According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, divorce is the second most stressful event in a person’s life. Marriage is number seven. Retirement clocks in at number ten. One event remains unaccounted for, though, and should be added towards the top of the list— and that’s “registering for classes.”
For many college students, the early morning hours of registration are a nightmarish, disheveled mess. Most students would be able to agree that on a campus of almost 40,000, Texas State could do better in how registration is conducted. Getting into every class you need (or want) right off the bat is the ultimate dream scenario. It just isn’t realistic.
For starters, classes tend to fill up almost immediately, especially if there’s a high volume of people waiting to get in. The “classification” system in place is reasonable (sorry freshmen, seniors should get first pick), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t flawed.
It isn’t always reflective of a student’s actual academic standing. It can be frustrating to be only a few hours short of the next classification (for instance, junior to senior). But if you don’t make the cut, you have to wait until your allotted time ticket to register, putting thousands of students ahead of you.
Additionally, specific holds might be placed on your account or certain prerequisites might be required that you’ll have to resolve by the time the next semester rolls around but in the moment of registration, it might cause you to not be let in to a class.
What makes this worse is if it’s a class that has only a few sections, a limited number of seats or no waitlisting available. This entire process causes inevitable headaches for advisors and departments who will then have to deal with the grievances.
For students in the 21st century attending a public university, there seems like there should be a smoother, more accurate registration process: one that helps students feel in control of their schedule, allows them to take classes they’re actually interested in, and stay confident that they’ll be able to graduate within their desired timeframe.
But is this another ultimate dream scenario? Does this just come with the territory of being part of a massive school? Do other campuses across the nation or world experience this kind of registration stress?
There are steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the best experience possible. One of the most important things is to keep in contact with your advisors, professors and department heads. Don’t be afraid to talk to them through email, phone or visiting their office hours. They’re here to help you, and a simple conversation might mean they get you on a waitlist or let you into a class.
If possible, try and find as many alternatives to your classes. For example, if you need to take some general electives to make university hours, make a list of a bunch of classes you’d be able to take, that way you have options lined up and ready to go.
If you need a class that isn’t being offered during the following semester, reach out to someone in the department and find out if you’ll be able to take it during another semester. Planning out your semesters more accurately will keep you from wasting time by not taking classes that you should be. And remember: your degree audit is your friend.
A great resource to have handy is the HB2504 website. You can look up every class offered on campus, professors’ background and experience (their “vita”), plus their course syllabus and student perceptions (which is why doing those in-class and online evaluations at the end of the semester are so important). This will help you get a better idea of what the class actually entails, and you can get a different perspective other than Rate My Professors.
If registration has been your latest all-consuming stressor, take a deep breath. You’ll get in the classes you need. That diploma will be yours soon. Just keep refreshing that registration tab, and you can go about knowing that all you have to stress over now is marriage, divorce and retirement…among others.
Featured image screenshotted by Brittany Anderson via Texas State University Self Service.
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