It’s that time of the semester where students decide which classes to take next semester only to find that a courses they need have already filled up. UMBC’s registration system has its flaws: for one, the credit system currently in place (the more credits a student has, the earlier that student can register) gives upperclassmen access to courses earlier.
While fair in theory, some younger students are frustrated by it. It’s a common scenario that a freshman or sophomore cannot register in a core class for their major because it is full of students who registered early. Despite the fact that they are following the academic pathways set by their department, upperclassmen or students with transfer credits have taken all the slots.
According to sophomore engineering major, Sam Riser, “The system is overall fair, but it has created some issues for my friends. Some people I know came in without AP credits, so even though they take the courses that they’re supposed to take as their advisor suggests, they end up falling behind because other students with more credits register for their [courses] first,” said Riser. “My one friend who is supposed to be taking Calc 3 this semester couldn’t take it because of his credit count.”
Kwame Robertson, a junior computer science major, recognizes the system’s flaws, but understands why this system is in place. “I think it’s a fair system,” said Robertson, “because it keeps you from being here for longer than you need to be.”
Robertson offered a solution, but it may not be feasible. “I think that overall the school needs a lot more money,” said Robertson. “More money means more teachers and more teachers means more sections.”
For most students, the system may actually be working. Freshman or sophomores with high credit counts are not the norm, so the priority system does usually work as intended, prioritizing people who need to graduate soon.
Said Robertson, “This is an anomaly, with some students having more credits that they’re supposed to, just because they’re very smart. That’s actually pretty common here at UMBC, so you might find it more often than usual, but I’m not sure if they take up more of the space than the actual upperclassmen in the class. I’m pretty sure the number isn’t big enough to where the system needs to be changed.”
When asked about potentially implementing a system wherein students registration is based upon the number of years/semesters they have attended, Robertson said, “I think that’s a pretty interesting idea.”
While the credit system may cause some disturbances for students trying to develop that perfect schedule, in many ways, it seems impossible to incorporate a better system, one that is both fair to upperclassmen and still allows freshmen and sophomores to take the classes that they wish to take. Many students may not feel too happy about this, but the credit system is a system that has worked successfully for a while now, and students shouldn’t expect this to change any time soon.