Opinion: Registration blues

Matt Vroom

Matt Vroom

By Angela Loiacono

Registering for classes at this University would be comparable to a circus if not for the absence of a big tent and parade of elephants. The seemingly simple process of claiming a seat in a class has transformed itself into a chaotic mess. I always can tell when registration time rolls around. Just by opening the door to my hallway, I can hear about 10 people yelling at their computer as they try to formulate a schedule that won’t interfere with happy hour. Over this past week, I’ve heard more people cursing at their computers than sanity should allow.

With thousands of classes to choose from, you would think everyone should be able to get into the classes they both want and need. But judging by my experience of registering this week and the stories I’ve heard from others, that’s not the case.

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Filled with false hope, you sit down at your computer and you think you’ve got it all figured out. You’ve got the course schedule marked on all the appropriate pages. You’ve got all your preferred classes and back-ups ready. Enterprise, the University’s online registration program, is cued up and ready to go. You’ve even gone as far as to make sure you’ve blocked out an hour for Saved by the Bell reruns and have allotted a decent amount of time to sleep in the morning. With high hopes, you log in, only to fall victim to the evils of online registration. If I had developed registration at this University, I would put a little devil on the first page so students know what they’re getting into.

The point is, registering shouldn’t be comparable to a fiery ring of hell. It should be painless. Sure, all the athletes and members of Marching Illini don’t have any problems, but the rest of the student body has enough of them to go around. As I registered for classes last year, I almost decided that dropping out of school might be a better option. I never knew so many restrictions could pop up on a screen all at once.

The whole system seems a little out of whack. Isn’t it ironic that as a freshman, you are the last to pick classes and usually are stuck with whatever you get? Yet, when you’re a sophomore, you still can’t get into the classes you want because they’re now restricted to freshmen? Here’s the kicker – have you ever had to call a particular department to find out why there is a restriction, only to find out that the coveted last seat gets snatched while you’re on hold? It just doesn’t make sense.

As a little advice to everyone, make sure you read the fine print on your course schedule. Keep those little notes under the course number in mind when you attempt to take one class that fulfills two general requirements and a major requirement all at once. It’s easy to overlook that it’s closed to everyone except for the students who live in Allen Hall. I wish someone had told me that by living in that residence hall I could conquer online registration. Why is it that you are kept out of the only class that you need just because of where you live?

In defense of our University, however, I do have one positive comment. The UI-Integrate system is definitely a step up from the U of I Direct and the ancient program it was set up in. There wasn’t anything worse than being kicked out of the program because you used the wrong keyboard command. But just because UI-Integrate is more modernized doesn’t take away from the fact that online registration still has caused more headaches than should be allowed.

Angela Loiacono is a sophomore in LAS. Her column usually runs Fridays. She can be reached at [email protected]