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Friday, May 14, 2021

Class waitlists cause graduation problems

Western students majoring in psychology, engineering and other popular majors are looking at pushing their graduation dates due to the lack of required classes available.

Some programs are feeling so much pressure that they’re not even allowing students to declare.

From Feb. 5, 2015 – Feb 5, 2016, the kinesiology program is not allowing any student to declare the pre-major because the amount of students that need to take major-specific classes exceeds the amount of classes available.

The registrar’s office oversees all the operations having to do with registration, student records, degree evaluations, commencement, scoring services, teacher and course evaluations, transcript issuing and other related issues.

Registrar David Brunnemer notes that there is pressure in popular majors such as psychology, business, art and others.

Another problem that arises during this process is how prerequisites for other programs may affect class availability.

“Kinesiology puts pressure on other departments such as chemistry and biology,” Brunnemer said. He notes the general chemistry series experiences pressure that doesn’t stem entirely from chemistry majors.

“It happens over a length of time. You can have a department or a particular major that grows in popularity over time. The student demand on those sections starts being felt. Then what you do is you measure that demand to determine whether or not this is a trend that needs to be addressed,” he said.

Once the registrar accumulates registration and waitlist data, it gets sent to departments and colleges who then make the decision to expand section availability or seat size depending on their resources.

The registrar’s office operates on the troubleshooting and data cleanup side, Brunnemer said.

Junior Claire Harris ran into that problem with her women, gender and sexuality studies minor.

“In order to have a minor, you need to have taken women studies 211 and it is virtually impossible to get into that class because it is so popular and a lot of seats are reserved for Summerstart students which takes away a lot of opportunities for upperclassmen to get into those classes. There aren’t very many sections and it’s just so popular, it’s terrible,” Harris said.

However, Harris is a student within the honors program and was able to substitute an honors course for that requirement.

“Were I not in Honors, I probably still wouldn’t have gotten into the class,” she said.

Junior Ash Peers is majoring in psychology and has been running into issues with registering for Psychology 301. The course serves as a prerequisite for all of the 300-level psychology courses.

“It’s difficult to get into the classes. I had been trying for at least a year, probably since my sophomore year, to declare because there’s a pressure to do that and figure out what you’re doing,” Peers said.

Students have difficulty registering for the course until they reach the 90-100 credit range, Peers said.

“I was at 96 [credits] and I got in for winter quarter so it’s been frustrating,” Peers said.

Brunnemer recommends maintaining communication with advisors so that troubleshooting will be more accessible.

“Always, always go to the department advisor and let them know you’re stressed and be very detailed about that stress because for seniors, it can be anything — like a work schedule that gets in the way of taking a certain course,” Brunnemer said.

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