Aug 252002
Authors: Christopher J. Ortiz

At the beginning of every semester at CSU, there are certain things students can usually count on: spending too much on textbooks, the Plaza being swarmed with credit card offers and finding out the class a student needs is already full.

With most students trying to graduate in four years, finding out that classes such as SP200, a university requirement, is filled can put a damper on that four year dream.

How can you avoid this dilemma? Gaye DiGregorio, assistant director of advising services at the Help/Success Center, recommends registering in a timely matter.

“Some of the students we (at the Help/Success Center) are seeing now haven’t even started registering for classes,” DiGregorio said Saturday, with two days before the semester began.

Upon finding out a class is filled, DiGregorio suggested students constantly check RAMweb, the university’s online service where students can register for classes.

“The recommendations that we make for students trying to register for courses that are full is just keep checking RAMweb, because courses that are full today may open next week because there is a lot of fluctuation of schedule changes,” she said.

Freshmen Amber Price, KC Liebert and Kristin Sturqes all had difficulty getting into desired classes.

“I couldn’t get into any classes I wanted,” said Sturques, who registered during Preview, CSU’s summer freshman orientation program. “Everything I wanted was not open.”

Freshmen are not the only students to have problems trying to register for classes.

Kirstine Haagen, a speech communication junior, had to override into BZ101 last fall. Before classes began, Haagen constantly checked RAMweb several times a day and even had family members check when she could not. She finally decided to talk to the instructor about overriding into the class.

“I told the professor I would be happy to sit on the floor as long as I was in the class. She was O.K. with it. I usually got to class 10 minutes earlier than usual just to make sure I had a seat,” Haagen said.

Overriding into a class requires a signature from the professor or instructor before a student is allowed to register. Depending on the course, overriding might not always work. Certain restrictions may not allow instructors to allow overrides.

“Totally be persistent, there is nothing better than being persistent. Instead of saying, ‘can I get into your class’, give the professor other option, let them know you are willing to sit on the floor as long as you can be in the class,” said Haagen.

Dimitris Stevis, an international politics professor, said the issue is not simply adding another student to a class.

“I think it is appropriate sometimes to say, ‘I can’t let you in’ because that means your education will be lower,” he said. “It’s actually cheating the students (if we allow a large number of students to override).”

Before the semester begins, professors plan out their courses based on the number of students expected to be in the class, Stevis said.

“If professors have planned for a class of 40 students because we want people to talk and write, then all of our planning won’t work (if we allow students to override),” he said. “It’s not that we don’t want to (allow students to override into class) but we have to have a policy.”

In some classes — for example, JT210 — instructors can’t allow overrides because each student needs to work on a computer, said DiGregorio . On the other hand. some classes might have a capacity of 60, but the room would hold 75, so instructors can work with students trying to override.

It is also important to keep in regular contact with your advisor to make sure you are taking the right classes to fulfill university requirements.

There are currently two university core curriculums, the University Studies Program and the All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) that came into effect in summer 2000. Both curriculums have different requirements and it is important to know what requirements you need to fulfill, DiGregorio said.

DiGregorio mentioned a student who dropped his health and wellness class for a scuba class because an upperclassman friend told him it would fulfill his physical education and wellness requirement.

“By the time he came to me and realized the problem, the class he dropped was already filled,” said DiGregorio.

DiGregorio suggests students do some long-term planning when it comes to classes.

“One thing I suggest is students do tentative graduation plans because a lot of the time, students are thinking about the next semester. I think if students map out…it helps students make better choices in what classes to take and when,” she said.

Tips to avoid being denied entry to a class

* Register on time

* Contact your advisor often

* Change your major as soon as possible, because some classes only admit students within a particular major

* Long-term planning

* Take credits – priority is given by class rank

* If a class is full, contact the instructor ASAP and make sure your name is first on the waiting list

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