The waiting game

Popular courses force students into waiting list purgatory

By Elliot Chan, Staff Reporter

Before each semester, students rally for a good registration spot and a seat in the classes of their choice. The problem is, popular and prerequisite courses are attractive. With limited space in each class, students who register late or have a later registration date often miss the cut-off of around 37 students per class. This leaves many abandoning the prospect and applying for less appealing or relevant courses, thus prolonging their time at Douglas and other post-secondary institutions.

Watching your ranking on a waiting list is a frustrating ordeal. Once on a waiting list, Douglas College recommends that students check their status daily and drop themselves from the list if they lose interest.

Although the system at Douglas tries to be as fair as possible, the result may not always be favourable. Odds are you’ve already figured out whether you’ll be attending a course or not, but if you missed the chance this time, here are some tips to avoid the same outcome next semester.

“If students want a better registration time, they will need a better GPA,” the registrar’s office suggests. “They should also register on the day to avoid disappointment—and even then sometimes courses just fill up.”

Popular classes like Biology 1103 often reach the waiting list maximum of 100 students. After the first week, the waiting list shrinks to around 60-70. Even so, the prospect for attending the class becomes rather daunting.

The registrar’s office recommends that students on a waiting list attend the first day of class and email the course’s instructor. Most professors won’t mind students sitting in on the inaugural class while they gauge interest, potential for dropouts, and ability to increase workload. It is then the instructors’ choice to override the class limit or stay the course.

When sitting in on a class, it is important to respect the other students who have already registered and paid for the course. Understanding that the room may already be full, common courtesy is often a better route than eagerness. Speak with the instructor, let them know your condition, and accept a seat if one is offered for the time being.

If the instructor ends up offering you a seat in the course, you must pay the tuition immediately: i.e. 23.75 hours after the offer has been sent. Failure to do so will drop you off the list completely.

Planning ahead of time will give you an upper hand when it comes to getting the most beneficial courses. Research the courses you want to take and mark down the registration time, tuition fee payment deadlines, and any important dates to consider in relation to the course(s).

Registration for Winter Semester 2014 goes from November 14 to 28, 2013, with the tuition fee payment deadline for domestic students on December 9, 2013. Classes commence in the New Year on January 6, 2014.