Avolio: The SAGES domino effect

I woke up early in the morning, around 6:45 a.m., earlier than I would even for classes. I climbed out of bed while rubbing my eyes, being sure not to step on the visiting prospective student asleep on my floor. It’s game time.

I scavenged for my computer amongst the scattered papers from last night’s cram session. While blinded by the screen, I pulled up the page for the Student Information System (SIS), brought up the webpage to register for classes, and hovered my cursor over the button. At 6:46 a.m., before the 7 a.m. deadline, I waited for the click race to begin.

Scheduling for classes is something every student stresses over. As a first-year student, the stresses include fitting graduation requirements and getting into a course before it fills up. All students fear the dreaded message “class full.”

Unfortunately many current first-years faced that dreaded message before it was officially time to schedule. For first- and second-year students trying to register for their first or last University Seminars course, many of the courses met capacity before registration opened. While there are always seats left open in some classes, it does not benefit a student to take a course they will have to put time and effort into that they are not interested in.

While it may see that students who need to take their final SAGES course are unreasonably upset, keep in mind that these courses are supposedly required to be finished by the end of a student’s sophomore year. By those standards, it would not make sense that they are already full for the fall semester.

The reality of the situation is that many current second-year students are not completing their SAGES requirements within the time frame they are supposed to. As a result, first-year students are not able to take their first University Seminar course and fall behind in their requirements. This is the start of the SAGES domino effect.

The domino effect is not completely the fault of the students. Many of them experienced this same problem, but it needs to stop. The SAGES department needs to put a program in place to make sure these issues do not happen.

Upperclassmen should be able to register for their SAGES courses first in order to satisfy graduation requirements. This aspect of the registration process should remain the same. However, when it comes time for first-years to register, the SAGES Department should either increase class sizes that are already full, or at least allow a waitlist to form. Through the use of this waitlist the department can then assess whether or not to add seats to the courses. With this method, the current first-years would still have to register after the sophomores, which would not cause any alterations to the current registration schedule.

However, by adding three or four more seats to every SAGES class more students would be able to take the courses they need in order to satisfy graduation requirements.This way, the domino effect would be mitigated, and students would still be able to take SAGES courses that interest them.

While this option would be harder for the professors regarding timely grading and establishing personal connections with every student, that is the nature of the beast when you have a growing university. Likewise, adding in extra sections of the SAGEs courses already offered is not an option for many professors. Many SAGES professors teach other courses in conjunction with this one. As many feel they are already overburdened, adding in a few extra seats to their course will not take nearly the amount of time that an entire extra course would.
While registering for classes is not easy, satisfying a requirement such as SAGES that many students already dread taking should not be nearly as hard as it is. There are ways to solve the lack of space in these courses that the university needs to look into, especially with the growth our campus has been witnessing with the last few academic classes.