Sacramento State’s waitlist policy for enrolling in classes continues to be a source of frustration for many students on campus.
The waitlist is set up to deal with students who add a class even after the class enrollment is at full capacity.
Prior to the first week of school, the waitlist’s function is to automatically add students to classes if an enrolled student drops the class.
The first Friday prior to the first week of school at 6 p.m., the waitlist disappears. It no longer matters. Whatever ranking a student had becomes irrelevant.
Senior film major Carlos Grajeda was affected by this policy for the first time this semester, when he was unable to get enrolled in a class he needed.
Since he is a senior, he was able to pick his classes early, but the school’s website blocked him from enrolling in the class because it said he needed a prerequisite to enroll, even though he had already taken that class at a community college. By the time he cleared up the problem, the class was full and he was placed on the waitlist.
Another student was chosen for the class despite the fact he was No. 1 on that class’ waitlist.
“Usually, when I show up on the first day of class, seniors get priority, so I wasn’t expecting to have any issues,” Grajeda said.
He said the current policy is fine the way it is as long as graduating seniors receive priority.
“I think it’s fair, but not all teachers honor the waitlist,” Grajeda said.
Kimo Ah Yun, chair of Communication Studies department, said he likes the way the current system is run.
He said dropping the waitlist ranking is a good idea because it gives faculty more flexibility in adding the students who need the class the most.
“I want to help that senior out who is close to graduating,” Ah Yun said. “It’s nice to say, ‘I’m going to choose a different system for adding students.’ It lets professors give preference to the student who is close to 120 units, over a student who has 32, and will have more time later on to take the course.”
The school’s policy of removing the waitlist has been around for years, but some students would like to see the school adopt an alternative method.
Calvin Rusch, senior government-journalism major, said the policy of dropping the waitlist on the first week of class should be changed.
“If they are going to have a policy of having one, I think it should be kept, and not dropped the first week because it gives students false hope or a false sense of security,” Rusch said.
Rusch said he does not see the point of having a waitlist in the first place since instructors pick and choose who they accept.
“It’s kind of ridiculous to have a waitlist,” Rusch said. “Why have a list if it is just going to be dropped and ignored and not used for the purpose it’s meant for.”
English Professor Susan Wanlass said the waitlist is very important and she tries to honor it. She also understands though why it has to be dropped every semester.
“I tend to look at it by seeing who needs the class the most,” Wanlass said. “If there are two or three who are seniors but not at the top, I’ll usually choose them.”
Sociology Professor Kathryn Hadley said she doesn’t tend to use the waitlist, instead opting to see who needs to add the class the most.
“It doesn’t tell the full story of where the student is on their way to graduation,” Hadley said. “It should add important information such as units they need to fulfill their major requirements.”
Grajeda said he has noticed most teachers will add students if they show up the first day and ask who is on their way to graduating.
“I hadn’t been affected before this, and because of what I had seen I didn’t expect it to be a problem,” Grajeda said.
Rusch considers the removal of the waitlist unfair since it gives those who added the class later an equal shot with those who chose the class earlier.
“When it’s dropped, everyone who has a higher position on the waitlist is put on an even footing with everyone else which makes it more competitive,” Rusch said.
He said he does not understand the need to prioritize seniors since they have a head start on fellow underclassmen when organizing their schedule for the semester.
“Seniors have an earlier registration date, so they have had every opportunity to enroll in classes before a sophomore does,” Rusch said.
Being unable to add the class he needed to complete his major worried Grajeda.
“It was really frustrating to me,” he said. “I was worried about not graduating on time and having to stay an extra semester. Then I would have had to worry about tuition and expenses for another semester.”
Everything ended up working out for Grajeda the day after he was unable to get the class he needed.
“I wasn’t able to get that class, but I was able to talk to another teacher who taught a class I was expecting to take next semester and he was able to accommodate me in that class,” he said.
Rusch thinks more than anything else the school should be more consistent when initiating policies such as this one.
“They shouldn’t have mixed or inconsistent policies,” Rusch said. “They should have one policy that everyone understands, and is clear and isn’t randomly dropped.”
Sacramento State policy on waitlisting
You may add yourself to a waitlist for a class when it is at full capacity. The waitlist does not guarantee a seat in the class. You may enroll only up to nine units total for the waitlist. You must be eligible to enroll in the class in order to add yourself to the waitlist. The waitlist will not override a time conflict with another class. You may check your wait list placement anytime. Waitlists are erased once courses begin.
Source: Sacramento State website
Sean Keister can be reached at [email protected]