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Update Saint Mary’s registration

Observer Editorial Board | Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Scheduling classes is a stressful event for any college student – but at Saint Mary’s, the process is exceptionally inefficient.

Students at the College can currently register for general education requirements and electives using PRISM, an online system similar to Notre Dame’s IrishLink. However, unlike at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s students can only register for classes in their majors in person – leading to overnight lines and serious frustrations with a flawed, outdated system.

The week before registration, students meet with their advisor to discuss class choices, receive their registration PIN number and obtain the advisor’s signature on an advising form. On advanced registration day within a specific department, students travel to a designated academic building to turn in their forms and register with the major’s secretary. Often, students wake up before dawn only to spend hours waiting in a line of sleeping classmates, hoping to get their desired – and even necessary – schedule of classes. But despite these efforts that involve losing sleep, skipping classes and waiting in long lines, students are not guaranteed the classes required for their major.

Though many departments try to ease the early morning problem by scheduling advanced registration for late morning or early afternoon, this is not a sufficient solution to the problem. While class waiting lists exist, they are often futile.

The only solution is to completely revise Saint Mary’s departmental registration.

Notre Dame has been using the IrishLink system since 2001. Although IrishLink has its flaws, it is a more convenient and organized way to register for classes.

The system randomly assigns students a time, defeating the frustration of waiting in line.

A main reason for the current outdated Saint Mary’s system is to keep students from being shut out of classes being filled in their major. Through IrishLink, restrictions are put on courses within individual departments to keep classes required for a student’s major from being filled before they get a chance to register for those classes.

An online system utilizing updates to PRISM would be more efficient and less stressful for students and faculty alike.

Notre Dame has shown that online registration can work effectively and efficiently, particularly within departments. Saint Mary’s should follow its lead, eliminating the lines and confusion by implementing a complete online registration system.