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UMN students address class registration dilemma

Students speak out on challenges they face with spring class registration.
Image by Daye Stager
A third-year CSE student preparing to register for classes checks current enrollment in their preferred course section through the University of Minnesota’s Schedule Builder.

Many University of Minnesota students are facing challenges this fall while registering for spring classes.

Some problems students face include securing course slots, making appointments with academic advisors and using the University’s provided software such as MyU and Schedule Builder.

Sarah Campbell, the associate director of advising at the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), encourages students to view their Academic Progress Audit System (APAS) before registering for classes each semester.

The APAS report lists students’ degree requirements, summarizes their progress and explains what they will need to do to complete their undergraduate degree program, according to Campbell.

“Students can pull up their APAS as often as they want and take a look at what they still need, which is a great guide for registration,” Campbell said.

Some students are having issues meeting with advisors, such as Brian Alberg, a fourth-year data science student who said it was “pretty hard” to get guidance on registration after his first year.

“Academic advisors are really hard to get a hold of sometimes, especially in the middle of the semester,” Alberg said. “So students are kind of left to figure it out on their own when it comes to registration, which I’ve noticed in my four years here.”

When making appointments with advisors, Campbell suggested getting ahead of the rush of registration by making appointments with them farther in advance.

“For spring semester, a lot of students have their schedules firmed up by October, so you can have that conversation then if you want,” Campbell said.

Arya Lucht, a second-year ecology student, explained how hard it was to find the right time to meet with an advisor to address her needs.

“It’s really hard to balance my own class schedule and work schedule with my advisor’s schedule,” Lucht said. “They usually don’t have availability for one or two weeks from when I try to make my appointment, and by that time, I already have figured it out on my own.”

Making appointments during registration is especially difficult and oftentimes there is nothing available until the registration period is over, Lucht added.

According to Campbell, many colleges offer drop-in advising, both virtually and in-person, to help students with questions they may have.

“I think drop-in advising is a great place if you have that quick question and can’t get in to see your advisor,” Campbell said. “It’s another really convenient option for students to get those in-the-moment questions answered.”

Alberg switched his major from computer science to data science in the middle of fall semester last year and found difficulty getting into classes.

“It was hard to get classes for data science because they filled up so quickly, and there’s just not that many of them,” Alberg said.

Jay Radke, a third-year anthropology student, said those with less credits than other students can have more trouble getting into the classes they desire due to their late registration dates.

According to the One Stop Student Services’ website, students are “randomly assigned a specific date and time within a registration stage based on your student type (e.g., graduate student) or by your total number of cumulative credits.”

“There have been a few times where I have wanted to get into really small classes, and I’ve gotten people who have more credits than me to register for those classes for me early,” Radke said. “They then drop the class right before I register in order to ensure I have a spot.”

Zoe Rutledge, a third-year classical civilizations student, said Schedule Builder, the software used for creating class schedules at the University, caused her difficulty and confusion when she signed up for classes.

“There have been multiple times where a class title has shown up on Schedule Builder, and I add it to my schedule to keep track of it, and then later, it will get taken away,” Rutledge said. “There’s just a lot of moving pieces that aren’t really finalized for students.”

Rutledge said during spring semester class registration this year, she faced issues with the MyU portal which provides access to official class registration.

“My entire MyU page in the academic section is not populated with anything,” Rutledge added. “I do not have access to my classes I need to register for.”

Rutledge said she contacted One Stop for support but did not find the help she needed.

Campbell said the departments for students with declared majors are a great place to get more information about registration.

“My best tip is to think about your registration early, so when your registration time opens up, you are ready to go ahead and register,” Campbell said.

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