I remember myself putting together my schedule for spring quarter just the day before my registration time ticket opened up. I searched through the term master schedule for a suitable class until Science Fiction caught my eye. It was a 300 level English course, and being an English major who has a love for sci-fi, I figured it was worth a look so I clicked on it. Upon seeing that it focused on modern science fiction, I thought to myself, “that’s not very specific,” and in that moment, I realized that I actually knew next to nothing about the class I was registering for.
The process of registering for classes could desperately use some tweaking. Not only is the process itself poorly documented, but class descriptions are also often quite vague.
For those of us who only have midterms during week five or six, we like to try and relax a bit before we have to start the intense preparation process for finals week. However, the registration process begins at this time for most students, and while you don’t have to register as soon as your time ticket opens, you generally are not doing yourself a favor by waiting.
There should be an online guide about registering for classes. You currently have to actively ask someone, preferably your advisor, to explain to you how registering works and the best way to go about doing it. It would be amazing if there was some comprehensive guide on how to register for courses, but this is ultimately not the worst thing about the registration process because you can figure out how it all works after doing it for a few quarters.
The major issue that I have always had with registering for courses is the lack of information about the classes that I am registering for. The term master schedule gives all the basic information that we’ll need, but it doesn’t go in depth enough. The brief description that it gives of the course is good, but it doesn’t tell us what we’re really getting ourselves into.
Just knowing that the class is offered by the English department only tells you so much. And knowing what the focus of the class will be, like Composition and Rhetoric or British Literature, is also not enough. The finer details are important here. What is going to be expected of you in the course? Is it heavy on writing? Is there going to be an extreme amount of reading? These are questions that are sometimes answered in the course descriptions, but not always. One would assume that the answers to these questions would be obvious because it’s an English class, but I’ve taken English classes that have had very little reading and a lot of writing or vice versa. Safe assumptions can only be made for classes with certain subjects.
An easy fix for this problem would be for the professor to add the syllabus of the professor that is going to be teaching course with the other information. This may not be possible, but being able to see the syllabus before registering for a class would be helpful to students beyond measure.
If a student who is not good at writing essays is trying to decide between two courses and sees that for one of them, essays will make up 75 percent of the grade, the student can then better judge whether to take that course. This is better than registering for the essay-intensive course and finding out about it on the first day of class. The student will probably want to drop the class to take the other class that they’d been considering, but they could end up being out of luck because that other class is filled. Scenarios like these do happen, and it’d be nice to avoid them by being provided with more information about the specifics of a course before taking it.
Now, I can see people arguing that the student will never become proficient at writing essays because they’ll never take classes that require a lot of essays. However, to this I say that writing essays is a skill that can be learned outside of college, and that the student should be given this knowledge of the course so that they will know what they are getting into, rather than being caught off guard on the first day of class.
In the grand scheme of things, the registration process is one of the most important parts of going to college at Drexel because it’s where you decide what you will be subjecting yourself to for ten long weeks. Steps should be taken to make sure that students are as informed as possible before they register for a course. It may seem like a small thing, but it could make all the difference.