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The Current Waitlist System Should be Put on Hold

The Current Waitlist System Should be Put on Hold
Illustration by Allie Sullberg

Linus Li
Staff Writer

As a third year student still attempting to satisfy some pre-major requirements, I have woken up in the beginning days of recent quarters hoping that I got into some of the classes I desperately needed. There were times when I was able to enroll in the courses I wanted; there were times when I was the 40th person on the waitlist walking into the lecture hall hoping to find extra seats; and there were times when I was let in the class until an enrolled student showed up half an hour later, at which point I was asked to leave.

Prior to the 2014-2015 school year, the waitlist system was based on the students who physically showed up to class on the first day, thus allowing those who were serious about attending to show their professors their desire to be added into the course. However, as the new waitlist system begins to roll out, this tradition is due for a change.

With the recently implemented waitlist system on GOLD, students are automatically added to waitlisted courses should spaces become available. In addition, these students can also enroll in alternative courses until they are added to their desired courses. I found it much easier to secure 12 units since the “linked” courses do not count against the unit maximum. However, these changes have done little to ease the frustration of students crashing courses across campus.

Students of certain majors, myself included, often find themselves hearing about quite a few classes that are only offered once every academic year. Imagine the desperation these students face while being on the waitlist. With the linking option, these students are now able to enroll in other major courses while waiting for a spot in the course. The waitlisted courses do not count against the unit maximum set on GOLD so long as it is linked to a class the student is officially enrolled in.

I am certain that by criticizing this new waitlist system  I am not only speaking for myself, but for many Gauchos trying to graduate on time or maintaining full-time student status in order to qualify for financial aid. In the previous week, I was asked to leave in the middle of one of my classes because an enrolled student showed up. I was embarrassed, confused, and frustrated. Still, I awkwardly walked out hoping nobody saw me just so I would not be identified as “that guy who got kicked out.”

The confusing part was because I chose to be on the waitlist understanding the chances of being asked to leave before the start of class should there not be enough room to accommodate more students, not expecting to be asked to leave in the middle of activities. I would much rather have been asked to leave in the beginning, with the desperate hope of rejoining the class should someone decide to drop.

Frequently checking my waitlist number on GOLD was just part of the story. The worse part was that despite already being on the waitlist, I still found myself sitting through many of the same lectures and sessions. As much as I feel that this is unnecessary, I nonetheless decided to attend since I never knew when my professors or teaching assistants would distribute the “crasher list,” identifying which of their students were looking to be added into the course in the process.

I have always thought opting for the waitlist on GOLD was a clear indication for my intention to join the class should a space becomes available. What is the point of having students show up to an overpopulated classroom making everyone uncomfortable when there are plenty of resources online for students who are desperate for a spot in the class to utilize?

Because of the troubles I have encountered under the new waitlist system, I am once again falling behind my graduation plan, once again in danger of not even qualifying for the minimal financial aid I am receiving, and once again wondering when I will shake Chancellor Henry Yang’s hand.

After all the drama, though I am still not a fan of the systems which have prioritized waitlisted students based on computer technology and students’ attendances, I do think something can be done. Instead of requiring waitlisted students to be present during the first multiple class sessions until a spot opens up, perhaps a better way would be to make it optional for the waitlisted students to attend classes and to provide these students access to GauchoSpace and to all materials. As a result, all enrolled students and crashers can enjoy equal opportunities to learn, and crashers will not have to worry about falling behind once they are added to the course, while making sure that no one will be subject to an overcrowded learning environment.

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Linus Li is a third year economics major and statistical science minor. He is the only child in his family. He has always dreamed of hugging a koala, but ended up taking a selfie with a kangaroo instead. He aspires to live in a beach house. He could be found swimming in the recreation center, attempting to study in the library, or taking long day time naps in his apartment. He spends every second of his free time thinking about the coolest skydive selfie he can do. He can be found on Instagram at @linus_thatlion
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