Class availability causes student stress

Freshmen, commuters run into scheduling barriers

Written By Hayley Keys, For The Globe

With the spring semester drawing to a close, students have turned to PointWeb in order to pick classes for next fall.

“It’s pretty hard, the availability is low,” Alissity Rosner, a freshman business management and marketing major, said. “They have limited sections and very limited seats, so it’s extremely hard to find what you need.”

While the process of scheduling classes is relatively easy, the limited numbers of classes is causing some underclassmen stress.  

Rosner is a commuter and has a 50-minute drive into the city every day, so she tries to take most classes on Tuesday and Thursday to avoid wasting gas.

“It’s very hard to find courses that are going to specifically relate to my major for those two days,” Rosner said.  

She also expressed concern about not being able to see who was teaching the classes she wanted to take.

“A big thing for me is I don’t want to schedule a course with a professor who I’m unsure of or might have a bad experience with,” Rosner said.

Currently some courses on PointWeb show the professor, but other classes don’t have a specific instructor and simply have “Staff” listed as the professor.

Brianna Quintanar is a freshman forensic science major who also found scheduling to be difficult.

Quintanar said she would look through the list online and decide what classes she wanted in preparation for the day she could officially select the courses.  

“I would pick classes and go back into PointWeb and see that the class I wanted was full,” Quintanar said. “So then I would have to go and look again and reschedule.”

Her major requires multiple science classes, most of which have prerequisite biology or chemistry courses.

“If there is one class and only 18 seats, it fills up quickly,” Quintanar said. “Especially if there are people who were like me and couldn’t get in the class, so they take it later during their sophomore or junior year.”

But it isn’t just major specific classes that are hard to get into, electives can also fill quickly.

“There were only two sections of Spanish classes that were compatible with the schedule I planned out,” Quintanar said.

Scott Spencer, the university’s registrar, said that Point Park is attempting to make the process easier on the student body.

“This year, we’re trying to do something a little different in that we’re trying to create a whole year in advance, not so that you guys can necessarily register in advance, but so you can see what’s coming,” Spencer said.

Spencer explained that the new process would make it easier on students who needed to get certain prerequisites done in order to take more advanced classes.

“If you realize ‘I am going to miss it here, I know it’s coming in the spring,’” Spencer said. “You’ll be able to see that it’s coming down the pipeline.”

A tentative schedule for the Spring 2020 semester is available on PointWeb, which can help students make sure they are still on route to graduate on time even if they cannot get the classes, they need for the fall semester.

“We are working towards hopefully having students schedule their full year at the beginning of the fall semester,” Spencer said. “It’s really just shifting the work instead of making more.”

He also touched on the idea of administrators wanting to keep students on a more specific path in order to know what class sizes they need increase.

“We want to avoid running into this thing where there’s one section that seats 20, but 90 students need it,” Spencer said. “We may not be able to get 90 seats, but we can at least increase it to 45 seats.”

These changes may not affect current students, but the incoming freshman class will likely reap the benefits of the new system.

“I think that if I was able to know in the fall that I already have my classes scheduled for the spring and it’s going to be good for my entire year, then I think that would be really nice,” Rosner said.

Quintanar was more concerned about the different times students are allowed to schedule.

“I think if they didn’t have the freshmen or sophomores schedule so late, there wouldn’t be as many problems,” Quintanar said. “At least that would be fair.”