I have an exam in 3.5 hours. Any coherent statements I make will have something to do to with the fundamental principles of justice, the prosecution process or police discretion. Turning off the criminal law in my brain seems impossible, so in an attempt to go with the flow and stick by the principle of fairness, I turn to the issue of wait lists on ROSI.
This year (and this may be, in part, because I am a third-year student) all of my courses are half-credits. This means that I have a bit of flexibility in between semesters to change my courses. I think this flexibility is crucial in the later years of your undergraduate degree, particularly since you are short on time to fulfill program requirements, distribution requirements and prerequisites.
When I talk to program directors, most of them assume that if I am changing my courses in between semesters, it means I didn’t plan properly over the summer. In fact, quite the contrary: I’m the kid who takes three days straight to look through the entire calendar and who has her schedule completely planned out before registration even opens. When I signed up for my courses in the summer, I was immediately put on the wait list, detailing my troubles on Cynthia’s awesome post:
Cynthia, you are so lucky.
I signed on at exactly 11:22, and was promptly slapped on the wrist by ROSI, telling me I dare not try to sign on again, until my designated time of 11:25. At that point, the first, second, fourth and fifth courses I entered, I was put on a wait list…and I’m still there Ever so sad, as I realize, I am doomed to live the life of those dreaded, anxious “WAIT-LISTED” students!
The wait-listing problem doesn’t end after the summer; in fact, it can extend into your second-semester courses. Often, students become familiar with professors in the first semester, and because they enjoy being in their classes, hope to move to another class with the same prof for the next term. Other times, getting off the wait list for one course can cause a timing conflict, which forces you to delete the conflicting course and look for another course, putting you on the wait list again. In addition, because many of your courses are half-credits, you have the flexibility to discover what courses interest you and modify your following semester’s schedule accordingly. The point is, many students change courses for great reasons, not necessarily poor planning.
I’ve tried to figure out why wait lists are in place. In response to the question, why not raise the cap on class enrolment, a number of professors have mentioned that class size is determined by the room capacity. I like the honesty, and I see the point: you can’t squish 100 students in a classroom meant for 60. Its a fire hazard, if nothing else!
But as a good friend pointed out to me, you shouldn’t have to pay to take courses you really don’t want to take, especially if the course you want is restricting you solely because you are a fire hazard. Not only are you jeopardizing your education, your GPA and your degree by “settling” and taking courses you don’t like, but it is a waste of your money. It is quite unfair. In an institution of higher learning, such as the wonderful University of Toronto, I think there must be a viable solution (like moving the class to a larger classroom?). In many cases, the University doesn’t really know what’s going to be popular until the courses fill up, but I think there must be some way to take wait lists into consideration, even after the fact.
If you are on a wait list (as I am), or multiple wait lists (as I am), then my utopian ideals aren’t helping you much. The problem is, I don’t really have a solution for you. After extensive research, I’m always directed to another person — the professor, the registrar’s office, the program director… You should take the time to plan your degree, but I think there is not enough support when those plans don’t turn out exactly as you’d like.
So here is something a little different: I am am appealing to my knowledgeable fellow students for advice. How can we solve this problem of wait lists? Any ideas?