From the Editor: Course selection: battle of the classes

Course selection is becoming more and more like The Hunger Games. As we wait for our day to select, the number of seats dwindles until we have to fight for the last ones.
Upperclassmen should be having an easier time when it comes to course selection. They’re at the top of the charts with credits and are under more pressure to pick the classes they need to graduate on time. However, regardless of academic standing or when a student picks, the desired classes aren’t always open or even offered. To a freshman, this isn’t that big a deal; the class can be taken in a different semester. However, for a junior or senior, this could make a student fall behind, potentially keeping him or her from graduating on time, or completing a second major or a minor.
As a junior myself, I feel I shouldn’t be having these problems. I faced the dilemma of having to restructure my schedule several times because of classes filling up so quickly. Instead of taking a class that I need for my major, I had to settle for taking a less important elective just to fill in my fifth class. I now have to worry about cramming in that required class during my senior year.
Students should be able to have more time to plan their schedules for the upcoming semester. It’s so frustrating to have to sit in front of your computer and remake a potential schedule over and over simply because the classes that you need are closed, or conflict with other classes that you absolutely must take. If the class rosters for each semester were released much earlier than they are now, students would have more time to plan ahead and see what works for them and what doesn’t. This way, they could develop backup plans and hopefully find something that would suit them — or point out the problem to an adviser or chairperson before anyone registers. Publish next year’s rosters this spring, and a lot of the burden will shift from administrators to students.
This would also end the “secrecy” about which semester some classes are offered. Certain classes are offered only in the fall and not the spring and vice versa. However, the students don’t usually know this information beforehand. If students knew what semesters each class was available, planning ahead would be even easier, and the surprise of not knowing the class wasn’t available would be avoided.
For the upcoming spring semester, 90 communication sections were offered. Even so, communication students have been struggling to get the classes they need. There should be more than one section available per semester for mandatory courses. If there are more sections, class sizes will still stay on the lower side. Fewer sections means more students in classes, and that’s not what Rider prides itselfon. Students come to Rider because of the small class sizes; more sections are needed to keep it that way. Classes and sections should be evenly spread out so everyone is able to get what they need and not have to worry about times clashing, or a class closing quickly because it is the only section offered.
The problems multiply for education majors and other students who are double majoring. Since education majors not only have to worry about their education classes but also classes for their second major, they’re constantly battling classes that are offered at times that don’t work with their education courses. Making a schedule under this circumstance is like putting together a puzzle; you have to keep trying different pieces until one of them eventually fits with all of the others.
According to a theater professor, there are success stories. A student needed a specific class to remain on track for graduation. After much discussion, the provost decided to add another section of that course for the spring semester for all of the students who needed it. However, the same professor did say that there are some fears that we will increasingly be short of classes that students need, and with fewer choices of classes and sections it’s going to be harder to accommodate these students.
Planning ahead is essential in college. We all want to make sure that we graduate in four years with all of the classes and credits that we need. However, Rider has been making it harder to do so. Complaints of not being able to get into a class or being surprised that a class wasn’t offered during a particular semester seem to be growing. Students and faculty need to work with one another to plan ahead for the whole school year, not just one semester.
Students are voicing their opinions and grievances about course selection; faculty and administration just need to listen.

The weekly editorial expresses the
majority opinion of The Rider News.
This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Danielle Gittleman.

Printed in the 10/30/13 edition.

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