Overwhelmed by overrides

Jan 192006
Authors: Margaret Canty

CSU seniors' nightmare experiences are not about ghosts, goblins or coming to class naked, but two simple words that could keep them from wearing their robes in May: seats full.

Every semester, more students end up needing to take a class than seats are available for. This, among other reasons, is why CSU offers overrides.

An override "is special permission to register for a class when a student has a circumstance that would keep them from registering for that class without special permission," said Nolan Oltjenbruns, associate registrar .

With the beginning of the semester in full swing, many students seek overrides. Some are successful, others aren't.

Oltjenbruns said there are five main reasons a student would need an override, including if the course has reached its enrollment limit, if they wish to take a course without taking the prerequisites, if there is a time overlap of five to 10 minutes in their schedule and if a major or class restriction applies to the class.

Jenny Freeborn , a senior double major in agricultural business and animal science attributes graduating on time to overrides.

"Because I'm a double major, I need a certain amount of credits each semester. I had to plan out my schedule for four years," she said. "I don't know where I'd be without (overrides). "

Oltjenbruns said there are both electronic and traditional paper form overrides. The academic department keys electronic overrides in themselves, whereas the paper forms are filled out by the professors and then must be brought to the registrar's office. The forms are provided in the academic department offices.

Connie Mahaffey , a heath and wellness professor, said she believes that the number of students requesting overrides has stayed relatively stable for the five years she has been at CSU, and there are few reasons why she would turn down a student's override request.

"Many students need overrides because they're missing credits or registered for classes late," she said. "The only reason I'd turn down an override is if they didn't have the prereqs or there weren't seats left."

Freeborn's experience with overrides has been mostly positive.

"I've never had any problems with them. It's pretty easy to work with the teachers, at least in the Ag school," she said.

However, some students have had problems. Jeff Lorenzen , a junior business finance major, said getting an override he needed for a business calculus class "wasn't as easy" as it sounded.

"I had to talk to so many people. You have to talk to your teacher, your adviser, and sometimes some students have to talk to the department heads," he said.

Lorenzen recommends the system be organized better, and the number of overrides available given be clearly stated to make the process less difficult.

Oltjenbruns' advice for students seeking overrides is simple: "If a student wants an override, they should get it as soon as possible. Don't wait to get an override before attending class. Start going to the class, and get the override as soon as you can."

Margaret Canty can be reached at campus@collegian.com.

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