Editorial: Class registration must prioritize seniors over freshmen



Sardines Photo credit: Dana Gainey

College is meant to be challenging.

Everything from writing papers the size of small elephants to managing extracurriculars to make-or-break final projects is meant to be part of the college experience that pushes you.

Signing up for classes isn’t.

Yet, for many, this has become as much, if not more, of a source of stress than anything actually done in the classes they end up taking.

Especially for seniors.

Just imagine pushing your way through your major, a minor and even most of those common curriculum classes. Coming into your final semester, all you really have to do is fill a capstone, do one more easy minor elective and then get those last two common curriculum classes.

Great. It’s going to be an easy last few months — at least academically — something your adviser agreed with when you figured out and signed off on a schedule at your last meeting.

Your adviser also gave you a time to sign up for classes, and when that time came, you went to LORA to sign up. Then your plans came crashing down.

That’s the case for many seniors that have carefully planned their last semesters, especially for taking common curriculum classes. Add an extra level of frustration if online was part of the plan.

For freshmen and sophomores, this may not be much of a problem, since most live on campus and treat going to school largely as a full-time job. Worst case, someone lives off campus and also works a job and has to push a class that doesn’t work for them to next semester.

That’s not an option for second-semester seniors.

They can’t just switch into the open 12:30 Monday-Wednesday-Friday world religion class just because they don’t have an academic schedule conflict.

That’s because senior year isn’t about relaxing and enjoying one last college hurrah thanks to getting ahead in those first three (or more) years. Instead, it’s more of a transition year, as college gets weaned off and replaced by actual workplace experience.

Many seniors are doing classes along with full days that they’ve carved out for internships — real experience that will help them in their careers.

You know, what they spent thousands of dollars in college hoping to get into.

So when a senior sees that the online advanced common curriculum class meeting the social science requirement he or she hoped to sign up for isn’t available, let’s just say that can lead to some increased stress levels.

Those have been known to take years off your life. So let’s not have those. Those are bad.

So let’s figure out how we can avoid that, and the best place to start is by finding the root cause. And that cause: freshmen get to register for classes a day before seniors.

And with the biggest freshmen class Loyola has seen in years, this has become even more of a problem. Time to change that.

It’s a rule that clearly puts retention of freshmen over the students who have toughed it out for at least seven semesters here.

The administration then needs to ask itself: What would you rather see? A couple of freshmen coming back or seniors getting jobs?

That second one is brought into serious question if seniors have to take up time they carved out for actual work experience.

That’s because an internship today is more valuable than ever.

According to a survey done in 2015 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 90 percent of “returning” interns get job offers, and in turn, 90 percent accept those.

What “returning” means is that someone has returned for another internship or part-time job at the organization. So let’s say you did an internship the summer between junior and senior year, then carved out free days during your second semester to go back. Well, then there’s probably a job offer coming your way … so you can see why asking someone to take a Writing About Literature class instead might leave them a little annoyed.

Yet that’s the situation seniors are in and will continue to be in as long as they aren’t prioritized for class registration.

So it’s time Loyola adopt a new registration policy — the obvious one.

Let the seniors who have given so much to this university over the last few years have first choice in making the schedules they want to make.

Then they can go out, get the job they knew they could get and then in 30 years donate a piece of their fortune that might just have a bigger impact than the two freshmen coming back who really wanted that online global history class.