Editorial: A call for a more equitable course registration process

As enrollment time creeps closer, you can feel tensions rise. Every Jumbo knows that 15-minute scramble right before you hit the “Enroll” button, and that horrible feeling when the class you desperately needed to take is full — and so is the wait list. Senior year is a time to fill all those major and distribution requirements you have avoided for the past three years, but allowing first-year School of Engineering students to register before seniors in the School of Arts and Sciences makes that difficult. Tweaking registration times and allotting a certain number of seats in specific classes to engineers would allow for a fairer process.

It is well-known that Engineering students have far more specific requirements to earn a bachelor’s degree than their counterparts in Arts and Sciences. In addition to completing foundation and concentration courses specific to their major, engineers must complete 1011 introductory courses, one semester of college writing, 18 semester-hour units of humanities, arts and social science courses and one or two “free electives.” Looking at the hefty workload, it is understandable why engineers are prioritized in the course selection process; they simply have more requirements they need to check off their list before graduation. However, the university needs to address the issue of giving all engineers the chance to register before all Arts and Sciences students. Courses that are highly sought after by both Engineering and Arts and Sciences students often get filled up quickly by engineers, including courses in college writing, math, chemistry, physics and computer science.

Arts and Sciences seniors deserve to be prioritized higher than they currently are in the course registration process, since they must ensure they complete the necessary requirements for a timely graduation. Arts and Sciences seniors should be provided with the opportunity to register before first-year engineers; first-year engineering students will not have much to lose from this arrangement, either, as they will be prioritized in later years and thereby be able to complete all of their requirements, as well.

In addition, professors can also consider reserving an allotted number of seats in popular classes specifically for Arts and Sciences students. With this solution, Engineering students would still get to register for the courses they want to take, but the problem of the majority of seats in classes going to engineers would be eliminated; Arts and Sciences students who wish to take the same classes would still have a chance to register when their enrollment time rolls around.

To make registration a less stressful situation for all of the students involved, the current process of selecting courses should be changed. By providing Arts and Sciences seniors with a chance to register earlier than first-year engineers, worries about completing graduation requirements will be alleviated. By reserving seats in popular classes for a certain number of Arts and Sciences students, those taking courses that overlap with Engineering requirements will no longer be disadvantaged.