Course Registration Problems & Solutions
By Diane at University Language
Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008
Category: On Campus
If you can’t get into the courses you want or need, registering for classes can be one of the most frustrating parts of the US college experience.
International students at the University of Michigan-Flint know this well, according to the Michigan Times, the school’s student newspaper.
According to an article by Michael Stechschulte, international students there must pass a special English proficiency test called the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (or MELAB) before they can register for classes. Students who haven’t yet passed are enrolled in the school’s English Language Program and can take the MELAB at the end of the term.
The problem? Even if they pass the MELAB, many classes are already full by this time. That means international students might not be able to register for the classes they want.
Joyce Lo was born in the United States but raised in Taiwan. She told the newspaper that she’s concerned she won’t be able to register for her graphic design classes. Many international students probably don’t know about such registration issues because the way students enroll in classes in other countries in different than how student register for classes in America.
“In our country, they give you every class for you to do in four years, whatever you take,” Lo told the Michigan Times. “But in America you need to make a schedule by yourself. And they think it is very easy, because in China or Taiwan they will open enough space for you. They will fit like 20 people in a small tiny room and say ‘we can fit you in, let’s put a seat next to door.’ But for America, they say it’s full.”
It’s difficult to say how many international students in the US face situations like this. In any case, I’m sure almost all students (international or not) are annoyed when they get shut out of classes.
Luckily there are a few things you can do to make sure you take the courses you need for your college major, even if you aren’t able to register for your first-choice classes.
- Add your name to the waiting list for a class. If other students drop the class, you will be able to register for it.
- Prepare to register for “back-up” classes. Keep a list of classes that you are required to take or want to take before you graduate. Before you register for classes, write down the course names, numbers and times of at least twice as many classes as you are planning to take. Then, if one class you want to take is full, you can quickly sign up for another.
- Talk to the professor of the class. Explain your situation and see if an exception can be made. Be nice! Remember: The professor would be doing you a big favor.
- Attend the first class or two of the term. You may be able to register for the class at the beginning of the term if students unexpectedly don’t attend or if professors decide they can accommodate extra students. Before you try this, make sure your college allows students to “add” courses in this manner!