Tech’s Registration Process Causes Anxiety Attacks

When I’m having a bad day, I like to take a time-out and drive down a country road with my windows rolled down and Kings of Leon turned up. I climb into my brand-spanking new Jeep Grand Cherokee and cruise along until I feel relaxed.  Then, the words “check engine soon” light up in red on my dashboard, and I suddenly realize I’m still driving my ’04 Pontiac Grand Prix that has a door that won’t unlock and is on the verge of breaking down every day. Talk about a dose of reality.

The depressing fact that always diminishes any dream I have of owning a Grand Cherokee in the near future is that I don’t have a cool $30,000 to spend on a new car right now. I go to school full-time, and going to school full-time means working limited hours. Sadly, working limited hours does not add up to buying a new car.  After all, $30,000 is a lot of money, right?

Ironically enough, the bill that I have racked up at Tennessee Tech University since the fall of 2010 is just a few dollars shy of being $30,000. According to Eagle Online, my total charges for attendance thus far at TTU come to $29,340.89. Cha-ching. With the amount of money I’ve forked over to Tech for things like books, parking tickets and food combined with the student loans I’ll be paying off for years to come, you’d think I could at least register for classes each semester without having a nervous breakdown.

 For crying out loud, I could buy my dream car with the kind of money I’ve handed over to Tech!

The registration process at Tech is so incredibly skewed that freshmen and sophomores are getting Monday and Tuesday registration times when they are signing up for classes like Biology 1010 and Psychology 2010, which are auditorium classes with 300 spots. On top of that, they have multiple years left of college to enroll in 3000 and 4000 level classes. This leaves juniors and seniors with Wednesday, Thursday and even Friday registration times to sign up for core classes that have 15 to 20 spots and are only offered in the spring semester every 17 years. Okay, maybe it’s not every 17 years, but that’s how it feels.

I have always been told that registration times are assigned randomly. In my opinion, a registration time that could leave a student needing to go to school an extra semester or two shouldn’t be left up to a random, luck-of-the-draw assignment.

Reid Christenberry, chief information officer of Tech’s ITS department, said the registration times aren’t random. They are set up by the Registrar’s office on a priority system that is supposed to ensure each major has the classes available for their students to make academic progress on schedule.

If their priority is to send juniors and seniors into fits of rage and panic over not getting the classes they need, they are successfully accomplishing their mission.  There are few things that irritate me like being forced to beg for a permit to get into a course that I pay thousands of dollars to take each semester. There are also few instances in life when having seniority is a bad thing. With Tech handing out Monday registration times to freshmen, it is clear that seniority means nothing to them.

In my opinion, the most logical way to organize registration would be in relativity to graduation; the closer a student is to graduation, the earlier he or she gets to register.

Sure, I’ve dropped nearly $30,000 on Tech in the last four years, as opposed to Mr. Freshman’s $5,000, but I love taking that Thursday night registration time over his Monday morning. Having altercations with department secretaries is exactly what I need a couple of weeks before finals. Not.

The unfairness of Tech’s registration process is something I’ll never understand. There is no reason it should be so difficult. Tech is constantly marketing for more students, but they don’t have room for them all. They punish the current students by increasing enrollment but leaving the class sizes the same. More students should equal more teachers and bigger classes. It isn’t rocket science. It is common sense. We pay thousands of dollars to these people, so the least they could do is ensure an anxiety-free, simpler registration process for the students.