Originally published Oct. 23, 2013

Co-written with editorial board

As seen in the front page article, Grand Valley State University held meetings this week to solicit professors’ opinions and keep them up to speed about current retention problems, which surprisingly start as early as orientation week. As accurately deduced, registration is a huge frustration among potential students and surely contributes to their decision to leave.

While the professors contributed insightful solutions to the registration problem, we at the Lanthorn thought the administration might find it useful to hear solutions from students who recently survived orientation.

Sure, we’re not exactly the demographic you need to hear from; after all, we’re still here. We chose to stay at GVSU after orientation, but our struggles were comparably discouraging.

First, we must affirm that many of the propositions and concerns raised about registration were entirely accurate.

When prospective freshmen attend GVSU’s summer orientation, they’re given a packet of information listing requirements for their specific major and GVSU’s general education program. The fresh students—who are transitioning from a structured high school schedule to a more varying college schedule—often see the completion of specific classes to be of great urgency, especially when departments lay out a suggested (or, as many perceive, imperative) timeline.

To prevent those frustrations, we have a few suggestions:

First, take away some of the prerequisites, because in some cases, their necessity is questionable. For students who were really looking forward to graduating in three years and needed to knock out a very stringent chain of interdependent prerequisites, the inability to register for just one class could force them to graduate a semester later. Prospective students who see their four-year plan decimated before their college careers even start will certainly be discouraged to continue with GVSU.

Second, don’t require discussions for every science class. They’re not always helpful, and they’re often the one piece of the puzzle that won’t fit into the schedule. Along those same lines, allow more labs to be taken during separate semesters, rather than concurrently with the lecture.

Third, don’t “cap” classes below the fire limit. Many students sit on myBanner all summer waiting for a seat to open, and it’s always aggravating to find that the “full” class occupies 80 percent of the room.

Finally, if you want to think like a student, use http://www.ratemyprofessor.com as a guide. Some students manipulate their entire schedule to avoid or secure a certain professor based on recommendations on this website—even if the classes they end up with are at terrible times. Armed with this information, perhaps one solution to consider is giving less desirable professors better times, while the better professors get the 8 a.m. slots. Then, students face a more enticing decision, and not everyone’s fighting for the best professor at the best time of day only to end up with the worst professor at the crack of dawn.

These are just a few of the ways to improve our registration experience.

 

Original publication: http://www.lanthorn.com/article/2013/10/a-decent-proposal

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