An Unspoken Competition of Collegiate Life: Class Registration Season


On a list of the most stressful times for students during a collegiate school year, class registration season sits objectively at slot number three, right behind Midterms and Finals week.  

Fairmont State University opened class registration for Spring graduates on Monday, October 10, and then three days later seniors, graduate students, and priority students were granted access. Four days later, on October 17th, juniors were allowed to register for their classes. The pattern continued and another three days later, sophomore students were finally able to register. Lastly, on Monday, October 24, freshman students were finally able to take the scraps that were left after other students registered for their classes.  

Of course, the break between the days makes sense in terms of not overloading the system with an influx of students trying to register at once. However, due to a limited number of classes, sections of courses offered occasionally overlap with labs, other academic obligations, and options for class requirements. This results in many vital courses that are not offered every semester being full before those who had to wait for over a week to see if there are any spots remaining. Conveniently, registration dates were set just as midterms were ending and that was just the icing on the stress cake that comes with being a college student. Many students, like myself, have learned to set time aside, days in advance, to perfectly craft their schedules for the next semester. With the plan of action in motion, students are to meet with their advisors to gain an access code, which then may be used on the day of their registration date.  

With a planned schedule in hand, pin at the ready, and certainty that the necessary classes do not overlap with one another, students should have no issue with registration, right? Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world and the unspoken competition between students has already begun to heat up as registration season has kicked off. One minute you’re cool and confident, and the next, you’re frantically attempting to see if there is another class that is taught at a different time, day, or even if there is a slim chance that another course will fulfill that requirement. You’re stuck. You’re unsure about what to do and the only thing that can be done is to message an advisor or an instructor and hope that they will let you into their course. Other than that, it becomes an agonizing waiting game to see if someone may drop the course and a seat becomes available. That does happen, on occasion, but it is more likely to happen a week or so after the new semester has begun, thus setting back a student who may have joined the class later than their peers. The issue of over-capacity in smaller and more intimate classes becomes much greater as students get further in their degrees and options for a solution shrink concurrently. 

This problem is not only an occurrence at Fairmont State but at many institutions across the country. Small state schools, large institutions, and even prestigious universities all struggle with registration week, and often their students are met with unhelpful advice. They are practically told, “Too bad, you can wait and see if a seat may open up later on.” Many college students on TikTok have all expressed their grievances with registration week this year and raked in support, views, and an uproar of agreement from other college students. Registration season may be the most competitive event of a semester, but it should not be. There is no need for students to have to endure more stress. And when they reach out for help, they should not be met with unaccommodating individuals who couldn’t care less about a student’s anticipated graduation date.