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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    No resources to fix class availability

    Several departments at this university are selective of whom they let into their classes.

    They don’t intentionally want to shut out lowerclassmen just for being at the bottom of the barrel during class registration, but they end up doing so because they don’t always have the resources to offer everyone a required class.

    Despite our well-known sports programs and versatile university activities, this is a university primarily and academics should always be the first priority. Rated one of the top 50 public universities in the country by US News and World Report, it’s upsetting and discouraging that it’s virtually impossible for students to get all of the classes they need every semester. Students often race to the computer whenever the schedule of classes for the following semester shows up on the UA Web site, but the mock schedules they create for themselves rarely become a reality.

    As annoying as it is to wake up for class registration at 6:55 a.m. to a slow Internet connection and growing frustration, it is even worse to be denied a class. Though it may not be the end of the world, missing out on one or more classes throws off an entire semester.

    The college advisers may tell you that you can always take the class you couldn’t get into the following semester, but for students taking major courses, the class is a pre-requisite. This delays a student’s access to an upper division class for a year, so their plans to graduate a semester early or go abroad may be disrupted.

    The worst part about this problem is that the students don’t have any control over it. It’s not as if they were set back because they failed a few courses or became a part-time student, but because the university couldn’t come up with the resources to accommodate them as promised at university admittance.

    Once a class is full, there isn’t much to do other than find a replacement or bother the professor enough that they’ll concede into admitting us. There are many general education classes, so while it is disappointing to only get into a poorly rated Individuals and Societies class, the requirement will still be met.

    Getting denied major courses, however, especially later on in college, can be very problematic and often extend a student’s stay in college. Each department should estimate the number of people who will need to take the required major and minor courses each semester. This is a difficult guessing game that inevitably leaves a few students stranded. Currently, the French department only offers one section of French 320 next semester despite the fact that there are two sections of 302, a pre-requisite for that class. As a result, only 25 out of the 50 students in 302 were able to get in the next class because the department didn’t think to create two necessary sections. The department argues that students are bound to drop their section, but everyone in the class is a French major or minor, so they are unlikely to leave if they need the course. A lot of people aren’t going to drop, so at least 20 people are going to have to change their academic schedule for a year just because their department is too apathetic to meet their needs.

    Many departments make this mistake, and doing so does more than just frustrate students. Most of us don’t have the luxury of messing around in college for more than four years just because a department cannot properly accommodate us. Students with a strict budget may be forced to drop the minor or major and instead take on another that can actually get them their classes when they need them. If enough students in a department do this, the demand for that major may decrease and the staff’s jobs will be at stake.

    Tuition money isn’t always applied to issues of class availability, arguably the most important place to distribute university fees. Many students are under the impression that tuition raises will bring in a qualified staff, expand class availability and offer more scholarship funding. For the 2008-2009 school-year, the Arizona Board of Regents’ is raising out-of-state tuition by $2,350 and in-state tuition by $450. Classes will still be full, professors will still be frustrated by the parade of desperate students begging for their classes and students will still have to rearrange their semesters after being rejected from their core classes. Classes do not seem to reap the benefits of the tuition increases here. Paying extra every year would be worth it if students could experience real results for once.

    Without receiving the proper classes on time, students will be forced to slow down their education at no fault of their own. Each department may not have as much control as it would like over who it lets into its classes, but something needs to be done so students are no longer shortchanged and stuck at the UA another semester, paying extra money for time they have lost.

    Laura Donovan is a creative writing sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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