End class registration pains

Illustration by Kyle Saxton.

Noura Bayoumi
Guest Columnist

Whenever I hear the words, ‘class registration,’ I cringe. Signing up for classes is one of the worst experiences I have to go through at VCU because it’s an over-complicated and inefficient process.

One of the major problems with signing up for classes at VCU is plain and simple: There aren’t enough classes to satisfy our student population of more than 30,000 students. In the most basic observation of our course listings, there are not enough sections for any particular topic.

For example, if you’re an English major and you want to take the course “Shakespeare In Context” next semester. You click on “View Sections,” which should really say “View Section” because there is only one. Chances are, the section will already be filled because most of the time, those ‘one-section’ classes are the most popular ones among students.

If so many students are interested in a particular class topic, VCU should open up more sections.

Another problem with VCU class registration is more on the technical side — eServices takes forever to load. What is supposed to be an easy process for students turns into a battle as students wake up early to rush onto eServices. Students shouldn’t have to feel like they are fighting to get the classes they need in order to graduate.

In order for a student to graduate in four years, there are specific classes they must take every semester. If students can’t sign up for a class they need to satisfy the 15 credits-a-semester plan, they fall behind. The reason they can’t sign up for classes shouldn’t be because of VCU’s inefficient system. The idea sounds ridiculous.

About a year ago, a petition was made on change.org by Andrew Batz to create a new class registration system. Attached to the petition is a letter to the Dean of the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences stating, among other things, that “the current eServices system is archaic and creates problems completing required classes on time, especially among underclassmen.”

The petition also offers some ways that the registration system can improve including making the system user friendly and allowing students to “flag” a class ahead of time. By doing this, the classes with the most interest can have more seats and a wider range of hours for the classes.

Some of the students who have signed the petition also commented on the page addressing some concerns about their class registration process. One student actually had to change her major from nursing to something else because she was unable to complete all of her prerequisite classes because of the registration system. Students shouldn’t have to change their major because they were unable to sign up for the classes they need.

In the latest update on the petition, the dean of the University College responded to the petition in a personal email stating that it was brought to the attention of the “Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management.”

We need a more efficient class registration system. The way to sign up for classes shouldn’t be favorable to the lucky random few that are able to load the page and sign up for the classes that their majors require.

VCU eServices needs an upgrade to an innovative system that is more organized. More class sections need to be created with a wider range of hours. Students should be able to have a say when they sign up for their classes.

Class registration should be based on what the students want and need so that they can graduate. It shouldn’t be impeded by the inefficiencies of VCU.

Although VCU is attempting to graduate students within a four-year time persiod and are trying to limit the number of adjunct positions, it’s becoming clear that these two goals are antithetical and a better solution is need.

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