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Senior Shutout

Advance registration creating disarray in course planning

By Aviva Zapinsky

Contributing Writer

Certain small classes that should be taken in a specific year fill up before students can get in.

   For many students, there is a specific pattern in which classes are taken. Biology majors take BIOL 141 freshman year, BIOL 302 sophomore year, and so on. This follows the numbering of the classes. It also follows the path of advance registration.

At least, that is how it should be, but sophomores and juniors are finding it more difficult to get into the smaller classes that they should be taking due to the fact that seniors, and other students who can sign up earlier, are shutting out the classes. The smaller classes — for example, lab classes for science majors — fill up very rapidly. Therefore, students can’t get into the classes they need to, when they need to.

Alana Lescure, a senior biology major, says, “I think part of the problem is there aren’t enough classes all around; there are all these classes listed in the catalog that sound so interesting, but like two of them are offered each semester. … In my [developmental biology] course, it got to the point where the professor said ‘Do you need this to graduate? If not, you shouldn’t be here.’ And there were still people on the waitlist who needed it to graduate.”

This is a problem. These lab classes go along with the lecture, help in understanding the lecture, and are less useful when taken after the lecture. Because these sophomores and juniors can’t take them in the proper year, they must wait until senior year to take them, continuing the shut-out.

Clarence Pascual, another senior biology major, agrees, “There are mostly seniors in my biology 302 lab class.”

In response to that, Dr. Lasse Lindahl, a professor in the department of biological sciences, commented, “Phage-hunters, or 302 lab, is a class that should be taken in junior year at the latest. If it’s the case, — that it does get filled by seniors, and juniors and sophomores get shut out — then perhaps that is a sign that more sections of the class should be opened up.”

It isn’t only in science courses that this shutout is happening. In previous semesters, specific small English classes like ENGL 271, Fiction Creative Writing, have become full very early on in registration. However, at that point, the English department opened up more sections to accommodate the other students — underclassmen who could not sign up until later, and who wanted, or needed, to take the course.

UMBC should open up more sections of these smaller classes, of which the science labs are only one category, to accommodate the growing student body and its needs. UMBC is already doing this for some of its classes, but it needs to consider this for all the classes for which this shutout occurs.