Overcrowding causes some registration stress

Although the registration dates for second semester all have passed, many students are still scrambling to piece together their schedules. According to Registrar Kristine Dozier, particularly in the freshman class, students were forced onto the waitlists in an unprecedented number of courses. Some students have been waitlisted for so many courses that as of right now, they do not have full course loads for next semester.

Dozier said this situation will not last. She explained that the process is far from over and is confident that by Jan. 19 students will have their schedules filled out.

“One thing we always try to tell students, even when they come in for their very first registration, is [that] this could be temporary for you; you might change your major,” Dozier said. “Lots of things change. We have two months before the start of next semester to plan accordingly, get the courses a student needs and work with the departments and the colleges.”

Graphic by Josie Seach
Graphic by Josie Seach

Dozier attributes this stress in the registration process to the record-setting sizes of the past two freshman classes.

“We have had two record freshman classes come in,” Dozier said. “When you take into account the two record freshman classes and the new gen ed core that went in three years ago, we have a different distribution of courses; we have a higher demand for courses; and the initial planning for that demand with two very large classes needing all those courses was not thoroughly vetted before registration opened, especially for freshmen. That’s why freshmen were 15 minutes into registration and were waitlisted for all of their classes.”

Dozier expressed understanding about the frustration students are facing. She is making sure that the Registrar’s Office is doing all that it can to help get students’ schedules where they want them to be.

“I completely understand that stress, and we are very aware of it,” Dozier said. “I can say that we are very proactive in our office about identifying the needs of the really high waitlisted courses. We are identifying the needs of students who are below full-time status. We are very proactive. We reached out to the deans of the colleges where those high-demand courses were, and now it’s a process. If we do open up new sections, we first have to contact the waitlist students.”

Once a new section is opened up, waitlisted students will receive an email offering them a seat. Unlike a typical registration scenario,  students will have to notify the Registrar’s Office that they do want the open seat and wait to be manually added to the course. Once all of these students have responded, or the deadline has passed, the remaining seats will open up and be available to all students.

“You will be where you need to be at the start of second semester,” Dozier said.

She is confident that the Registrar’s Office will be able to resolve the current scheduling issues and wants students to know that they will not be left with incomplete schedules.

“We are constantly working and trying to figure that [scheduling issues] out for students,” Dozier said. “We aren’t going to leave them with that [incomplete schedules]. It’s not the end.…We would never let students be in that situation.”

Vice President for Student and Campus Affairs and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli believes that this is all part of being at a growing university.

“Academic Affairs and CASA [Core Academic Skills Assessment] are every semester trying to look at the course load compared to where students’ majors are,” Vitangeli said. “I think it’s something that the university is looking at with the growth in students, but also with the courses that are offered. I think that slowly but surely they are getting to a good equation for how students can get in.”

Although this situation is frustrating, Vitangeli does not think that this is an issue specific just to the University of Indianapolis.

“I think that every institution probably struggles a little bit with making sure there are enough seats for students that want classes. And the reality is we only have so many faculty, and they can only teach so many classes,” Vitangeli said. “You know the order has always been that upper classmen have priority getting into classes over freshmen [and] sophomores. I think it’s frustrating, but it’s also a fact of higher education. … We will have to hire new faculty. …  Every year, there are new faculty being added to areas where classes are overflowing.”

Some may think that this problem could be solved by making class sizes larger. However, this is not the case. Vitangeli said through the addition of faculty, class sizes have dropped from the once-boasted 1:15 ratio down to 1:11.

Vitangeli suggested that students meet with their advisors and put together their four-year plan, to make sure that they get all of their courses in before their scheduled graduation date.

“I think it’s the worst when you get to your senior year and you’re not able to get into something,” Vitangeli said. “Try to take as many classes toward your major [as you can], even if they are ones that may not exactly be in your plan [but] that get you to a place where you can get in all of your credits before you graduate. And really work with your advisor. Get those gen eds in early.”