As students, we have a lot going on pretty much 24/7.
Still, there are a few times each semester that really stress us out – midterms, finals and registration madness.
We all know the registration routine. The upcoming semester”s schedule gets posted online, we look over it, compare it to Degree Audit, look through the catalog, ask our friends” opinions, then wait by the computer until 7 p.m. when we register, hoping to get the classes we want.
Lately, I”ve noticed another regular routine. Students show up to class during the first week of school, get the syllabus and hear a professor”s introductory lecture, only to find it is far from their expectations and end up dropping the course.
During registration, we have access to a small description of a course, the number of credits we get if we pass the course and usually an idea of the professor”s likeability.
It isn”t until the first week of the semester that we are able to see how often a class will have projects, exams, assignments or participation points. We can”t tell how many absences are allowed, how the professor grades the course or what kind of workload we can expect on a weekly basis. This is a flaw in the system that is wreaking havoc on our student body.
Sure, students could meet with the professor who”s teaching the course they are considering, but registration takes place at a stressful point of the semester. Big projects are due and we”re starting to prepare for our finals. I”d be surprised if many students have time to meet with more than one instructor during this crunch time.
A syllabus is complicated to compose. Often plans, textbooks and scheduling needs to be changed within days of the beginning of a semester. There are many reasons why being required to make a tentative syllabus available in advance could be considered an inconvenience, but the benefits outnumber those costs.
If a student could see what will be expected of them prior to registering for a course, they would be more confident and informed when preparing for the upcoming semester. Many of us have jobs, families, friends, clubs and organizations we”re a part of, and of course we need time to relax and rejuvenate.
In return, there will be less turnover between classes within the first two weeks of school. Perhaps professors can”t include every lesson plan through an entire semester, but students should be allowed to see how often they will have to focus 100 percent on a course, how much time they must take out of their week and if some of the required materials seem interesting.
I just registered for my third semester at UI, and I”m already tired of getting excited for a course, only to see the syllabus and realize it is far from what I expected.
Students should have a tentative syllabus available as a resource to refer to as they decide which classes to register for. We pay a lot of money to better ourselves and our future.
We have enough surprises, stressors and inconveniences to deal with without this mess of a registration system. We need to have a better, more in-depth overview of courses available. We deserve that much, and it would save much more energy and stress than what the requirement would create for professors.