8/20/19 Registration, Kate Jacobson

Kate Jacobson, a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts and registrar office staff member, works to file the paperwork for adding and dropping classes.

Each year when time tickets begin to open, some students are waitlisted as classes fill up, and advisers seem unable to help students get into necessary classes.

Hannah, a second semester senior in the College of Health and Human Sciences, who didn’t want her last name included for fear of retribution, needed one more class for her minor, that she initially couldn’t get into.

Hannah is set to graduate in December. She is getting human resources and Spanish minors but since a class she needed for human resources was at the same time as one she needed for her Spanish minor, she nearly had to choose between the two.

She tried various other methods to get into the class, but the online version of the class was full, and it wasn’t being offered at other campuses.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily the foreign language department here,” she said. “I think it’s just an issue of being overpopulated.”

Her advisers acknowledged to her some people had issues getting into classes. Her Spanish adviser told her that many courses are overbooked, and the department doesn’t have the resources to add additional students.

“Even my academic adviser said that she’s seen this before,” Hannah said, “and it’s really heartbreaking to her to see that her students aren’t able to get into the classes that they want or need.”

One thing that particularly bothered Hannah was when another student was added to the class despite the fact that it was full.

Her adviser told her the School of Languages and Cultures executive committee decided not to add students over the cap unless they were a foreign language major.

“I don’t care that they’re a foreign language major,” Hannah said. “Obviously they weren’t a senior because they would have gotten in when my registration opened, but yet they got in afterwards.”

“He was like, ‘I don’t think there’s ever been a semester where you haven’t cried trying to get into classes,’” she said.

When she first enrolled at Purdue, she thought she’d have time to get into the classes she needed.

“Your advisers always say that, right? ‘You have more time, you’re a freshman, sophomore, whatever,’” she said. “Then you get up to your senior year, and you have the one or two classes left, and you still can’t get into them.”

Megan, an alumna who didn’t want her last name included for fear it would affect her graduate school applications, almost had to take a class at Ivy Tech to graduate.

Megan, who studied psychology and human resource management, needed a math class her senior year, but didn’t know what class she needed to take. The classes filled up by the time she registered.

She said no one told her she had to take the class until her last semester because she switched advisers. Megan also struggled getting into a Spanish class she needed to graduate.

“Here I am, as a senior, busting my a-- trying to get my stuff done,” Megan said over the phone, “and here Purdue is, telling me that I can’t get in my classes.”

Her adviser told her to reach out to the professors teaching the class. Megan said the professors sent her back to her adviser.

“It was just a never-ending circle,” she said. “No one would give me answers.”

Though Megan eventually got into the class, she said she got in two weeks after it started, when she was looking at enrolling in Ivy Tech. She was able to enroll in the class at Purdue after someone else dropped it.

“That’s very unsettling as a senior,” she said. “I have to wait for someone to realize that they either don’t want to take this class or it’s too hard for them and they drop it.”

Matthew Pattermann, who graduated in May and studied physics and computer science, had a similar problem getting into classes his junior year.

“I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to graduate in four years,” he said. “I actually sat outside of the CS department head’s office for I think two days in a row before they offered to slot me in for a meeting.”

The department head helped Pattermann officially get his CS major. Though his application to be a CS major was submitted, there was a miscommunication in the administration office as to what his majors were.

Had Patterman not talked to the head, he said he wouldn’t have graduated on time and his application to be a CS major wouldn’t have gone through.

“I won’t be able to get my degrees unless I’m a double major and get priority in these classes,” he said. “Even then it’s an absolute race.”

Matthew had credits from high school, and said he started his entire CS coursework in his junior year.

“Being a CS minor is basically impossible,” he said. “If you log in at the wrong time or a couple minutes late, your minor is delayed by a semester.”

Pattermann, like Megan, was wait-listed for classes. He said he was wait-listed three or four times, and never got into the class.

Lesa Beals, the senior associate registrar for the Office of the Registrar, said on the phone she hasn’t noticed an increase in the amount of students having trouble getting into necessary course.

Beals said there are numerous reasons someone may not be able to get into a course, such as not scheduling during their time ticket. If someone has a class they need to get into, she suggested going to their academic adviser or the department head.

“Advisers would try to pull strings and see if they could get you into a class if they were really nice, but even that didn’t work a lot of the time,” Patterman, who had three advisers in his first three semesters, said.

Megan said she had similar problems with her adviser not being able to get her into classes.

“She literally told me that I can’t do anything, and that it’s out of her hands. I either have to go to the department head or just wait for permission with the professor themselves. I was told the best I could do was be wait-listed, and that was the end of it.”

Being wait-listed is something Hannah was also used to, since she has had to do it nearly every semester.

“It’s just something that I don’t feel like I should have to count on every single semester. I thought as I progressed, being a senior, it’d be easier to get into my classes, because it’s less people that you have to fight against, but unfortunately, it seems like it’s become more difficult.”

The foreign language department ultimately let Hannah know she got into the final course she needed for her Spanish minor on Monday afternoon.

Megan transferred from Ball State University to Purdue for her junior and senior years, and she said that Ball State’s system was better.

“My adviser fought to get me into a class. Here it was like the complete opposite,” she said. “It was a complete 180 from Ball State when it comes to the registration process.”

Hannah also said she’s heard that other colleges’ registration processes are less problematic.

“I’ve talked to other students who have gone to Indiana University, and they said that they’ve never even had an issue getting into a class that they wanted to get into, let alone needed to get into,” she said.

Ephraim Fischbach, a professor of physics and astronomy, said over the phone there were more students that wanted to take one of his classes than could be accommodated.

“I feel bad about that, but there’s just so much — the population increases, and you can’t fit in the room, and some other things are going on. ... That’s the fact.”

The problem has been even more of an issue this year than in previous years, Fischbach said. He also said that adding more students to a course isn’t dependent on just the space in the room.

“Even if you wanted to add (a) block of more students to my course,” he said, “teaching it — the TAs can’t be expected to have a much bigger workload so the whole system is rather tightly constrained at the present time.”

While Megan said the issue of getting into classes varies by department, “some kids are getting f----- over.”

“It honestly sucks,” she said. “It really does. I’m paying all this money, and I’m supposed to get this degree, and the best you can tell me is, ‘Hey, you’re wait-listed until someone else drops.’ That’s ridiculous.”

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