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Dalhousie students who can’t get into required courses worry they won’t graduate on time

Dal’s staggered registration times cause some students’ required courses to fill up before they can register

Dalhousie University students are expressing concern about the school’s course registration system, leaving them unsure if they will finish their degrees on time. 

Some students fear they will have to postpone their graduation because the registration system prevents them from getting into their required courses by staggering registration times.

That’s the case for Éva Medcof, a second-year marine biology student whose assigned registration time kept her from getting into many of her required courses last year. By the time it was Medcof’s turn to register, her necessary courses were full. The outcome of this year’s course registration will determine whether she will need to tack extra time onto her degree. 

In a statement provided to The Dalhousie Gazette from Dalhousie, the university said the registration time slots provided to students rotate every year “to ensure that no student is negatively impacted by being assigned a later time slot more frequently than other students.”

Medcof said that by the time her 10 a.m. registration slot came around last year, most of the courses she needed were full. 

A lack of academic support

When Medcof realized she couldn’t enroll in her required courses, she started emailing professors, asking if they would make space in their classes.

“One of them made a space for me in the class but the other ones told me that I would just have to wait and hope to get into it next time, that there was nothing that they could do,” she said.

The statement from Dal recommended students meet with academic advisors if they are unable to register for required courses. 

For Medcof, seeing an academic advisor was not helpful. They only advised her to continue checking for availability over the summer.

Getting to graduation

Medcof was able to obtain spots in all but one of her second-year courses by the time September came around. She said the one remaining course she couldn’t register for, Introductory Ecology, is not only a required course for her degree but also a prerequisite for most of the electives she needs in her third year. 

Medcof had to push back her third-year courses until she can fulfill the prerequisite.

This year, Medcof has the earliest time slot for registration. She wants to get into Introductory Ecology during the fall semester in hopes that she will still be able to graduate on time. 

“Unfortunately, now, next semester, I’m kind of a little bit behind,” she said. “And I know that a lot of people are in my situation as well.”

A common problem

Medcof is not alone. Lily Bobier, a second-year biology and psychology student at Dal, is facing similar problems. 

She also recalls having the 10 a.m. time slot and said she was not able to register for three of her biology courses. 

Like Medcof, Bobier visited her academic advisor and received similar advice to continue checking for openings throughout the summer. Using this advice, Bobier was able to register for all of her classes before the fall semester but one; Introductory Ecology. 

“Everything was full,” she said. “I couldn’t get into anything.”

Commitment to students

In the statement, Dal said, “The university is committed to do everything [it] can to help students gain access to the courses they need to fulfill their degree requirements.”

Bobier disputes this, saying no one could help her get into her required courses. 

“There’s only so much they can do,” she said. “The registration system sucks.”


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