Coming soon: an enrollment headache


Maria Echeverry

Image by Maria Echeverry.

Story by Whitney Silkey, Assistant News Editor

Every weekday I wake up and walk to class, admiring the beauty that is Baker University. The beauty is easily recognizable, especially in the fall when campus is surrounded by leaves changing colors. But the beauty of Baker University is not always as readily apparent when you wake up at 7 a.m. to enroll in courses for the next semester.

To be quite honest, course enrollment is the only thing I truly hate about Baker. Ever since I enrolled for my second semester of my freshman year, I have never had a smooth enrollment day, and many of my peers have shared similar experiences. What seems like it should be a somewhat smooth process turns into one of the most annoying chores of each semester.

On my first enrollment day in the fall of 2014, I felt adequately prepared to complete the process on my own. I had heard from upperclassmen that it was a smart decision to enroll at the library, because the wifi connection in the residence halls was not always reliable. So after waking up at the crack of dawn, dragging myself to Collins Library and finding an open computer amidst the havoc that is enrollment day, I began the process. Following the directions from a campus email on how to select the courses I needed and enroll through the MyBaker portal, I opened up the online registration and typed in my first course.

Voilá. Almost immediately I encountered Roadblock No. 1. How in the world do you find a specific course? There are only like 15 search bars options to use. I started with the main search bar, but once that failed I decided to use the course code search (Pro tip: use the “quick add” search bar. It’s the easiest, in my opinion). That helped for the first couple of courses, but after a while the system stopped loading.

Roadblock No. 2: The system froze on the loading screen. I had hit the roadblock nearly every Baker student has experienced at some time: system error. This is when you sit there watching the system just spin around; meanwhile, you’re losing your spot in that course you really needed that fills up in five milliseconds. Each time enrollment rolls around, the enrollment portal has glitches or fails to load correctly, creating a headache for students. Every. Single. Time.

Here comes roadblock No. 3: Popular courses often fill up quickly, usually because only one class section is offered. Most often this issue occurs with Quest courses beyond the freshman level. I have heard multiple stories about how students did not make it into the one Quest course that fit in their schedule, and as a result they could not enroll in Quest for the upcoming semester.

Students should not be forced to sit out a semester of Quest because of limited classes and times. To fix this, I would first suggest varying the times Quest classes are offered. Limited class sections do not only occur with Quest courses, though. Perhaps administrators should think about offering more sections of the courses that always fill up quickly because of student demand.

Enrollment creates a lot of added stress for students due to the multiple roadblocks that they too often encounter. Waking up at 7 a.m. can turn into the least of their worries when they lose their spot in a course due to system error.

Course enrollment is simply a pain. Hopefully soon, some improvements can be made to make the process a little smoother and less of a burden for students. That would surely make Baker an even more beautiful place to be, even if the iconic campus trees aren’t currently changing colors for fall.