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Class registration: College’s necessary evil

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April 18, 2016

10:53 PM

One of the most memorable moments of my time at the College of William and Mary was registration for spring classes during my freshman year. We were all sitting in the lounge, as freshman hallmates do, huddled over our laptops, on the edge of our seats as the clock ticked down. There was a rush of tension in the air as the clock struck 7:00, and fingers were flying over the keyboards. Then, of course, we clicked submit and Banner crashed. Nothing. No one got any classes apart from the lucky few — there are always a lucky few. I’m sure the Caf workers weren’t even surprised to see a bunch of freshman girls show up for breakfast with open laptops and frustrated expressions.

The sad thing is, this is a reality for many students at the College, especially in their early years. Course registration is about as cutthroat as it gets for us here at the College, unless you include getting a Swem table during finals. All that planning and finding the perfect schedule, only to end up in a variety of courses you never knew existed. It can be very aggravating, especially at seven in the morning when you haven’t even had time to have your cup o’ Joe.

From the second I logged into Banner the summer before freshman year I knew the site needed a facelift. It’s very slow and dated and could use some technological improvements. For instance, the site should be capable of not crashing when 2,000 students log in and register for classes at the same time.

All that planning and finding the perfect schedule, only to end up in a variety of courses you never knew existed. It can be very aggravating, especially at seven in the morning when you haven’t even had time to have your cup o’ joe.

My sister, a prospective student for the College, went on a tour a few weeks ago, and I figured it would be interesting to go along for the ride. Of all the things said during the tour, one thing struck me more than others. A parent in the group asked our guide if it was easy for students, especially freshmen, to get the courses they want here. The tour guide responded with an emphatic “Yes!” This shocked me. I don’t remember anyone my freshman year having a completely smooth registration. There are always bumps in the road.

This being said, I also have never had a schedule that stays the same as it was during that first registration morning. Add/Drop exists for a reason. So take a deep breath, close your eyes, and tell yourself, “It is going to be okay.” Because it always is. Even if you don’t get the exact courses you wanted the first time around — and you likely won’t — registration doesn’t end until Add/Drop does. If you stay on top of Banner, it’s very likely you’ll get most of the courses you want, and maybe try something you’d never take otherwise; maybe registration failure is another tactic for enforcing the liberal arts education we’re all here for. Emailing professors is typically very helpful as well. No one is going to get to the end of senior year without the classes they need to graduate if they plan accordingly, and adjust in response to the unforeseeable. The really hard part is switching majors in the middle of your senior year.

Email Lindsey Carter at [email protected]

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  • Lindsey Carter