New time tickets benefit freshmen, but at a price | The Triangle

New time tickets benefit freshmen, but at a price

Over the past couple weeks, Drexel’s University Registrar website has been updated with modifications to the order in which students are granted a time ticket to register for classes. The most notable change in the new ordering, which will take effect in less than two weeks when winter quarter registration begins, is that freshmen will register second, before the majority of returning students.

The purpose of this change, according to Vice Provost for Academic Affairs John DiNardo, is to encourage freshmen to take required classes in accordance with their plan of study to ensure that they graduate on time. Freshmen taking priority over students who have been at the University longer and have had to deal with a frustrating class registration system for several terms is a big deal.

Returning students are aware of the high-adrenaline process of registering for classes, which usually starts with looking at the master schedule while scoping out one’s week on, Microsoft Excel or the good old-fashioned way (with a ruler, pen and sheet of paper). Then there’s logging on to DrexelOne to add classes to your schedule, which is always a disappointing experience. Your wish list of courses gets decimated by scheduling conflicts, already-full sections (which you happen to need) or preferred teachers not teaching your desired class. And sometimes, the mad rush for students to register at the beginning of their time ticket even brings BannerWeb to a screeching halt.

With so many registration obstacles facing upperclass students, the last thing we need is to have to compete with freshmen to secure our rightful spot in electives and sometimes even required classes. And by “we,” we mean sophomores, pre-juniors, juniors and continuing seniors. Under the current time ticket schedule, final-quarter graduate students, performing arts scholarship recipients, ROTC and veteran students, graduating seniors, and Pennoni Honors College students all register first.

Letting freshmen register before these groups of students would have undermined the exceptionally hard work they have done to achieve their respective statuses, so we are glad the University is giving them the credit they deserve. However, that doesn’t make the new ordering any less unfair to all the other upperclassmen, who also work very hard.

The students who really get the short end of the stick here are sophomores, who will have to register for classes dead last. This is familiar to them because these students had the same time ticket when they were freshmen. Being forced to register after all other students for two straight years is a horrible incentive to stay at Drexel. If the motive for this new time ticket system was to encourage retention, it’s failing miserably in terms of first impressions.

We returning students have worked around the previously mentioned problems with registration and have shaped our plans of study based on what’s been available to us. Sometimes we’ve had to work around our suggested educational tracks, but we’ve made do. And we plan on graduating on time. So why is the registrar’s focus suddenly shifting to freshmen?

Presumably, additional sections will be added to courses with the highest demand, alleviating the pressure this new order will cause. We’ll have to see how effectively course sections are added and whether the additions will truly meet the demand.