Scheduling Stress: Course conflictions, website crashes, and overall confusion

Written By Erin Yudt, For The Globe

It is that time of year again! Scheduling for the upcoming spring semester has officially begun. Veterans, athletes and honors students had the opportunity to schedule for courses on Thursday, October 28 promptly at 8:30 a.m. I like many others, because I am an honors student, anxiously staring at my computer screen, waiting for the clock to strike at the exact minute.

I am a journalism major, which is in the School of Communication, and my academic advisor emailed me about a week before scheduling with detailed instructions of how to register for classes, even exact pictures of each step of how it would look on my computer. Some of my friends who are in other schools and did not receive this detailed of an email, an email this far in advance or any email at all. My roommate, who is a dance major, did not receive an email until the day before scheduling, which is absolutely absurd to me. I completely understand that we are adults and that we need to take responsibility, but how are we supposed to know when and how exactly scheduling is supposed to happen if we are not notified in a timely manner or even at all? The lack of consistency in advising students is setting some up for success and others for failure.

Furthermore, this created a lot of stress for my friends and I since we are freshmen and have never had to create a schedule on our own before. We are still getting used to navigating through all of Point Park’s platforms, like PointSync, PointWeb and the actual website. How are we just supposed to know that there are certain areas on PointWeb where we can view our course needs?

I fortunately had the opportunity to meet with my academic advisor the Monday before scheduling, which addressed a lot of my questions and concerns, but this meeting was very brief, as others were waiting to meet with my advisor as well. There should have been scheduled one-on-one meetings instead. The whole time I was just thinking about all the other people waiting, how annoyed they were, and all the other things they probably had to get to, like I did. Additionally, there was only one session before the scheduling date for veterans, athletes and honors students, so if you were not able to attend on that day in the two hour time frame, then you could not meet before scheduling. There was another session on the day of scheduling a few hours after it opened, but I still think that more sessions should have been offered before because as I learned from scheduling for the first time, classes fill up fast.

Some in the School of Communication had to register by a new system called “register by plan.”. I actually liked a lot of what this method had to offer. I was able to view what courses I could take in the spring based on my major and what I have taken this semester. I could even view the rest of my plan over my four years here, but I could not access this feature on the day of scheduling. I was able to essentially create my schedule before scheduling, which was very nice and created far less stress on the day of, but I know a lot of others were not this fortunate.

Overall, I would rate my experience a ⅗. I understand that technology will always have issues when lots of people are trying to get to the same site at the same time, but planning beforehand requires a lot of work, such as sending detailed emails about scheduling much further in advance and being able to go to office hours leading up to the openings for scheduling.

Students’ ability to schedule their classes should not be left up to the mercy of whether their advisors are actually doing their jobs. All advisors should be providing the same helpful services for students across all schools and make the process as simple and painless as possible for everyone involved. Ultimately, we are paying for our educations at Point Park, and we shouldn’t be having better or worse scheduling experiences based on the programs we choose.