Students get advice on getting into closed classes

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Justin Surgent/Collegian

Choosing classes is proving to be a difficult task for some University of Massachusetts students as their desired classes – sometimes prerequisites and general education requirements – are filling up before their appointment times.

Appointment times are determined by a student’s total number of academic credits. Seniors and juniors have early appointments, followed by sophomores, freshmen and transfer students.

This year, though, even upperclassmen are having difficulty gaining admittance to their classes of choice.

Junior Jeffrey Bagdigian said he has had bad luck with class selection every semester since his freshman year.

“I guess my enrollment appointment is always really bad which I figured would get easier as a junior, since I have seniority,” he said. “But that really didn’t happen this time. It’s kind of a pain to get in requirements when they’re full. I don’t understand how it keeps happening when they assign seniority.”

Bagdigian said the ideal solution would be if UMass added more sections to classes, but acknowledged that it may not be feasible because there would not necessarily be professors available to teach those extra classes.

The first thing a student should do if they are denied registration for a class, according to University Registrar John Lenzi, is make sure they meet all of the class requirements and are eligible to enroll in that particular class. If a student is still unable to access a class Lenzi advised them to contact that department or professor.

One problem some students encountered when selecting their classes for the spring 2012 semester were major or minor requirements, prerequisites and general education courses being full.

“It’s really frustrating that I can’t get into a class that is a prerequisite for other classes,” said sophomore Catherine Lyon.

According to English lecturer Edward Cottrill, Gen. Ed. and popular courses usually fill up first.

Junior Keagan Neeland faced this particular dilemma after being accepted to the art minor. According to Neeland, an art course she is required to take for her minor was made available to the entire student population, and the class closed before she was able to enroll.

“I’m thinking of just going to the class and seeing if I can get in,” said Neeland. “If a class is a requirement for a specific major or minor, people in that major or minor should be able to get in first.”

Cottrill encouraged students to do exactly what Neeland suggested, and stressed the importance of being persistent.

“Show up to classes on the first day, and keep coming if appropriate,” said Cottrill. “It is more difficult to turn down a student who is present and willing to work than one who only emails or joins the waiting list.”
Sophomore Sophie Yingling agrees. Last semester, Yingling was closed out of one of the classes she wanted to take.

“I just kept going to the class every day and eventually [the professor] said I could come into the class,” said Yingling.

Laurie Brown, geophysics professor and graduate program director of geosciences, suggested all students meet with their academic advisor before pre-registering and to make sure they sign up for classes as early as they possibly can. Brown added that although freshmen get last pick, UMass does set aside a number of seats for freshmen.

According to Brown, she receives four or five emails a day from students wishing to be admitted into closed classes, and says she does not put anyone in the class herself, because she cannot decide between students who either have seniority or say they “love” oceanography.

She added that there is “movement” throughout the add-drop period, and though not a lot of students drop courses, some do, which lets some new students in.

Katie Landeck contributed to this report.

Steffi Porter can be reached at [email protected]