The expectation of registration
Hamline Plan requirements, course loads and schedule conflicts, oh my!
April 9, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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We’ve almost reached that time of year with which we all have a love-hate relationship: registration. One of the many components that go into tying up the end of the year, registration is equally as exciting as it is stressful. It starts with an email from your advisor, reminding you of advising week. Suddenly, you realize that you can no longer procrastinate, and it becomes imperative to think ahead further in your schedule than what you’re going to eat for dinner. Hurriedly, you run a degree evaluation. To your displeasure, you discover that not only do you need to fit in a class that’s only offered annually, but you totally forgot about that additional speaking intensive requirement. Also, it turns out you’re short a diversity requirement too. Oh, and you should probably fit in a class for your minor. There is a philosophy class that sounds rather interesting, but who has time to take a class for fun? Not any student that I’ve spoken with.
Although somewhat annoying, the registration process at Hamline is not horrible. It can be easy to complain about not getting a certain class, but the way in which it is set up is pretty intuitive: seniors register first, and first-years go last. That being said, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any problems.
Most of the time, the trouble starts when you are looking at a specific class, or sometimes an area of study. For example, for those of us who are not science-based majors, getting into a natural science course can be rather difficult. It is wonderful that Hamline offers science courses for non-majors (such as Biology of Human Function and Physics for Poets), but the rapid rate at which these courses fill up makes it hard for some to get these natural science requirements out of the way before their junior year. There are exceptions to this, of course. But I can speak from experience that going online to register and seeing that the lecture is not yet full, but all the labs that could work in my schedule are, is nothing short of frustrating.
Is there a way to fix this phenomenon? The short answer is most likely no. There are always going to be flaws in the process. Hamline prides itself on small class sizes, so broadening the course capacity is an idea that faculty tend to shy away from. This is completely understandable. I love the small classes that fill my schedule, but at the same time I am anxious because I still have Hamline Plan requirements looming over my head that are proving difficult to fulfill. The idea of having to pay for a J-term is a painful one, but at this point it could be my, and many others, only solution for getting these courses over with. That is extremely unfair, especially for those who cannot afford to take a J-term. With that in mind, it makes registration all the more daunting of a topic.
Along the same lines is the idea of courses shifting around without the student’s control. An example of this is something currently happening in the psychology department. In a nutshell, fewer courses are being offered within this major starting in the fall. This creates a toxic environment because the psychology major is a rather popular one here at Hamline. By cutting courses, Hamline is making an already competitive major that much harder to fulfill courses for. More than likely, there will be multiple solutions made available to these students, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t cause an anxious air for those affected. Not to mention, it could completely mess up a schedule that they have already formulated for themselves.
When it comes to registration, there needs to be a little give and take. Contacting professors ahead of time as well as strategizing is a method that can help ease worried minds. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always ensure that things will go smoothly once the big day comes around. Students scrambling to get Hamline Plan courses in, as well as more students choosing to come to Hamline (the class of 2020 is 550 students—one of the largest in history) makes registration challenging. It’s a frustratingly thrilling time, but what is most important is to take note of problems that arise.
As years go on and dynamics continue to shift, Hamline may just need to make some changes. For now, a great resource to use on campus is Academic Advising. They can go through the registration process step by step and answer your questions about courses and requirements. Learn more at: https://www.hamline.edu/offices/advising/