Registration is a stressful time, with the refreshing of web pages, the clearing of registration bars and the tedious registration times. It can be hard to focus on the big picture: planning a schedule. It takes a lot of prepping and planning to register for four or five classes.
For freshmen especially, registration is overwhelming. We get caught up in professors’ ratings, the grading distributions of the class and the fact that we don’t want early 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. classes.
UT has taken measures to alleviate the stress faced by students. Here enters the UT Planner, which was created by the Office of the Registrar for students to create mock schedules for class planning. However, this resource has room to improve to better student registration.
The UT Planner displays the timing of the class, the professor and the location of the class. The planner also allows students to select classes they want and then pick certain sections of that class depending on timings. Once the user has done all of this, the planner will generate as many schedules as possible for the student to compare. From these schedules the student can choose favorite schedules that they aim to get.
However, the planner does not account for classes potentially being closed. This means either the student has to manually remove each closed class from their options, or the planner will build potential schedules that don’t actually work. If the UT Planner accounted for classes being closed automatically, and thereby removed them from scheduling options, the proposed schedules would be far more accurate.
Since students can’t see which classes are open and closed, however, the planner ultimately gives the students options that aren’t actually available to them. It’s far more tedious to go back and forth between the course schedule and UT Planner and uncheck each option manually.
No student wants to search through 200 possible schedules when over half of them may not even be valid. It makes it much harder for students to pick a schedule they would like to have. Narrowing down the number of classes would make everything simpler. Registration is stressful enough already.
When asked about whether or not this would be helpful, Bethany Bell, assistant registrar at the Office of the Registrar, explained that she did think it would be helpful, however there are limitations.
“The way in which we feed information (to the planner) is to show it all,” Bell said. “This is just because the seat counts are being changed so much within a short amount of time.”
Perhaps, UT could look into updating the availability of classes on the planner daily so there is at least some improvement in accuracy. This way, updating the UT Planner wouldn’t be so overwhelming.
Although this is true, it’s because of this the UT Planner isn’t as accurate as it can be, making it more complicated for students to sift through the different schedules they are provided with. If there was a way for the planner to provide all the information it has, it would be more helpful, especially since some classes remain closed.
Ultimately, the UT Planner is a particularly useful tool that helps students prep in a more organized fashion. However, it would be that much better and increasingly help students if it was amended.
Singh is an undeclared freshman from Cupertino, California.