Registration regrets: One student’s alternative

Coleman Martinson

This past week was many Washington and Lee students’ worst nightmare: course registration. Paired with the stress of a looming finals week, date functions and much more, fall term course registration could not come at a worse time.

The university has a unique system for picking classes. Pick-one allows students in each grade to register for one class, or up to four credits. This process of only registering for one standard course allows all students to “shoot their shot” for the class they need the most. During my time here at Washington and Lee, pick-one has occurred promptly at 10 p.m. each time. If students do not get their pick-one course during the late-night hours, they have the opportunity to rearrange their schedules and try again in the morning.

The next morning, just before the sun rises, students register for the remainder of their courses, or pick-three as it is known by students.

The issue with the course registration isn’t the process of pick-one and pick-three. The issue is the timing of each. Some students go to bed stressed from a failed pick-one, preventing them from getting a good night’s sleep for the pick-three. 

On the contrary, students who have a successful pick-one might jinx their chances for pick-three in the morning. Or, even worse, students might oversleep and miss the ever so important pick-three. If they do oversleep, students might ruin their entire semester schedule due to one missed alarm. 

Not to worry, though. I have one potential idea to fix this.

The idea is simple: registration occurs on a single day for each grade. For example, the rising seniors register on Monday, the rising juniors register on Thursday and the rising sophomores register on Friday.

Additionally, the pick-one and pick-three times will switch. Pick-one should occur at 7:30 a.m. on the respective day, and pick-three should occur on the same day at 10:00 p.m.

This way, if students over sleep, they only miss pick-one. They miss out on one class registration, but they still have the chance for a near-perfect schedule the same night. Students oversleeping and missing registration is a rare occurrence. But, students losing sleep because of registration isn’t. The stress of course registration and not getting into a class that you are determined to get into is devastating. I speak from personal experience.

This new system could allow students the opportunity to have one day of stress and not have their entire day ruined from registration.

However, some students are skeptical of this proposed process.

“I don’t know if I like that,” Esther Asseno, ‘22, said. “I can sleep on [my pick-one] the way it is. I like that idea but having it on the same day would be stressful. The system is already stressful as it is.”

Other students think differently and agree with the proposed method.

“I don’t understand why they wouldn’t do it this way,” Ryan Zimmerman, ‘22, said. “When I didn’t get my classes of choice, my whole day became unproductive.”

“[The new, suggested way] would probably be a little better,” Mitchell Thomas, ‘20, said. “You would be able to meet with professors and friends to discuss your schedule between registration time slots while the current scheduling method makes it hard to do so. You do run into the issue of people having busy days whereas late at night, people have the time to think about their schedules.”

No matter the way registration is held, students will still be stressed and not be happy with the system. But this new approach could alleviate some of the problems and stress associated with the way we choose our classes.