A college senior opens their computer and logs on to NEST to register for their last semester at Montclair State University. As the student enters in the six-digit CRN numbers, an error message pops up with an alert that their last major requirement course has filled up.
Nervously staring at the computer screen, the senior sends out a desperate email to their adviser and the head of the department to find another way into the course. The only way to get in is by putting their name on a waitlist.
A majority of students at Montclair State have similar stories from their own registration experiences, and most commonly, they complain about how quickly their courses fill up, especially if they need them to graduate. Their worst fear is that there are students with more credits signing up for these courses as electives, not as major requirements.
Montclair State University class registration process is so stupid
— chefiana (@Chef_Stephh) April 13, 2016
While no one will ever know if this is the reason their courses are filling up so fast, many students wonder why NEST does not have a filter that can decipher between elective courses and major requirements.
Not having some kind of filter is very misleading to students because, for many courses, any student can register for them, including those who do not need to.
Each course description does have a list of prerequisites that students would need in order to take it, but it does not specifically list that it is a graduation requirement for a specific major.
Students should be able to take whatever courses they want to help them find their fields of interest, but there are majors and minors in small departments with a limited number of class sections and faculty members to teach each of them. It is unfair for a student who needs to get into a course to graduate to be put on a waitlist because someone else took their spot as an elective.
There are also some courses where spots are reserved for students. Most commonly, they are held specifically during fall registration for incoming freshmen in certain learning communities.
Students believe there should be a way to prioritize those who need to register for certain classes in order to graduate, versus those who are just signing up for them as an elective.
Hoping Montclair State doesn't screw me over this time during registration .
— Melissa (@mellycabs) April 6, 2014
One idea is that students should receive an additional code to enter into NEST in order to register specifically for major requirement courses. Students who were not given a code would wait, just like if a class was reserved. Students who wanted to register as an elective would be notified when they could sign up or if it is full.
While this method requires some recoding of NEST, it could make the registration process less stressful and relieve many students of their anxiety that is centered around getting into them.
More realistically, students should be more involved when the decisions about course sections are made since they are the ones paying thousands of dollars to take them.
Without students involved, the process seems like a guess-and-check when each department decides how many seats in each course section. With the help and information from students needing to take each course, class sizes and sections can be planned out more accurately.
There are many ways the student body can become more involved, like taking surveys every semester to give each department an idea of what courses students are planning to sign up for to create sections and fill seats based off of that data.
Montclair State University has such a mess with their registration system.
— Yantna Richardson (@yantna09) November 13, 2013
Just by answering a few questions, the campus community believes the university could plan better for registration and make it less of a hassle for both students and faculty. It would also make the process much smoother than it has been in previous semesters.