I have been attending Shepherd University for nearly two years now and while here, I have never had any problems acquiring help from instructors, advisors or the administration. At Shepherd University, help is always available to those who need it. However, I would argue many students do not always know what or who to ask. This is especially true when it comes to registering for certain classes.
Shepherd University has a registration process for classes set up like many other schools. The students who are the closest to graduating are allowed the opportunity to register first. This works out great, in theory, but it also has some flaws. Class capacities are one example. There are classes that are required for all degrees that fill up very quickly which still leaves many students unable to register for them.
I asked Susan Stout, a student at Shepherd, about some of the issues she had registering for classes and she stated, “There are a bunch of biology classes offered, but not many of the general physical sciences 103 and 104. And the physical sciences that are offered fill up almost immediately.”
The issue of classes that are required for degrees but are not offered every semester is equally disturbing. In the English department, the classes: English 307—Teaching and Reading Young Adult Literature, English 370—Structure and Evolution of the English Language, and English 377—Peer Tutoring and Composition Theory, are required courses to obtain a degree, yet these classes are only being offered on a one-year rotation. It can be difficult to fit one of these rarely offered classes into a schedule of classes, some of which may also be only available once a year; this can be far from flexible and easy to construct.
I understand that there is somebody that runs the statistics on graduation rates for individual majors that require certain classes which are structured on a one-year rotation. These classes are then offered after the analysis which determines how often that these classes need to be offered in order to ensured that all the students that need to take the required classes are able to. I believe this is far from and truth and I have frequently heard fellow students and staff members describe the difficulties and problems they’ve endure while attempting to register for required classes that have no more available seats.
When I went to examine Shepherd’s course catalogue to see more of these classes that are only offered once a year, I was surprised to discover that there was no catalogue issued past the summer session of classes. This lack of information may be just one more contributing reason for registration difficulties.
Because I have been attending Shepherd for two years, I have become aware of the class rotation, so I know when certain classes will be offered again, but for the students who are new to Shepherd and have not taken the required classes, they have no idea what classes they should take and when they are offered. When they finally do find out the answers to these questions, it may be too late and the student finds him or herself in school for longer than he or she had planned.
The English department in particular has some amazing and very knowledgeable instructors and advisors to assist students, but students must be made better aware of classes they need to take and those that have been set on a limited rotation and are not offered every semester. By being aware of these classes, students will be able to keep an eye out for them during their future registration meetings with their advisors and registration problems across the board will hopefully decrease.