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ISSUE 118 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 11/19/2004

Registration overhaul

By Executive Editors
Executive Editor

Friday, November 19, 2004

Students clutch cream-colored cards, full of scribbles and cross-outs. Some sneak peeks at their watches amidst constant glances toward the TV monitors. Others attempt conversation, while some stare off into space, wondering when the wait will be over. Suddenly, a loud voice bellows, "6:35!" and the crowd shuffles forward.

This bi-annual scene on the third floor of Buntrock Commons is all too familiar. Registration is a strain on every student's life; we must wait in insanely long lines to contend for our academic futures, and with every passing year, we feel the process itself continues to be increasingly stressful and ridiculously arbitrary.

The injustice of registering for classes based on the designation of the first letter of one's last name is maddening. Instead, registering for courses should be based on the number of academic credits a student possesses. This system would reward students who enter St. Olaf with credits, while preserving a certain amount of seniority, and students would get recognition for the time and effort they put into their studies. We were, afterall, accepted to college based on our high school credits and not our last names.

Having to vie with department chairs to prove why we're qualified to get into certain classes makes the process even more frustrating. At the same time, the fact that others get in because of their registration time is unnerving. We took demanding tests and wrote extensive essays to be accepted at St. Olaf. We deserve to be here and take these classes. That most students walk away from these conversations with only the promise of a place on a wait list is ridiculous.

As names on wait lists add up, it becomes clear that something needs to be done about course offerings. Why does it have to be that only seniors can take writing courses in the English department? School administrators must realize that certain classes are more popular than others, and should, therefore, offer more of those classes. This spring, for instance, there are two sections of Media Studies 160, a vast improvement over the former single offering. While we understand it is impossible to placate every student, we think our institution should pay more attention to our academic interests as students.

The registration process never seems to improve. While we maintain that online registration is the only logical solution (and we acknowledge that the registrar's office has been working to make this a reality), we believe the process itself warrants improvements as well. Let's stop relying on arbitrary first letters of last names and elusive wait lists to make decisions and start focusing on students.

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