I came to Kenyon with the expectation that the student population levels off somewhere around 1,600. But I’m finding that statistic isn’t always the case anymore. For example, whenever course registration rolls around, I find myself eyeing the other students in the room, because I’m calculating how many of them I’m competing with to get into classes. I’m almost never sure I’ll get the courses I want, and the increase in students may only exacerbate this situation.
Kenyon readily sells the prospect of small class sizes to potential students, but those who come for that reason lately find themselves unable to take the classes they want for that very reason. This creates numerous problems for students, one being that students who eagerly anticipate classes all semester find themselves blocked from the courses that made them so excited.
The idea of being in a class with no more than 25 people is enticing to most Kenyon students. Maybe we even chose Kenyon instead of a large university because we didn’t want 100 people in our introductory English class.
I picked Kenyon because I wanted to be part of an intimate class setting where everyone knew each other. Now, it seems like several professors think I’m just another kid who frantically emails them after course registration, begging to be put on the waitlist.
I’ll admit I got lucky in my course registration for my first semester. The second semester was a bit more harrowing — no labs were open, my computer wouldn’t connect to the Internet and has anyone ever told you how hard it is to register for courses through an iPhone?
It seems like an act of divine intervention when some of us walk away from registration with every class we wanted. More often than not, we know the answer to the oft-asked question of “Did you get all of your classes?” is no. Unfortunately, the number of students in the incoming class promises us that this problem won’t go away soon. And if this is the case, I’m not sure if professors are willing to teach more sections of popular classes.
I’ve seen students crawl away from course registration enrolled in nothing. They were blocked from each class they found mildly interesting and had no clue what would happen in their future semester. No one should have to pay as much as they do to attend Kenyon and not get into any of the classes they want.
With the growing student body, particularly from the Classes of 2018 and 2019, Kenyon students can expect to see either of two options unfold: one, classes become even harder to get into on course registration day, or two, the number of spots in classes increase. Of course, both of these scenarios could happen.
We’re playing with a double-edged sword. We want the small classes and we want those classes to be our first choices. Can we have both?
Hannah Lee Leidy ’18 is undeclared from Elizabeth City, N.C. Contact her at leidyh@kenyon.