A solution in pre-registration

After last year's registration nightmare, it appears as though the Office of the University Registrar has gotten its act together. Students reported a smooth registration process, due to the many changes made by administrators to the system. However, they should not be content with this semester alone to simply rest on their laurels. While they have been receptive to student and administrative concerns, the Office of the University Registrar should dedicate significant resources to researching a registration system that addresses more major problems with ISIS that can't be fixed without a major overhaul.

The administration has made several improvements to address the problems of last semester. The number of students who register at once was drastically reduced, and they staggered the intervals at which students registered from a half an hour to 10 minutes. Additionally, registration hours were changed so as to interfere less with students' class schedules. Certainly, just the ease with which students have been registering this semester is a testament to the improvements made.

But while the University may be able to solve some of the minor problems through changing the registration process, more long-term changes need to be made. The idea that makes the most sense would be to have a pre-registration process, where students could indicate what classes they wish to take, as well as possible alternative classes. Using this information coupled with the priority status of students, the Office of the University Registrar could set schedules for students.

This would eliminate many problems of the current system. Students would not have to rush to get into the classes they want -- the pre-registration could be done any number of ways that is not time-sensitive. Also, administrators and faculty could get much more accurate information about the popularity of classes, information that could be used in judging interests of students, the sizes of rooms needed and popular class times.

More importantly, waiting lists could be set up for classes. Under the current system, the only way this can be properly done is if a professor restricts a class to instructor permission after it fills up on ISIS. This only works now if the professor actually takes the initiative to do this, which most will not. Now, a student can have a friend with a higher priority registration hold a class for him or her, and then drop it when the student is finally able to register.

While this system might benefits the friends of Echols Scholars, it is ultimately unfair. Especially now, when economics and government classes are at their breaking points with students who need to fill certain requirements, it is important to maintain absolute fairness in the registration process. While some faculty members have taken it on themselves to prevent this, students would be much better off a waiting list was inherent in the registration system.

All in all, the Office of the University Registrar is to be commended for doing a yeoman's job fixing the problems with the registration process. However, now is the time to explore broader and more sophisticated changes to the ISIS system, and the Registrar's office would do well to invest time and resources developing a pre-registration system.

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