Editorial — Registering for classes should not be this complicated

How can we streamline the registration process?

While registration week has already come and gone, many students continue to struggle with the meticulous process of scheduling what their next semester will look like. Despite some students having no issues registering for classes, including those required for their degree and/or interesting classes desired for personal reasons, others are finding the process much more difficult due to minimal course offerings, scheduling conflicts or general indecisiveness.

This issue oftentimes arises because no degree paths are the same. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does provide a unique challenge for students. If your major of choice has a small credit requirement, like political science with 38 credits, an additional 46 credits will have to be taken – not including general education requirements. 

In an attempt to make up these extra credits, students are forced to scour the course offering page to find something that will pique their interest. While many opt to take what are considered to be “fun” classes, like food and film or scuba diving, these classes tend to offer minimal credits — which means students would have to be taking six to eight classes to meet the full-time student designation. 

And those who have no interest in these “fun” classes are left to take four credit courses, which are likely to be more challenging, that require more than just participation to pass. Attaching a grade to these classes, which do not count towards any degree designation for the student, makes them much more stressful than they need to be.

Is it fair to force a student who has already completed their major/minor requirements to take a class that counts towards nothing (except NMU’s credit requirement) and potentially harm their overall academic standing if their performance does not meet a professor’s expectations?

Opposite of majors with a small credit requirement, most STEM majors require an additional 10 to 15 credits on top of what students in other areas of study are required. This poses an entirely different issue for students, who now have to map out their classes well in advance – maybe even semesters ahead – to ensure they are able to squeeze in all of these classes and stay on the four-year degree track. 

With some classes only being offered in the fall or winter, or maybe being canceled altogether due to short staffing, students cannot help but feel anxious as their registration time rolls around. Even if you have had your entire degree plan mapped out on a spreadsheet since before you even arrived at NMU, the class you so desperately need to take in order to graduate could be full or unavailable by the time it is your turn to register.

If you are worried about meeting your degree requirements due to scheduling, we recommend you schedule an appointment with your academic advisor. Sometimes exceptions can be made to ensure you graduate on time. Even further, if you are trying to get a specific professor for a class that is taught by two or three individuals, speak with classmates, an advisor or use websites like Rate My Professors. Because every student has a learning style that works best for them, it is important to know a professor’s teaching style before enrolling in a class. 

While we are certain there is a way to streamline the registration process, a great start for the university would be keeping the department pages on NMU’s website up-to-date, especially by accurately detailing when certain classes are being offered. Oftentimes students will have the classes they want to take organized according to the department webpage, just to be dumbfounded when the course scheduling book drops and their needed classes are nowhere to be found.

From the student perspective, it is unlikely that the registration process will ever become “easier,” but that is because we are being tasked with deciding what we want a distant four months of our life to look like. This is not easy to do. So while there is a sense of urgency in selecting classes, we encourage you to seek advice and strategically plan before doing so.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is an editorial, written by the North Wind Editorial Board in its entirety. It reflects the majority views of the individuals who make up the editorial staff of the North Wind. It is the policy of the Editorial Board not to endorse candidates for any political office, in order to avoid aligning this public forum with particular political organizations.