Rong Hua Wang
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the February 1 flipbook.
Registering for classes at UT is notoriously difficult. Students spend days carefully constructing schedules and backup options, only to wake up the day of registration and find that most of their chosen classes are unavailable. For students attempting to register for required classes specific to their major, the process can be especially strenuous.
UT must increase class availability for major specific classes and offer these courses both fall and spring semester. Many classes close before students can register, leading to long waitlists and stress during the beginning of the semester.
Some classes are only available for certain semesters, putting students at a disadvantage if the class fills up or if they plan to be gone for a semester. One example of such classes are COM 301E and 302E, which all students in the Moody College of Communication are required to take. Both courses are only offered in the fall and must be taken sequentially.
Students who have highly specific plans for their major may also find themselves taking too many difficult classes in one semester, and not doing as well as they may have otherwise.
Junior mathematics major Samira Ravilisetty has struggled with registering for classes in the past. “I’ve had to push my classes … I’m doubling up on math classes or doubling up on (computer science) classes so I can graduate on time,” Ravilisetty said.
Because students must register for 12 hours to be considered full-time students, a common solution to the registration problem is registering for filler classes if nothing else is available.
“There’s like one or two semesters where I didn’t get the class for my major or minor, so I had to take other classes to fill my schedule and it just felt like I was wasting my time.” Ravilisetty said.
Students cannot afford to waste their time at UT, and the University should take steps to ensure this does not occur. The University must add more sections to major specific classes to minimize waitlists and the amount of time students must push classes back. Additionally, UT should work towards enlarging class sizes and making sure that required classes are offered both semesters instead of exclusively in the spring or the fall.
According to university spokesperson Kathleen Harrison, the registrar’s office uses enrollment data from previous years to help with their decisions on class sizes and sections.
“The colleges, schools and departments then provide the Registrar’s office with what courses they want to offer, how many sections and who will be teaching which classes. And finally, the Registrar will assign the classroom space for the requested sections,” Harrison said via email.
Even though UT uses enrollment numbers from previous semesters to calculate class sizes and the number of sections, registration continues to pose problems. Enrollment is not the best way to determine demand, especially since students have been struggling to enroll in the right classes in previous years. Because advisors cannot do anything about class size or availability, for many students, class schedules are determined by luck and timing.
“I usually just email my advisor, but they can’t do much better. I either have to wait a semester or join a waitlist … there’s some hope I’ll get some luck during the add/drop period.” Ravilisetty said.
UT students deserve to be able to take the classes they need at the times that are convenient for them. The University must increase class availability to students by expanding the sizes, number of sections and requiring classes to be available both semesters. Students should be able to easily take the classes that they are paying for.
Abbe is a communications studies and government sophomore from Fort Worth, Texas.