Students face predicaments with class registration as spring semester begins

Students reimagine their schedules facing typical issues and last-minute professor leaves


Samuel Damon

The Office of the Registrar can be found on the first floor of Northrup Hall.

On Nov. 7, 2022, students began to register for their spring semester classes. It was commonplace to see students carefully crafting their schedules, utilizing the “search for sections” feature in TigerPAWS and scouring the courses of study bulletin to discover the perfect balance of pathways, major requirements and class times. Despite best efforts, limited class space, faculty availability and unexpected cancellations caused students to change their plans during the add/drop period.

Students are given a registration period based on how many credit hours they have. Naturally, upperclassmen register first, and underclassmen register afterward. Sarah Iverson, the university registrar, views the registration process as one journey.

“The overall system is focused on helping students get the classes they need to graduate on time,” Iverson wrote in an email.

Rose Garrett, a first-year geoscience major, struggled to get into classes pertaining to her major. “I had the very last registration time and I got maybe two of the classes I wanted to register for. I didn’t get any classes that were major-specific,” Garrett said.

Gregory Hazleton, a professor in the English department and program director for environmental studies, has observed student frustration about getting into classes at the time they prefer.

“Some courses may be difficult to get into, but there are always options, even if that’s not a class that the student wants to take at that time,” Hazleton said. “Major and pathways requirements, as well as class popularity, means you have a lot of people from different areas on campus that want to take certain classes, and with limited space and faculty available, the spots in a class are limited.”

Sarah Davis, a senior environmental studies major, expressed struggles with registration times as an underclassman.

“I was always in one of the later registration groups, so it was always hard for me to get into classes that I needed. … It was a matter of being creative with my credits for classes that I needed to get into,” Davis said.

There are also unexpected circumstances that can occur during registration. Davis went through the initial registration period and figured her schedule for the spring was set.

“Being a senior in a small major and minor, I had a lot of classes and not a lot of competition. It was harder to get into the lower-division classes that I’m taking just to get hours,” Davis said.

One of Davis’s professors in the religion department had to take an unexpected leave of absence, and because those classes were specialized, no one else could fill that gap in time. Thus, the professor’s classes were canceled.

“The religion department was very accommodating in helping me get into an upper-division religion class. If a department isn’t accommodating, students can get left out if they don’t know where to get help,” Davis said.

Registration is a process that appears to be changing every year, but with the addition of career-specific advisers, students don’t have to find the answers to their problems on their own.

“There will always be some frustration with registration because not every class will be available every semester, so I encourage students to think creatively about the classes they take,” Hazleton said.