Class Registration Experiences

Courtesy: Sneha Gayatri
Courtesy: Sneha Gayatri

By this time in our Thunderbird student life, each of us has experienced the course registration process at least once. While it may have been confusing at first, we have figured things out and in the process, discovered obstacles along the way.

Here are some of the dilemmas that you and your peers have faced:

Communication of registration processes: The multiple emails that students receive before registration week opens is overwhelming because of the unstructured manner in which they are constructed. Students feel that the registrar’s office needs to construct their emails from the perspective of the students – what would be the first point of information that they would need to know and then communicate information. Other techniques should be used to simplify the process – more visual aids (flowcharts etc.) instead of long text emails.

Assignment of registration times: Because the current process is to randomly allocate times to students, those who get a later time slot feel that system is unfair to them, especially when the class that they are seeking to register for is already full even before their time slot to register has begun. There needs to be a way that would enable more students to sign up at the same time.

Online System Schedule and Actual Schedule conflicts: There is usually discrepancy in the information available on MTB and that on Access Thunderbird. There should be a system that synchronizes all the information across different portals. This would avoid situations where decisions were made based on information that a student chose from one particular portal.

Eligibility for certain courses: Sometimes on the Access Thunderbird portal, the system permits you to register for a particular course that may have been created specifically for other students (from different curricula or programs). There is not information that tells students that they are ineligible for such programs. Instead, these students sign up for the class and then receive communication that they may take an online class instead, which defeats the purpose of being on campus and taking on-campus classes. This also leads to students having to drop elective courses in order to accommodate a core course.

Wait lists: The initial email threads say that the student can add himself/ herself to a particular course’s waitlist when the limit is reached, but during registration, this option to “Add to waitlist” does not appear. Another issue under wait lists is after someone has added himself/ herself to the wait list, and actually gets a seat into the class. In this situation, there is no auto email that is sent to the student informing him/ her that he/ she can now take the class. Especially for popular classes, the students assume that they will not be able to get a seat in that class and fail to check Access Thunderbird for an update and hence miss classes. An auto mailer should be sent out to all waitlisted students that have been accepted into a course.

Uninformed rescheduling by registrar’s office: Some students have faced this issue as well – they have been removed from a particular batch without prior intimation. Sometimes the school reschedules the student, but sometimes the student has to do the rescheduling by themselves.

Course Scheduling: For the old curriculum, most of the core courses were concentrated in the second module, which led to the second module being very intensive in terms of number of courses. The registrar’s office should attempt to evenly space out these courses, taking instructors’ schedules into consideration of course.

New curriculum confusions: Students feel that they have been receiving mixed and incomplete information about Spring registrations and Winterim applications. Some of the conflicted information has led to conflicts with other requirements, such as a language requirement course. Students feel unsure about the exact classes they are eligible/ expected to take and whether they are expected to register for certain classes by themselves or wait for the registrar to sign them up (e.g. for module abroad courses).

Overall Impressions: The school needs to more effective communication process and an updated system that accounts for all possible scenarios. The rules are unclear, and some policies. Unclear rules and policies lack of immediate response and coordination are some other issues. With the fact that the school is growing, it becomes more important than ever to at least master the current process so that we can simply scale up in the future. The school needs to be more sensitive about what students actually expect to read in communications and strive to be available to understand individual problems or situations and adapt to come to solutions that are beneficial for the student, especially when it comes to a career search.

If you had difficulties during the registration process, please reach out to us. Send us an email!

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