Seniors scramble to fill their schedules

Only two weeks into the spring semester, and students at the University of San Diego already have their schedules set in stone, as the add/drop period is over. For many students, the registration period passed without a hitch, but, for graduating seniors, the add/drop period can be especially hectic. For many seniors trying to ensure a spring graduation, a few key classes linger in the balance between graduating on time or having to tack on summer classes or even an extra semester.

This process can be especially stressful when there are a limited number of sections or if several classes you need have conflicting times.

Senior Emma Uriarte had to delay her graduation to take one last class. This class is scarcely offered by the university but was needed to complete her degree.

“In some majors, the classes are only offered once a year, and it makes it difficult to get specific classes, especially if you study abroad and have to wait an entire year to have a chance at that class again,” Uriarte said. “Because of this, I had to stay an extra semester to take one class to finish my degree.”

This can be a huge problem, especially when the demand for classes outnumbers the amount of students allowed into the section. The registration process typically favors upperclassmen, since they have more units and get to register first. Yet there is always a chance, even if you have a lot of units, classes could fill up before you have a chance to register. This means that, for some seniors, their chances at graduation rely on waitlisting classes or the goodwill of their professors.

Senior Savannah Jensen needed an ethics class to graduate. Jensen resorted to crashing a class that didn’t have a waitlist to try her luck at getting it.

“It sucked,” Jensen said. “Luckily the professor was on the side of the students and wanted to add everyone he could, or else many of us would have been out of luck. And it doesn’t seem like the administration cares much.”

The USD Vista staff reached out to the registrar’s office and several deans’ offices across campus for comment and did not recieve a response.

Classes that are listed without a waitlist can be especially difficult because there is no fair system for allowing students that crash the class in. It is all left up to the professor’s discretion.

This problem seems to be  cemented by the residency requirement put in place by the school. With very few exceptions, this residency requirement means that each USD student must take his or her last 30 units on campus. Because of this, when seniors encounter scheduling problems, their only solution is to wait until a new section opens up or rearrange their schedules to accommodate for one class. If this was not a requirement, students could choose instead to take the class at a neighboring university or complete the requirement through College Level Examination Program (CLEP) testing. While the university does occasionally waive residency requirements, the process isn’t easy and varies on a case-by-case basis.

Senior Blair Butler noted that when her schedule changed at the last minute, the school didn’t offer any easy alternatives.

“It can be especially detrimental when you think your schedule works out, but last minute it changes, and you’re left a few credits short of what you need and have to scramble to find a solution,” Butler said. “I registered for a class that was pulled off the schedule, and now my only option to fulfill my last three units is a [upper-division writing] class, which I’ve already taken, so I have to beg a professor to make an exception, since I can’t outsource to another school.”

Although encountering scheduling hiccups is normal, it seems that for graduating seniors the conflicts are becoming a regular occurrence. Most people assume that the last semester of classes is easy for those preparing to graduate, but, in fact, it seems that the stress is greater than ever. Simply by opening up new sections of classes, making sure every class has a waitlist, and not yanking classes off the schedule last minute, the school can assure that seniors can complete their degrees on time and make a happy transition into USD alumni.

By Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor