Throwback Thursday: Registration woes a fixture of student experience

Antonia Gales

The University prides itself on traditions, from the “Hook ‘Em Horns” sign to the lighting of the Tower, but the most long-standing tradition at UT is probably registration frustration.

Before UT transitioned to online registration, students were required to register in person, which meant standing in line with the rest of the student body in a process often lasting hours.

On Jan. 13, 1972, The Daily Texan reported a crowd of 1,000 students standing in two lines snaking through the Main Building. They were waiting — sometimes as long as two hours, according to the article — to be issued registration packets. 

Though today students begin registration simply by opening a new browser window, prior to online registration, students had to deal with their own boredom before the registration even began. Some read to pass the time, while others took up crafts. One student claimed to have knitted a sweater and three shawls while in line. 

For some, the waiting was too much to bear. 

“I don’t need this hassle,” one student said in the article. “I can think of better things to do with my time. I’m going home.” 

She reportedly dropped out, according to the article. 

Once the students received their packets, they were shuffled to Gregory Gym to cope with more hectic lines to register for their desired courses. 

“I’m a senior and can’t get the courses I need,” one fourth-year student said. ”I can only imagine the troubles freshmen are having.”

One freshman echoed the fourth-year’s sentiments: “I need freshman English, history and biology, but somehow I ended up with seven hours of linguistics,” he said.

The Texan reported that, in a cruel twist of fate, an unidentified female student dropped her course cards while traversing Gregory Gym. The cards spilled onto the floor and were quickly demolished by students rushing to register. After the girl managed to recover her destroyed course cards, “registration officials told her to go to the end of the line.” 

Course waitlists, which are now a taken-for-granted part of registration, were first introduced to the process in 2003 and provided relief for many students. In an article published Nov. 14, 2003, The Texan reported that, despite initial skepticism by some students, most found waitlists a helpful addition.

In the article, the Texan reported that more than 10,000 students took advantage of the new waitlists. While students were not guaranteed spots in a class by joining a waitlist, the addition helped 1,622 students get in to classes. 

While technology may have helped alleviate some of the most burdensome aspects of the process, student frustrations with registration endure regardless of the decade. 

“I have an advising bar, which didn’t show up until Friday,” undeclared sophomore Hannah Wimberley said. “They told me I couldn’t see an adviser until Wednesday. I was supposed to register on Monday.”