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Students give their takes on how U. can improve course registration experience

Some students experience difficulty registering for courses that many students need to fulfill their major requirements. – Photo by Henry Wang

With the registration period for the Spring 2023 semester in full swing at Rutgers, multiple students have shared their experiences detailing their ability to fill their schedules with the requirements for their respective majors and minors.

Students who have more credits receive priority from the University to plan their classes first.

Jasmine Chan, an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy junior, said she experienced difficulty registering for a class for her major with special permission numbers (SPNs), which are distributed to students by moderators so they can access a class that may be at capacity. Students must apply to receive an SPN.

"I would click on to register for a class called Orgo Lab the minute of the registration time," she said. "However, it was such a popular class that it was already closed. I had to ask for an SPN. But (the moderators) almost did not give it to me until they realized I was transferring to (the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy)."

Chan also said even though the University offered more than 30 sections for a course she needed for her major, she still had trouble registering for it. She said Rutgers should adjust the scheduling of its courses that are required by a large number of students for their majors.

Val Pierre, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said that being a commuting student affects her experience registering for classes, as well. She said that the University should allow more leniency in how many credits students are required to take in order to be recognized as full-time students and graduate on time.

"I firmly believe that five classes are a bit too much for students like busy commuters and working students," she said. "It kind of isn't fair when it comes to that, but registering-wise, it's here and there, in the middle between fairness and unfairness."

Generally, it is recommended that full-time students take 15 credits per semester to graduate in four years. The maximum number of credits that students can take in any school ranges from 18 to 20 credits each semester.

Pierre said she is majoring in psychology and minoring in creative writing. She said that with these being popular fields of study, the classes fill to capacity very quickly, often before many students are even eligible to create their schedules.

She also said that in her major and minor, even when classes that she is interested in fill to capacity, there are typically other offerings each semester that she can take instead. Though, she said classes that are offered in the winter and summer sessions should also be offered in the fall and spring semesters to avoid this issue.

Fiona He, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, is majoring in economics and minoring in philosophy. She said that she has had a lot of flexibility in her registration process.

She said that being an economics major, she has only had to complete a few prerequisites that are required to be taken in a specific order, but the rest of her classes can be taken at any time throughout college and do not require as many prerequisites.

"I know for some STEM majors, it can be much more difficult because (STEM students) need to take classes in order, and everything is much more structured," she said. "So if a class is full, it may impede (their) progress."

She said that while she does not face these issues herself, she would like to see the University create a solution for students who struggle with course scheduling.

Hannah Finkelshteyn is a Mason Gross School of the Arts sophomore and is also in the Honors College. She said that Mason Gross and the Honors College do not collaborate enough to ensure that students meet both requirements. 

"Mason Gross does not offer honors courses," she said. "So I cannot fulfill both Honors College and Mason Gross requirements at once."

Finkelshteyn said she thinks that the University must offer more classes for Honors College students to be able to fulfill the requirements of being in the Honors College.

Finkelshteyn said she has experienced multiple required courses filling up to capacity before she has had the chance to register for them. She also said that due to the lagging of the registration website, she has not been able to register for certain classes even if she tried to before they closed.

"A lot of Mason Gross students and I have had trouble last semester with registering for a required art history course, but I believe (the University has) actually worked to expand the course (selections) since then," she said.

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