So who else had a tough time registering for classes in the last few weeks? Every semester, there is an agonizing one-week stretch where undergrads are forced to stay up until the early hours of the morning to register for classes. The process is supposed to go smoothly, but it never does.
The registration process is flawed long before countless students sit in front of their computers and try, unsuccessfully, to log on to OWLnet. It begins with the fact that the services Temple offers leave a lot to be desired. That is not to say that there aren’t some good advisers, but many of them do not seem to be in sync with one another. There are horror stories of students going to one adviser and hearing one thing and then visiting another and getting yelled at for taking all of the wrong classes.
Following the DARS is usually the way to go, but even that system has its flaws. It is not the easiest thing to decipher, yet it can make decisions a whole lot easier. However, some students’ DARS have wrong information and they get stuck taking the wrong classes that are meaningless for graduation. Journalism students who began in 2002 have different requirements than those who matriculated in 2003. Fall 2004 freshmen and transfers have radically different requirements. This normally would not be a bad thing, except that some students have a DARS report with different requirements than what they actually need.
It is understandable that the curriculum is evolving every year, but it’s not acceptable for such massive mixups to be made. College is supposed to be a four-year experience, but Temple seems to have more fifth- and sixth-year students than any place around. While this is understandable if a student changes his major a year or two in, it is inexcusable when students are advised to take an extra honors class or some intro class that does not count toward graduation.
“I feel that [advisers] really don’t give you any direction,” said Benta Samuelson, a sophomore criminal justice major. “They [ask] what you want and you are supposed to tell them how to fix your problem. Essentially they want you to advise yourself.”
Many are following Samuelson’s route and shunning advising sponsored by the university. Too many feel pressured to take certain classes. One student even said that advisers practically forced her to change her major during the advising sessions for incoming freshmen. That is totally unacceptable as advisers are here to help guide, not to pressure, students to take certain classes or majors.
An idea that has been thrown around to improve this situation in Temple Student Government meetings is that advisers should spend a semester in every college, becoming well-versed in all aspects of the university. Advisers can be more helpful with questions that students have regarding classes and requirements that are outside of their school.
While that is a good idea in theory, it leaves much to be desired, as most students would definitely want to go to advisers who know everything about their respective colleges. It is not too far-fetched to say that it could take years for an adviser to learn the complicated curriculum of one college.
“On the face value, it seems inefficient because it takes so long to learn the requirements of different years as they shift,” said Larry Stains, director of the magazine journalism sequence. “On the other hand, moving around can spread good ideas as advisers could carry the best systems from one college to another.”
To simply log on to OWLnet and register for classes is hard enough, so why should we be sabotaged before even trying? Temple’s academics have come a long way under the current administration and will hopefully continue to prosper under the next president.
Advising needs to be a top priority as it continues to be one of the more negative aspects of student life at this school.
John Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.