The class registration process at UMBC is often hampered by quickly filled classes and waitlisted students. Photo by CollegeDegrees360 via Flickr.
The existential dread that hits students during registration season is a feeling shared across campus. From being late in scheduling a meeting with an adviser to not having enough credits to register for easy gym classes, the success of next semester rests solely in the hands of the new schedule.
However, one of the worst things that can happen when scheduling is being waitlisted. When it comes to general or physical education classes this is not as much of an issue. But for important, major pathway classes needed in order to graduate on time, it can extend college by a semester or more.
This problem is shared by many at UMBC who may have to extend their stay at school, which increases the cost of education with each passing semester. UMBC encourages all students to formulate their four year plan in order to graduate on time. This can be made impossible when discrepancies exist in smaller majors and registration.
Seniors may be delayed by a semester or two if they are unable to register for a class required for their major. This is especially problematic if that specific class is only offered once a year, which is a fairly normal for the less populated fields at UMBC.
Studies have shown that college students now take, on average, between five to six years to get their bachelors degree depending on their chosen institution. This is in stark contrast to previous generations who were easily able to graduate without the extra semesters in between.
A UMBC student, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed their concern with their graduation dates. “Last semester I was on track to graduate based on the 4 year plan given to all engineering students,” they said, continuing, “however, when I tried to register for classes I found myself [on] the wait-list for 2 classes in my major that are required for graduation.”
This is an issue of lack of professors for certain majors and the way the registration schedule is organized. People with a higher amount of credits register first. This system works for gym classes. When it comes to major-specific classes on a strict time deadline, there should be alternative routes to ensure everyone can graduate on time.
One solution could be taking a student’s year into consideration when class schedules are assigned. When someone is an upperclassman or wants to maintain a four year track then they should be given precedent over other students who want to take a major specific class.
The anonymous student concurred: “if there is a way to account for how far a student is in his or her major based on current semester and add that to the criteria for selecting registration times [then that should be done].”
More popular degrees at UMBC, such as computer science, most likely do not have these issues. However, the smaller majors need to be taken into special consideration when there is a lack of professors and the registration schedule does not work in favor of a four year college experience.