How Students Feel About New Passtime Unit Limits

Illustration by Bridget Rios

Gia Han Do

Staff Writer

On Oct. 26, UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) sent out an email to students announcing new pass time unit limits for winter  2022.

Pass times started about one week ago. The Bottom Line reached out to UCSB students on how they feel about the changes.

“I don’t like it, that will be the first thing,” said Emily Youngblood, a third-year biology student at UCSB. “It adds to much more stress. Now I’m not only stressing out about Pass 1, but I’m staying stressed for the rest of Pass 2 and 3. It’s not helpful at all.”

This change doesn’t make sense to a lot of students. “Especially for upper-division classes, freshmen and sophomores aren’t going to sign up for those anyways,” Youngblood added. “I don’t understand why they can’t add more classes or expand the number of seats in each class [instead].”

Many students believe this is not the answer to a more deeply-rooted problem. For example, many departments are understaffed. UCSB continues to admit more students than can be supported, as pointed out by Bryan Zamora, a third-year computer science major.

“Physics 3, which requires a lab, has 250 students enrolled in the lecture. But there are only 60 spaces for the lab,” said Zamora. 

For some upperclassmen, the new change seems unwelcome, but it won’t throw a wrench in their plans. Craig Schneider, a fourth-year communication major said, “I have to prioritize and sign up for classes I know I really need.” He went on to say that there were many upper-division communication classes with space — he will probably be fine. 

Max Ryan, a fourth-year student, said the new unit limits means he has to plan more carefully and leave some of his fate up to chance. “I guess it forces me to only choose classes I truly need, but that hardly qualifies as a benefit.”

Being in the College of Creative Studies (CCS) with a writing and literature major, this change in pass time limits has worked out fine for him so far. However, Ryan also added he can easily imagine how it could be a problem for others who are concerned about graduating on time.

Other seniors have not been as fortunate. One comment on the UCSB Reddit forum reads, “as a senior, I’m so stressed about this new system like I’m watching everything I need just fill up. I seriously don’t know how I’m gonna get any more of my major or minor classes during pass 2. This is so stupid.”

Many are considering the possibility of graduating late. 

One person noted that seniors not being able to get into classes needed for their major is more of an issue of their department not offering enough seats for declared students. “Very likely, many seniors were still experiencing this issue with the 13 unit limit — just not the ones with the earliest pass times.”

They also pointed out that this change is not meant for people to get into the classes they want, but rather so that people with the worst pass times, i.e. freshman, have something to sign up for.

One student said, “I was able to get the class I needed and had a lot of flexibility to find a good GE to take. Last year all GEs were full by the first pass time and I had to take whatever was left. I appreciate this change.”

Another student agreed, “2 years ago many freshmen had to sign up for 2 or 3 cross-campus enrollment classes because there were literally no spots in any class they could take by the time their first pass came around. If the last freshmen can still enroll in 2 UCSB classes during pass 1, the university is going to count that as a win.”

Overall, the general consensus is that the new pass time unit limit is placing undue stress onto upperclassmen, especially seniors who need to graduate on time, but that it seems necessary and the only other option to help those with late pass times. Increasing the total number of classes or the number of seats in each class would have been a perhaps more favorable solution, but can be more difficult to implement over the short term. For now, the only thing we as UCSB students can do is try to adapt and use whatever resources are provided to us as we cope with this new change.