University registration system offers unfair advantage



Danielle Bissonette

It’s that time of year again. The stress, agony and sheer frustration of course registration is upon us once more. A time when you can’t walk through Connelly without seeing someone on Schedulr and hearing most conversations include comparing registration times. 

We all know the feeling. It’s an hour before your registration time and you’re watching your classes fill up before your eyes. You sit there powerless, watching any chance of taking that really interesting class or of getting your requirements done slip away. You’re now onto your third backup schedule and even that now seems unlikely. When it’s finally your time to register, all the classes you wanted are full, you’re forced to take the worst classes at the worst times and you’re left feeling utterly defeated and dreading the next semester. Your only glimmer of hope is that maybe it will be different next semester. 

But it won’t. Villanova’s registration system makes it so that those with the latest times will always have the latest times, semester after semester. How is this right? How is it just that some students always get their first choice classes, while others consistently have only the leftovers to choose from? I know what you’re going to say. 

“Those with earlier times have more credits, they deserve better times.” While I agree that seniors should definitely register before freshman for obvious reasons, the disparity between students in a particular class is inherently unjust. Take sophomores for example. Why should some sophomores always get to register before other members of their sophomore class? If they are all trying to take sophomore-level requirements, those sophomores with more credits will always secure those classes, while those with the average number of credits never will. Then we must consider the fact that not all students have equal access to opportunities in which they could earn “extra credits” that would put them ahead in the registration process. 

First, this registration system unintentionally favors wealthier students. Many students choose to take extra credits over the summer. Whether through studying abroad, taking online classes, or staying on campus, these credits cost money. And a lot of it. Each summer credit (note that this is per credit, not per course) taken at Villanova costs around $1,000 and many summer study abroad programs cost upwards of $5,000. Many students simply can’t afford that, regardless of their desire to partake in such opportunities. So now, those less well-off students are automatically disadvantaged in the registration process because they weren’t financially able to rack up extra summer credits. 

Then comes the issue of AP and other high school credits that transfer over into Villanova credits. While from a distance this seems like a nice way to reward hard working, high achieving high school students, it disadvantages those students who didn’t have access to these advanced programs. Some high schools don’t even offer AP or IB classes, so why should students from those schools be punished in the registration process for their lack of transfer credits? Many of these students likely would have opted into these advanced programs, but they simply didn’t have them at their disposal. 

So, now you have students coming into college with 20 AP credits while others come in with none. How does this make for a fair registration process? In order to make this process just for all students, registration times within each individual class should be random. Each sophomore (year-wise, not credit-wise) should have the same chance as every other sophomore at an early registration time, regardless of how many extra credits they have and so on. This would be similar to the way housing selection times currently work. 

No student should consistently have the advantage of registering first. Everyone should get to experience the joy of getting all the classes they want and we should all take a turn struggling through a late registration time so that we can all get a shot at that joy. No one deserves to suffer that frustration every single semester. Random registration times would create equality among students and make registration a less anxiety-provoking and more pleasant experience for all.