Registration: Does it Need to be So Hard?


Fordham student Catrina L. hangs her head in frustration in a computer lab at Lincoln Center for the Spring semester. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ZANA NAJJAR/ THE OBSERVER)


Now that the often-dreaded time of the semester known as “registration” has come and gone, it is time to sit down and reflect on its shortcomings, and how it can improve for next time. Registration is frequently compared to the Hunger Games–featuring many students sitting at their computers for up to an hour anxiously waiting for their allotted time to register for courses and competing to get into the courses they want. Registration is always hard and always fills students with anxiety–a fact that many of us have, unfortunately, come to accept. As for this year? It was an absolute horror for most students, particularly upperclassmen. So what happened?

As the time for registration came upon the seniors and juniors of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), many saw their choices magically being taken away from them. These courses were either closed out or put on reserve. There were seniors, who are approaching their last semester, who were unable to register for a class they wanted or needed. Seniors!

As for the juniors, when it came time for them to register, most found that they either got none of their first choices, only a few, or had to go through a long process involving the school’s administration in order to get into their top choices. This meant that if you were a commuter you had to go in and see the dean at eight or nine o’clock in the morning. I myself am a junior and was only able to get two of my choices on my own. The other three I had either had to search for a replacement or my dean had to register for me due to a restriction placed on my account. Given that I am going to be a second semester junior, registration should not have been this challenging. Many of my fellow juniors echoed the same sentiment. So how do we fix this issue?

First, one thing many noticed when registering was that certain classes said ‘reserve closed,’ which usually applied to classes such as EP4. This meant that if you were not a senior, you could not register for the class, even if you did take your EP3. The other issue was ‘college restriction,’ which means that you cannot take the class if you are not in the Continuing Studies program or a Rose Hill student. This restriction is common knowledge and many know to avoid classes that they cannot take at the other campus or in the other program. However, these still put limitations on students when registering.

The second issue is a lack of classes. Take for example the EP4 classes. In Spring 2014, there was one EP4 classes offered for all of the subjects at FCLC. In Spring 2015, there were 15 EP4s offered. However, for Spring 2016, there are only nine EP4 classes offered for FCLC students and most only have one section available. The Interdisciplinary Capstone Core classes were lacking as well. In Spring 2014, there were 10 ICC classes open to FCLC students. In Spring 2015, there were 15 ICCs offered. In Spring 2016, there are only eight ICC classes available for FCLC students. Both of these classes are a core requirement that must be filled so students can graduate. The population usually taking these classes consists mainly of upperclassmen. If they are unable to access these classes, this delays their graduation, which is particularly vexing to those like myself who aim on finishing early.

So, the question remains: Can anything be done to make registration easier? The answer is yes, and there are some suggestions that could make registration easier, particularly for the upperclassmen.

First, certain class restrictions should be lifted. For example, if a student has fulfilled their EP3 requirement, then he or she should be able to take the EP4 classes. They should not have to wait until they’re a senior to do so. There are currently EP4 classes such as ‘Minds, Machines, and Society’ and ‘Theater, Creativity, and Values’ that still have open seats and could be easily be filled by juniors if the restriction was lifted. The restriction with the Continuing Studies program should be lifted in cases like the “Law & Psychology” class where the PCS and FCLC sections are the exact same class. This would make registration so much easier as well as allow more of a chance for students to obtain the classes they desire.

Secondly, we need to add more sections for the classes. Most of the classes mentioned above only have one section,which is supposed to accommodate the whole senior and/or junior classes– something that should not occur with the amount of money we pay to Fordham University. There needs to be room in the budget. If more sections were offered for classes, it would open more seats for students to register, enabling them to fulfill their requirements.

Registration is a hassle–everyone knows this. However, once students hit the level of a junior or a senior, there is an expectation that classes should be easier to register for and certainly not as much of an issue as it has been in the past. This certainly did not happen this time around. If the administration takes into account the suggestions that have been made, then it can provide a smoother registration time next semester. It would also dramatically decrease the amount of emails that they receive either crying for help or criticizing the system in place. It would also cut down on the amount of students lining up outside the doors of their deans and academic advisors with specific grievances.