The waitlist has taken some time to get used to. It has been a positive change for the university however, and will help relieve some of the pressure of growth.
So apparently, the waitlist works.
Sure, it is the last resort and maybe a little bit of a false hope. But it works.
It works because it allows the department to see student interest or the need for a class in the current semester, it keeps the student constantly informed of their status for class registration and in the long-term, the data it tracks will help departments to more accurately schedule an adequate number of sections.
In the short term, departments have access to data about the demand of a class –something which cannot be done with add cards. Because of this, departments can evaluate whether they have enough interest in a class to open another section.
Eva Bernfeld, director of Academic Scheduling and Curriculum said, “We have opened up 496 new sections since October registration [for spring].”
While not all of these sections were added because of the demands seen on the waitlist, it makes up a good part of it. When students get on waitlists, it is the same as asking a department to open another section, only instead of a representative few people making the request, the number of people on a waitlist can be quantified.
For students, unless a new section opens, signing up for a waitlist may seem like more of a cause for concern than a better chance at getting into the class; if one signs up for the waitlist of a fall class during the spring, it can be months before knowing whether or not a seat will be available in the classroom. But taking a chance on the unknown can pay off, whether a spot opens up or the demand is so great other sections are added.
Many students become concerned when they realize that the only notification one receives about an open spot in the class for which they are on the waitlist is through their UVLink email. From the time the first student on the waitlist receives the email notification of that opening, there are 24 hours to take that spot. Once that period is up, registration for that spot is available to the next student on the list.
While it is unfortunate when a student misses that notification, it is something that can be avoided, either through checking UVLink email regularly or forwarding that inbox to the student’s primary email account. But for the most part, the student benefits from the system.
Administrators believe it increases the fairness of the adding system, too. Rather than hoping you can make a better argument to the teacher than the guy behind you, the waitlist turns the game into a more fair first come, first serve arrangement.
“It’s more fair … I think students are able to get into the classes they want without the extra legwork,” said Registrar LuAnn Smith.
The waitlist has given data where there was none before, too. For departments, not only can they add sections when they see the need, but they can track patterns in which classes and departments are growing. For future scheduling, this means that not only will they know in advance which classes are in demand, but they can make a better estimate as to how many additional teachers they will need for those courses and how many classrooms will need to be scheduled.
With so much growth of the student body, this data is vital for the school to have as it considers how to handle that growth.