Non-majors find difficulty in registering

By Jessica Schuh

Jason Koch, junior in communications, wasn’t able to register for the political science class he wanted to take this semester because it is restricted to political science majors right now. Koch ran into the same problem last semester, he said.

Most restrictions placed on classes – which include major restrictions, prerequisite requirements and certain class standings – are made at the department level, said Ann Mester, assistant dean of LAS.

Some classes are reserved for students in that major because the classes are required for graduation and there are only a limited number of seats, she said. But any remaining seats will be opened to all students after those in that major have registered.

“What we hope is by putting restrictions in place, the people who need classes for their major will get them,” Mester said.

Kimberly Kendall, director of undergraduate programs for the department of sociology, said they do try to serve the majors first but will open up all classes with major restrictions to other students on Dec. 1 on a first-come, first-serve basis.

But large classes like Sociology 100 are open to all majors and still have seats left, she said. While the department would like to attract more students to sociology, Kendall said they need to make sure students in the major are able to get the classes they need first.

Prerequisites are designed to make sure students have the knowledge they need to take certain classes, Mester said. The sociology department decides prerequisite requirements when a class is proposed, Kendall said.

“Often, the restrictions are there as a guide,” she said.

Seats in certain class sections are sometimes also reserved for students with special circumstances, such as athletes who cannot take classes during practice.

While there have always been restrictions on some classes, LAS has had to enforce the restrictions more vigilantly in the last few years because of increased demand and increased student enrollment.

But students who are unable to register for a class necessary for graduation usually have some options.

“With all of the rules, there usually is an exception that can be made,” Mester said.

Mester advised juniors and seniors who cannot get a class they need to see their major advisor first to see what their options are. Freshmen and sophomores or students in another department can go to the department first, and they can advise them where to go from there.

Kendall helps students and can tell them what classes will probably have open seats after Dec. 1. She can also help them find other classes to take instead, she said.

“I can give them lots of strategies,” Kendall said.

If students are still struggling after Dec. 1, she will sit down and help them work something out, she said.

Alice Poehls, the registrar for the University of Illinois, encouraged students who run into classes that are full to keep checking online to see if seats open up.

When students try to add a class, the system should say how many seats it has and how many have been taken, she said. Students often change their schedules over Christmas break, so some classes might open up then, she said. Because classes will continue to fill as time goes by, students who have begun registration should sign up for the classes they want as soon as possible.

If students encounter any problems using the registration system, they can call 333-6565 to get answers to general registration questions, she said. But students haven’t had many problems using the new system this semester.

“We’ve been very pleased with student response to the new system,” she said.

While Koch hopes the political science class he wants will have seats left for non-majors, he understands the need for the restrictions.

“I know how upset I would be if one of the journalism classes I needed to take was full, just because some students (in another major) wanted to take it,” he said.