New ‘waiting list’ registration initiative introduced

Students will face a new system when registering for certain classes this month, as the Registrar has implemented a pilot program which seeks to simplify the wait list process for closed classes.

For the spring 2012 registration, the pilot will include about 20 courses, all of which include an electronic wait list option, which allows students to sign onto the wait list when a course is closed, according to Mary Ellen Farrell from University Registrar.

This will no longer allow for students to be signed in to those classes by the advisor, but rather they will be forced to wait until a spot opens up, at which point they will be notified electronically, Farrell said.

“Students can pursue sign-in options in any class other than the courses involved in the wait list pilot,” Farrell said. “As always, there cannot be a guarantee that students can get signed into any closed course.”

The registration process for spring 2012 is mostly the same, with the exception of the courses involved in the wait list pilot. However, if the pilot is successful it will be continued and extended to include additional courses, Farrell said.

The pilot includes mostly courses in the business school, but also involves two chemistry courses, a religion course, and an English course, according to Farrell.

“Courses in high demand will tend to close during pre-registration, and individual departments often have their own wait lists or alternate appeal processes,” Farrell said. “For the spring semester, we are determining if the system-delivered wait list process will serve us and our students well.”

Though the process is aimed at simplifying the registration process for students, some foresee it causing problems for them during future registration.

“I’ve looked at a lot of the classes I’ll need to graduate, and for a lot of them, they only offer one class,” said Scott Kim, a junior and sports management major. “That could mean if I’m not able to get signed into it like students have been in the past, it could present problems with me graduating on time.”

Other students believe that the new process will make registration more frustrating, because they will have no other option but to wait for a spot to open up.

“The registration process is already stressful to many students, including myself,” Tracey Caballaro, sophomore nursing major, said. “And I feel waiting lists might not help, and students will ignore it and go straight to their advisors to be signed in if they truly want the class.”

The process, which is entirely electronic, begins when a student attempts to register for a course which is closed.

The student will be prompted with a message stating that the course is closed, but the waitlist option is available, Farrell said.

The student may then choose to sign-up for the waitlist within the “Add or Drop Courses” component of the online registration system, and if a seat within the closed course opens up, that student will be notified via e-mail, according to Farrell.

If the first student on the waitlist does not register for the course within 72 hours, he or she will be removed from the waitlist and the next student on the list will be given the opportunity to register for the open spot, Farrell said.

“An electronic waiting list seems like it will leave no leeway and no human aspect where you can go speak to someone that could help you with your situation,” Kim said.

The Office of the Registrar will not know the outcome of the pilot process until January, at which point they will gauge its success by getting feedback from all parties involved, including students.

Ethan Arnowitz can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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