Section: Opinion

Major course correction

For college kids, not getting into courses you need for your major is a very serious and scary business. As the number of students at Kenyon increases, they can expect it to become harder and harder to get into the classes they need to take.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an op-ed (“Not such a small world after all,” Sept. 24) discussing how the growing student body jeopardizes students’ hopes of taking the classes they want. It’s now time to look beyond students getting blocked from the classes they want and focus on the classes they need to fulfill requirements for their major.

Each major and minor demands a certain number of credits within different areas of study in the department to satisfy the requirements. How can we expect students to satisfy these requirements when they’re competing with a growing body of non-majors to get into the courses they need?

The short answer is we can’t. The limited spots in course registration are not only keeping classes exclusive — they’re making them unattainable to the students who need a specific course at a certain time. If they can’t get into that class, other classes they hope to take in the future are put at risk.

It’s true that many of Kenyon’s courses, especially the upper-level ones, give preference to majors and upperclassmen. But a decent number of students who need to take a certain class are potential majors who haven’t yet declared. They aren’t “majors” but still have a good idea of what they want. Yet as Kenyon’s student body grows, these students face an increasing chance of being blocked from the classes they need to satisfy requirements for their potential major.

I speak from experience: You can see in my bio below that I’m “undeclared,” but I’m also a potential English and psychology double major. First semester of freshman year, I planned out my course schedule for my entire four years at Kenyon as if I were a double major. When you have such a regimented plan, there’s little room for change and error. If you get blocked in course registration from a class you need to fulfill requirements at a certain time, your whole semester schedule and college plan need revision.

I love Kenyon for having small class sizes, but when it threatens my entire college plan, I question the system of course registration. Is it OK for me to lose that spot I really need in Introduction to Research Methods (a requirement for the psychology major) to a student simply looking to satisfy her quantitative reasoning requirement? I don’t want to sound selfish, but my degree is too important for me to be any more generous.

Hannah Lee Leidy ’18 is undeclared from Elizabeth City, N.C. Contact her at leidyh@kenyon.


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