Students frustrated by those with priority registration

With registration for fall classes around the corner, many Hunter students say they are worried about being boxed out of required classes as they have in the past, and some blame the high number of students who are granted early registration for the issue.

“For the past two years I have tried to enroll in Spanish class to start my foreign language requirement and for two years I was left disappointed,” said Afia Eama, a sophomore majoring in media studies with concentration in journalism. “For a class such as Spanish that thousands of students need to take because of the graduation requirement they should create much more classes and better timings for them.”

According to a Hunter spokesperson, there are six honors programs available to incoming freshmen — Athena, Musa, Roosevelt, Yalow, Nursing, Daedalus — in addition to Macaulay Honors, and “each is built on an academic theme bringing together students who share a common interest in the theme.”

Of the 16,550 undergraduate students that attend Hunter, approximately 500 are in Macaulay Honors and 976 are in one of the six other honors programs offered by Hunter. These 1,450 students are able to register for their classes 24 hours earlier than the rest of the student body, as are student athletes and students with disabilities who also have this privilege. With the athletes and students with disabilities, it comes out to 2,454 students who get this advantage over everyone else.

Getting priority registration “is very helpful in ensuring that I get the classes I need to take towards my major and to complete the courses needed for pre-med,” said Sobia Shahabuddin, a Yalow Scholar majoring in biochemistry. “This perk was part of my scholarship, which I worked very hard to get and I am proud that I get the ability to secure classes before others.”

Aliana Jabbary, a Muse scholar originally from Atlanta, Georgia, who pays out-of-state tuition, said the scholarship was one of the reasons she came to Hunter.

“I understand that I am lucky to have this, but I don’t think it is unfair,” Jabbary said.. “There are many other scholarships at Hunter that I don’t get the benefits of, especially paying out-of-state tuition.”

Since these programs are open only to incoming freshman, the selection is made based on a student’s high school grades and extracurriculars. However, some students believe that this isn’t the best way to recruit potential scholars and that it is unfair to both those who did not know about the programs in high school, and to transfer students.

“Even as an ‘honor’ student, I am a firm believer in the idea that grades do not define your ability to succeed,” said Christina Saint Jean, a Macaulay Honors recipient. “I’ve met people who have gotten Cs in classes but are able to easily explain topics from that very class. I have met students, like me, who are simply not the best test-takers.”

Registering for classes can be particularly stressful for students who must create their class schedule to accommodate their work schedule.

“I spend hours on hours planning my schedule, figuring out what classes I need or want to take, conducting research on the professors teaching that class, considering the timing of the class with my work schedule,” Eama said. “However, when time comes to register especially for smaller sized classes, they are either closed or I am placed on the waitlist. It is very frustrating because then I am on the hunt to salvage my schedule whilst still conducting all the research I did ahead of time all over again for the classes that are open.”

While sympathetic, honors students said they don’t plan on giving up the privilege anytime soon, but that maybe there is a solution.

“There should be a middle ground for this type of issue which doesn’t take away this perk from honors students who worked hard to get it in the first place,” said Shahabuddin.

Added Jean, “I just feel like Hunter should create a system that helps ensure that students are able to take the classes they need.”

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