While visiting family in the Caribbean, catching up on some much needed rest at home or grabbing some extra hours at work, on April 25, CCNY students were interrupted by a surprise mass e-mail just before the end of spring break. The office of the registrar sent a notification letting students know that fall 2011 registration had begun on April 18th-a week after it had actually started. Though some students were in the know-and were frantically reaching out to program directors, professors and advisors for guidance during the holiday break–many, many others had no idea.
“In the past, if you wanted to know what day and time you can begin registering for classes it was posted on the school’s website, weeks before registration began,” says CCNY junior Ebony Samson. “I haven’t seen it before spring break, during or now. So how were we supposed to know?”
“By the time I went to register, the two most important classes I had to take in the fall were already filled,” adds Samson.
Once students returned to school, many others found that classes were filled. And courses with open seats often met late at night or weren’t compatible with students’ schedules. What’s more, during this registration, some students were excited to come across convenient classes that they needed, only to discover that they were open only to students attending the Center for Worker Education (CWE) downtown.
CWE offers City College programs to working adults who’d like to receive a college education. These students attend class after work and on weekends to receive a Liberal Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences or a B.S. degree in Early Childhood.
Andrea Weiss, interim dean of interdisciplinary studies at CWE, explained that though it looked as though CWE students had snatched up all of our classes, the registrations didn’t overlap. “We have approximately 650 students–and that requires a lot of classes,” she explains. “Most of our classrooms here only fit about 25 per room. Students can’t take a mixture of uptown and downtown classes so we have to offer them everything they need including the core curriculum.”
Where does all this leave thousands of students at CCNY’s main campus? “Every day I go on E-sims and check which classes are open, hoping someone dropped a class I need,” says Dashaun Rivers, an undergrad. “I still haven’t had much luck yet.”
Who’s to blame? The registrar’s office says it’s not their fault. Anna-Lize Harris, CCNY’s associate registrar, states that registration began the same time this year, 2010 and 2009. “Fall 2011 registration started on Monday, April 18; Fall 2010 registration started on Monday, April 19, 2010 and Fall 2009 registration started on Monday, April 20,” says Harris. “Fall registration starts about one month before the last day of classes for the spring semester.”
Repeated attempts to get a full explanation about the registration mix-up from administration officials, including the office of enrollment management, went unanswered. So students are still not clear whether they simply missed early emails and postings notifying them-before spring break-that registration was coming up. Or they weren’t sent. Most wish they’d received an extra “heads up” that they would be registering for classes over a holiday break, since this situation seems unusual and potentially problematic.
What should students do? Harris advises those who need a class that is filled to request an over tally while still on campus.
Given the confusion, most students think that’s not enough. “Administration should consider opening up more classes, so students who need these classes can take them,” says Olivia Estevez. ” Why should we suffer for someone else’s mistakes?”
We’d love to hear your experience. In the comments section below, please tell us what happened when you registered for fall 2011 classes this spring. We will do our best to make sure your concerns are heard by CCNY officials.