Registration Woes And Limited Seating

This is just a quick post because I’m frustrated with my school’s registration process. It uses the Banner system, which I guess is somewhat common to universities. It’s tiered so that people with X amount of credits start on different dates – graduating seniors get first pick of classes as an undergrad.

For graduate students, this makes a little less sense, especially when we don’t use track systems (there is one track in my degree program, everything else is¬†electives. Also, since we need 39 credits to graduate, it means we spend only about 2 years. That’s 4 semesters, unless we drag it out. The first semester we all pretty much take the same 3 courses, but when it’s time to register for the second one, we don’t officially have enough credits yet to register for a seat in a class head of anyone else.

And classes are small – The New School has a top ranking in this aspect. Which is cool, but if it means there are only 15 chairs in a class I want to take, because it is applicable and relevant to my studies, I can’t really afford to miss out just because I tried registering at 9:20 AM and not 9:00 on the day students with 0-8.99 credits were allowed to sign up.

Students come to a program for various reasons, especially one as diverse as the Media Studies MA. If you’re here for Media Management, you might not care about the mandatory lit review in one of our (few) required courses. I see it as an opportunity, I can’t waste that time by just doing the assignment so that it’s completed. I could use a lit review. Similarly, if you’re just taking a course for some extra credits, you’re effectively stealing the seat of someone who might find that class a lot more relevant than you do. None of us want to take forever to graduate, but all of us want to get what we came for.

With that in mind, this registration system seems ill-suited to putting students where they should be. Maybe we should have something like run off voting? That way, people have a better shot at getting where they want to be, and not just into any old empty seat.

UPDATE: I was told by a classmate a few days later that he experienced the same thing, but had talked to the professor who said they were going to add more seats. I sent an email off about it (had met with him previously, so had other things I needed to tell him) and found out they added 5 more seats that night. I noticed during the day the class didn’t fill up very quickly – it seems that if people don’t get in between 9-10, most assume they won’t get in at all. I would have normally emailed directly after that, but I didn’t – I’m not sure why, but it seems I wasn’t the only one.