Editorial: The woes of CWRU’s class registration

CWRU’s class availability and registration system need to change

Editorial Board

It is class registration season—the time where we load our Student Information System (SIS) shopping cart with classes for next semester, hoping that we might be lucky enough to snag that spot in a class with only three seats left. 

While the order of who gets to register for classes at Case Western Reserve University is fair, the selection and availability of classes are inconvenient. Yes, fourth- and third-year students should have the ability to make their schedules as favorable as possible, since classes become increasingly demanding as students progress into higher levels. However, first- and second-year students shouldn’t have the rut of classes, struggling to take courses that fit their interests. Additionally, with the pressure of registering for the right courses, underclassmen are forced to put off taking general requirements, inducing more anxiety in their later years.

One of the most noticeably flawed general requirement structures is physical education. Undergraduate students are required to take two full semesters of physical education classes. We are advised to fulfill this requirement starting in our first semester and to “complete it early in undergraduate years.” However, this expectation is nearly impossible. First of all, it is unlikely that students entering as a first-year know this requirement exists, let alone its specifics. Furthermore, because first-year students register last—in the summer before the fall semester—all physical education classes are usually closed by the time they can enroll in one. Next, when entering CWRU as a second-year, you are still at the bottom of the course registration food chain. Unless you can get an upperclassman to “reserve” a class for you, you likely will not be able to take a physical education class your second year. This leaves a good number of students taking their physical education requirements in their third year, and fourth-year students often account for a majority of those classes. It’s become an endless cycle of upperclassmen taking all of these physical education classes and underclassmen not being able to get into them. We shouldn’t have to worry about this particular graduating requirement our senior year.

Another unnecessarily prolonged requirement is SAGES. CWRU states that “before the end of a student’s second year, students must complete two University Seminars.” Yet most undergraduates aren’t able to follow the timeline of this requirement. Not only do University Seminars often have to go to upper-level students, but the number of classes available is also severely limited—particularly the Natural World SAGES, which most students have to end up waiting on. 

Even though both general requirements are challenging to fulfill seamlessly, class registration for non-STEM majors is particularly rough. Most non-STEM classes, especially in the humanities, are relatively small compared to the STEM ones. There is a limited number of seats available, and the introductory classes only have either one section or a couple of sections with far fewer seats available than, for instance, a CHEM 105: Principles of Chemistry I class. Furthermore, several core and elective social science and humanities class times overlap frequently, making it difficult to take multiple necessary courses within the same semester. 

Waking up at 6:55 in the morning is already an ordeal for college students by itself, but waking up with the stress of registering for classes is even more miserable. Moreover, CWRU’s SIS is incredibly outdated and is not meant to handle around 1,500 students registering for classes at once. There needs to be better class availability for all students, but there also has to be a more efficient way to register for courses. The university definitely has the resources and funds to improve the class registration system, but it hasn’t taken enough action to prioritize its students.