Approximately 75 students were caught using “an automated enrollment script” to automatically enroll for classes in past semesters and the spring 2023 semester, Cory Nealon, director of news content for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said in an email to The Spectrum.
The finding prompted the Office of the Registrar to email all students in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) on Nov. 1, notifying them that the office had identified SEAS graduate students who “developed and utilized an automated enrollment script during the Fall 2022 enrollment period.”
The email went on to state the office will now be monitoring for enrollment scripts and urged students to stop using the scripts immediately or they may face consequences.
“Students were hoping that the automated script would allow them to enroll in courses that are at capacity as soon as a seat becomes available if another student dropped out,” Nealon said.
After the email was sent out, Nealon said the number of students who were using it decreased significantly.
“If students continue to utilize an enrollment script, a hold will be placed on their account and they will be referred to Student Conduct for potential disciplinary action,” Nealon said.
Officials were made aware of the automated script after an unrelated request was submitted by a student earlier this semester. The Office of the Registrar noticed an “unusually high volume of enrollment activity,” indicating the use of an automated script.
The university did not previously actively monitor enrollment activity for unusual volume, Nealon said. But following the finding, the university created a program that monitors enrollment activity and alerts the Office of the Registrar of individual students with an unusually high volume of enrollment activity.
“This will allow us to identify individuals who may be using a script and take appropriate action,” Nealon said. “These processes are put in place to provide fair course enrollment opportunities for all students.”
Limited course availability is an issue many SEAS students say they have experienced. SEAS students typically have a semester-by-semester course plan which lays out the required coursework to graduate in four years. This means certain classes are only offered in the fall or spring semesters based on when students are supposed to take them.
“If I fail [a class] this time around, I can’t take it until next fall, because they don’t offer it for both semesters,” Victoria Reyes, a junior civil engineering major, said. “If you mess up once you have to wait [an] entire year, so that’ll mess up your graduation date.”
Students have also encountered situations where there are not enough seats in a class they need to enroll in, which has delayed them from completing the requirements for their degree on time.
“I’ve had friends that haven’t been able to get into actual engineering classes and have to stay an extra year,” Ella Sampson, a senior biomedical engineering major, said.
To assist with class capacity issues, students are encouraged to utilize the waitlisting features when enrolling for classes. This will “automatically enroll” the next student on the list when a previous student drops.
Waitlists are also used by the university to identify if an additional section of a course needs to be added.
The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences aims to ensure that its system is “consistently available for student enrollment by protecting it from crashes caused by the extremely high activity volumes generated by scripted enrollment activity,” Nealon said.
Victoria Hill is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kiana Hodge is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at email@example.com