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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Institute senior preference in course registration

Published: October 28, 2011
Section: Editorials

With course registration quickly approaching, this editorial board strongly urges the office of the registrar to revise the arbitrary system for registering students that has long been used.

Currently, students are randomly assigned a time to register for classes on the first day of the enrollment period. On the second day, the times are reversed. Then, on the third day, all students are allowed to enroll at the same time.

Brandeis is a small enough school that getting into classes is not an insurmountable challenge. But surely juniors and seniors—who do not have as much leeway in choosing classes—ought to have preference when it comes to registration.

At other schools, seniors are the first to pick classes. If that were to happen at Brandeis that wouldn’t mean that first years won’t get into the classes they want; it would merely recognize that seniors have more to lose if they can’t enroll in a particular class because of an unlucky registration period.

We admit that no system is perfect. If seniors chose all their classes first, some students would be shut out of classes.

We propose a straightforward compromise: On each day of registration, seniors enroll at 10 a.m., juniors enroll at 11 a.m., sophomores enroll at noon and first-years enroll at 1 p.m. The current system of enrolling in one class on the first day, a second class on the second day and the rest of one’s classes on the third day would still hold.

Under this system, preference is mixed: Seniors are guaranteed their first choice of classes while underclassmen would still have a good chance of getting their first choices as well. Random course registration ignores the importance of senior and junior preference in course selection. Our proposed system would correct that problem.