By Emily Hubbard
For one week each semester, students set their alarm clocks for a time of the day they have not seen in months. Class registration week is a time in which St. Lawrence students, especially seniors, scramble to get a seat in their first choice classes for the coming semester. The Academic Planning and Registration System, known as APR, was reformed in 2013, yet some students and faculty believe that many changes still need to be made.
“The amount of time I spent stressing about my schedule and getting into the courses that I needed to graduate began to affect my school work,” said Rachel Vandais ’16. The current APR system has all St. Lawrence students register simultaneously, regardless of their class year or academic standing. This poses a serious issue for seniors, who must compete with younger students for classes necessary for their graduation.
St. Lawrence students have a series of general education requirements, including subjects such as natural science, diversity and humanities. Although these requirements can be taken at any point in a student’s career at St. Lawrence, many wish to get them out of the way as early as possible. Older students who may still need these classes in order to graduate must prioritize in order to gain a seat over the younger students. “I ended up changing my planned schedule again and again after being locked out of courses by underclassmen who still had two to three years to complete the courses and I only had one,” said Vadnais.
The problem that seniors face poses the question: should the APR system be changed to give older students priority? “Even though I’m a freshman, I think that registration should be based on seniority. I know if I was a senior I would want it that way,” said Christiana Galowski ’19. If APR were to open registration to students based on their seniority, although younger students might not receive their first choices for classes, seniors would have an easier time getting a seat in a general education class or a class required for their major.
The current APR system was introduced to St. Lawrence in 2013, replacing the campus created program known as ‘Saints.’ Saints offered priority to older students, but often saw complaints from younger students. “Though seniors were certainly happy to have first choice at all classes, student satisfaction levels for those other than seniors were very low. The Registrar’s Office and others received many complaints each semester, primarily because first year students and sophomore students would find themselves with schedules that reflected none of their top course choices.” said Lorie MacKenzie, university registrar.
While the new system may work better and more democratically, some older students fail to see the positives. APR was introduced based on a “primary desire to increase student satisfaction, since the number of complaints was and had been extremely high for many semesters,” said MacKenzie. The APR system is not perfect, but it provides a more equal opportunity for all students. Although some argue for or against the change back to a seniority-based system, they will have to wait until next semester’s fateful registration week.