The Registration Process…Just or Unjust?

December 12, 2011

Political Theory


The past few weeks, students at U of M have worked frantically trying to maneuver their possible classes for winter semester, in an effort to make the best schedule possible before they had to register.  Whether that is no Friday classes or no class until noon, students have been paranoid, anxious, and frustrated by the registration process.  Scheduling for classes can make or break one’s next semester.  However, is the current registration system fair?  Should credits determine when a student’s registration time occurs or should it be an all-out brawl at a certain time on a certain day?  Or, why not have each class level register at the same time?

Many students strive for no classes on Friday when registering for classes

Freshmen, and even students that came into the university with fewer credits than some of the same graduation year, get snubbed by the system because many of the classes that they wanted to sign up for were already taken by the time their registration slots became available.  Many students come into college hoping that they can take the classes that they want to and not classes that they are forced to take.  As they head off to college, rising freshmen are told how great it is to be able to take courses that you want.  However, when you really look at it, many freshmen cannot take many of the classes that they want because they are full.  Sometimes, this even costs students a chance at fulfilling a requirement for their major or distribution.  Some may say that they can choose a different professor or a different time, but many times these are not options because there may only be one or two sections of the class.

Would Martin Luther King, Jr. think that the “laws” that are currently in place about scheduling just?  MLK, Jr. states that for a law to be just, it must apply to all and there must be consistency with the rule of law.  In regards to registration, the process has been the same for many years (at least to my knowledge) which fits one of MLK Jr.’s criteria to a law being just.  The other criteria is that it applies to everyone.  Since the registration process has been constant for many years, all students have been affected by the system.  As one earns more credits, one’s registration time moves earlier and earlier.  Therefore, as a senior, a student is able to reap the benefit of an early registration time since he/she will have more credits.  Thus, this criteria also fits MLK, Jr.’s beliefs on a just law.  Therefore, I believe that MLK, Jr. would say that the registration process here at U of M is just.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

However, does the early registration time even really help seniors?  At that point, do seniors really need the extra benefits of registering early?  They have already fulfilled many, if not all, of their distribution requirements and are so deep into their concentration that they can only choose from a small selection of classes anyway.  Freshmen and sophomores, on the other hand, need to be able to take certain classes in order to meet their requirements and take prerequisites that will allow them to further pursue their major.

What do you think?  Is the registration process just or unjust?  What do you think MLK, Jr. would say about it?  Should U of M change the registration process?  If so, can you come up with any alternative ways in which students can register?

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4 Comments on “The Registration Process…Just or Unjust?”

  1. abswang Says:

    I honestly don’t think the registration process is unfair at all. After the first registration, or even maybe the second, the registration process becomes easier on students because they’re ahead of another grade of people. Yeah, it’s frustrating when a certain class time closes for a certain building, time, or professor, but I really doubt that the entire class closes before certain sophomores can register. I think it’s kind of fair that seniors get to schedule first to give themselves their desired schedules because they’re in the last year of college and it should be their time to relax and just finish up their majors with no issues. It’s a lot bigger deal if a senior can’t get into a class they need than if a freshman doesn’t have classes on Fridays. In college I’d give it a free for all thought process and say that everyone should fend for themselves. Only the strong will survive.

  2. lkpeacock Says:

    I agree with you. I believe Martin Luther King Jr. would call the registration process just. The process has not changed in many years, so all students are aware of the process. For the majority of the time classes work out for students. They might not get their desired time; they may have class on Fridays or before noon, but we can’t always get what we want can we? If that is what is most important, at least by senior year the student can most likely fix their schedule how they please. I think working hard in classes and earning credit for them deserves a reward. In this case, the reward to pick classes you want to take before others.

    If everyone signed up on the same day, there would probably be server failures and it would be too chaotic. Because there is consistency with the law and it applies to all, I believe this “law” or scheduling process is just, and it seems to work out well for most if not all students.

  3. kirtip Says:

    I think the system is perfectly fair. The amount of credits increase as you move forward through college. It respects seniority and everyone eventually gets the ability register earlier. Martin Luther King Jr would also, in my opinion, find the process fair, like you said in your post.
    The real reason this system is in place is to guarantee that upperclassmen can get into the smaller upper level classes that they need to graduate and complete their major instead of having aspiring sophomores or freshman sneak into them and take up the spots that they truly need in order to graduate at time. The system guarantees that all students can slowly work up the requirement ladder and graduate on time as opposed to getting shut out by “chance.” I believe any change in the system would only make it more unfair.

  4. albosco Says:

    I recently posted on the blog about the registration process also because I find it to be one of the most stressful parts of UofM. I think that Martin Luther King Jr. would say that the registration process here at Michigan is just, except for the fact that athletes get to register about a month before all other students. I understand that they need to pick their classes around their practice schedule, but they are exempt from this stressful worry about registering for classes. Just because I am not on a team here does not mean that I am not involved with other activities around campus that I would like to plan my class around. In reality, there are many athletes with a lot less credit hours then I have that registered before me. Is there anyway of making this a little more fair?

    As for the overall registration process, I don’t think there really is another way to do it. Having each grade register at the same time would be absolute craziness, that would probably not end very well. I think the university is doing the best job they can. Registering for classes will just be one of those things that everyone dreads, sort of like finals week.

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