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Registration Season is Upon Us

Thoughts

Besides midterms and finals, one of the most grueling parts of the semester is registering for classes. Some are worry-free because their time slots start earlier in the day and classes are a free-for-all, but what about those registering at 8:00 p.m.? Only the scraps are left, and we’re lucky to even have a semi-decent schedule as we imagined. I’ve spoken to Michael Farnham, Director of Undergraduate Advisement (Industrial, Fashion and undecided Design majors) to learn about the perspective and insight on why registration has its flaws, and to relay what we can do about it to help ourselves.

Mr. Farnham was eager to take part in the interview, expressing that there was indeed a need for understanding how registration and advisement works, and assuring me that “no one is more frustrated with how the registration happens here than me.” He discussed the structure of registration, and how there are two different parts to it—advisement and registration, although we don’t currently have a registrar but hope to have one earlier next year. The registrar comes into place when the departments create the curriculum and know the amounts of students, necessary courses, faculty, and which days and times to send back to the registrar, then being dispersed to advisement and students at the same time.

With this lack of a registrar department, registration becomes a bit overwhelming with just advisement on the same timeframe as us students. But Farnham also mentioned pros of the process such as the YouCanBook.me appointment system, which has helped students choose their own appointment time instead of visiting any given day during lunch alongside a swarm of other students.

The next topic of discussion was minors, which can be difficult to actually complete with such limited seats in a classroom. Farnham supports students achieving a minor and understands the frustrations that come with it, explaining that “unless you build the appropriate infrastructure to support them, it’s not going to work well.” This statement was followed by an example of a recently added Fashion minor, and how there is a primary course FASD-121 which is also the same primary course for all entry, first-year Fashion majors. Having so many students who are interested in the course as a minor along with the incoming students who are required to complete it results in classes filling up quickly, many missed opportunities and difficulty for those who actually require it. But what Farnham suggested goes back to infrastructure—to possibly separate the sections of the course into minors and major requirements. This separation would open availability but also distinguish a cohesiveness in the classroom, such as student expectation, skill level and commitment.

Before the end of our conversation I asked Mr. Farnham for a few tips and facts regarding registration and classes at Pratt:

  • Psychology is the most sought after minor at Pratt.
  • The number one issue during registration: I.T.. The system often crashes and knocks students off the online portal.
  • Over-plan and over-approve. Although registration is just after midterms, it will help you in the long run. Choose the electives that you want, as many as you want, and make an appointment with your advisor before your registration date so that they can approve your selections. Then, when your registration time rolls around and you don’t get that one class, you’re already set for backups. “[Advisors] want to know what your interests are, what you really want to do and how we can figure that out with you.”
  • One student’s requirement is another student’s elective. There aren’t new electives we should be looking at—it’s seeing what we already have that apply as electives.
  • You will get the required course, but you may not get the section you wanted.
  • There is no priority for fulfilling a minor or in scheduling, the only priorities given are to athletes, LAC (Learning/Access Center for those in need of academic support and needs) approved students, and RAs.
  • Our student government is a great platform to utilize in amplifying our voices and calling attention to what could be changed in the registration process to best reflect our needs.

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Illustration by Evy Barnett

written by
Bianca Stiles
November 8, 2018