well.
Many of us have attended the University for years and yet are still not entirely sure what the Honors College is. We feel that the school needs to improve its advertising and make clear what sets these students apart other than a name. Others are part of the Honors College, yet feel a similar confusion around what separates its students from the rest of the student body. For those of us in the school, we do not feel that the courses we have taken within it are necessarily more rigorous or special than normal classes, leaving us to wonder how these courses are evaluated to make them more “valuable” and worthy of letting students register first. That being said, we recognize that the Honors College is only a few years old, so it could be that they are using the incentive of priority registration to get people to join and that they are developing as they grow.
All this being said, we feel the registration system could be improved. Much like how USF does its commencement ceremonies by schools within the University, it could be possible for everyone in the same program to register at the same, or similar, times. This would do away with the burden of necessary classes filling up before we are even able to access the portal. Additionally, students could get priority registration based on how frequently a class is offered and if their course is needed as a prerequisite within their major or minor.
With the right adjustments, class registration can go from being one of the most stressful times of the year to a seamless transition that sets the pace for next semester.
Both the Honor’s College and the Office of the University Registrar did not immediately respond to the Foghorn’s request for comments.