Editorial: Current course registration system does not promote academic success

Tufts students continue to trudge through midterm season. The days are getting colder and darker, and we may not even realize what’s quickly approaching next week: the advising period for spring course registration. Likely the last thing we are thinking about amidst this hectic time is: “What classes should I take next semester?”

The advising period is set to start on Oct. 29 with undergraduate course registration beginning two weeks later on Nov. 14. Assuming that you are able to get an appointment with an advisor on the first day of the advising period, you only have about two weeks to fully plan out your next $35,000 semester.

Although it is possible to view what classes were offered during previous semesters on SIS, the specific course offerings change year to year. Organizing a productive and intentional course list takes time, and all the nuances in course offerings make this planning difficult. We must take into consideration when classes are offered, the professors teaching them, whether or not they fit into our schedules and if they satisfy the hefty distribution requirements that Tufts imposes. Majors can require upwards of 12 courses, meaning that double majoring, adding a minor or planning a study abroad is as difficult as ever. Tufts should consider this reality for students who have to diligently organize their four years to attain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in their respective field.

When students, especially first-years, are deciding what classes to take for the fall semester, it can be difficult to navigate the course registration process. For example, a student may decide to wait to take a class until second semester, only to realize that course is not offered in the spring. If there were a more proactive system in place to allow students to plan further in advance, this problem would be solved. Currently, there is no clear system in place that outlines the general patterns of when particular classes are offered. Having a note of when classes are generally offered (i.e. fall, spring and summer) on SIS will promote better planning. Students can either be relieved when they realize that their waitlisted class is offered the next semester or go to an advisor if there is not clear indication of when to take said class.

Perhaps Tufts should consider opening course offerings for the entire academic year in the summer — when students have the time to peruse the interminable catalog of classes. Students should not have to guess and check when it comes to planning, especially first-years who are already nervous about transitioning into college. Any student who has gone through the class selection process knows how stressful registration can be with class carts overflowing and little red dots appearing on labs and recitations. A better and more organized course registration process is necessary to ensure the success of students.