Those attending a community college know how difficult it can be to get classes. The PCC website says current registration priority places students with the highest number of completed units since spring of 1982 near the top of the list.
First and second year students especially face a challenge of getting on the waist list of a class that is in high demand. It isn’t uncommon for some classes to be completely full within the first few days of registration opening so students with later registration dates don’t have a chance to get in.
The Board of Trustees approved at its March 7 meeting a new policy to start giving first year experience (FYE) students higher priority as to help quicken the transfer process, but the initiative will only seem to hinder a majority of other students and should not be pursued.
When the Strategic Enrollment Management Planning Principles are implemented, students straight out of high school will find it easier to get an English or math class before someone who has been at PCC for longer. In the next few years, those students who have earned their way to a better registration date will be pushed back again.
It’s easy to see how some will be upset at that change. Every community college student knows how important his or her registration date is, and even a few hours can ruin a planned schedule.
The state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office recommended for the 2011-2012 year a way to prioritize registration, saying that continuing students who are making satisfactory progress toward transfer or graduation should be given top priority. New students who have completed certain requirements, like applying for financial aid or counseling, are given next priority. Finally, non-matriculated students, students looking to just learn, and students who aren’t making progress towards an educational goal will wait until open registration.
The California Community Colleges Student Success Task Force put forward similar recommendations as well, calling for priority for students advancing their academic needs.
Not all students are looking to transfer though. Many students are at a community college to learn new skills for a job. There are also students who are looking to expand their knowledge by taking classes in different areas. A community college isn’t just about transferring to a four-year university, or obtaining an associate’s degree. It’s also a learning experience.
The new policy only reinforces the idea that a community college is a simple stepping-stone to a university, and it isn’t fair to students who have worked to earn their registration date.
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