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Monday, June 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Registering for the Rest of Us

John Hugar

If only I had tried a little harder in high school, then I'd be able to take the classes I wanted.

That was the thought that ran through my head this week as I went through another round of class registration. Normally, I get excited about registering for classes. I get to fantasize about all the wonderful things I'll get to learn and all the cool new people I will meet.

This time, however, all I got was a serious dose of reality.

It took me much longer than usual to register for classes because a lot of the ones I was interested in were already taken. Presumably, the people in these classes were the Honors College kids who get to register before I do.

The computer said to me, "Sorry John, someone else wants to take that class, and they didn't get a 52 on their Physics Regents exam."

Okay, it didn't actually say that, but it might as well have. The implication was clear: these people are smarter, better people than me, so they get to decide what classes to take first, and as a result, working toward a diploma is much easier for them.

The people who aren't in the Honors College get the short end of the stick, as they are forced to take what classes are available rather than the ones they want (and in many cases need).

Admittedly, this is fair in a lot of ways. After all, it makes perfect sense to reward the best and brightest students with a chance to register first. I just think that the school takes things a little too far.

I have no problem with allowing Honors College students who are in the same grade as I am or higher to pick first. That makes perfect sense, but what about freshmen? How is it logical to allow first-year students to register before third and forth-year students?

Quite simply, it isn't.

The fact is, juniors and seniors need to take certain classes a lot more than freshmen do. Freshmen have several years to work on their diplomas, while students further along don't have quite as much time on their hands.

They need to take their 300 and 400 level classes now. Not allowing them to do so because a freshman that put up big numbers in high school gets first priority just doesn't make any sense. Give the classes to the people who need them.

It's entirely possible to reward Honors College students for their hard work, while still giving juniors and seniors a better shot at taking the classes they need. Let Honors College seniors register first, then let everyone else in the senior class register. Then it would be Honors juniors and regular juniors, and so on.

This system would work much better because it would allow the Honors College to maintain its prestige, while making it easier for the less academically impressive students to graduate when they want to. It would be a win-win situation.

In the meantime, I was still able to come up with a class schedule that I think works pretty well. I'm still taking some classes that I need and that I'm looking forward to.

Still, as I stared at the registration screen, I couldn't help feeling that the people in charge of class registration didn't really care about when I graduated or not. That was a bitter pill to swallow.

E-mail: john.hugar@ubspectrum.com


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