Student Voice

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Opinion

Class availability affects retention

December 8, 2006

Had I known that as of 2001 only 24.9 percent of UW-River Falls students graduated in four years, I never would have even applied. The overall four-year graduation rate at all schools in the UW System wasn’t much different, at 26.6 percent.

On the UWRF Web site, prospective students are told that the amount of time it takes to complete a degree will depend on the choices they make as a student. It goes on to say students are encouraged to take an average of 15 credits per semester in order to graduate in four years.

As for myself, I have taken an average of 15 credits per semester and am on schedule for when I should graduate. The number of credits I still need in order to graduate isn’t the problem — the problem is the courses I need are not offered.

The UWRF Web site goes on to say, “Last year, UW-River Falls had the second highest four-year graduation rate in the University of Wisconsin System.” However proof of this is not provided in the form of numbers. The only statistics I was able to find were from 2001, which stated only about one-fourth of UWRF students graduated within four years. I’m sure prospective students and their parents wouldn’t be as impressed if they knew that so few students graduate in four years.

It is often impossible to register for the recommended classes until a couple semesters later. At least this is what I have found in my major. I love my major and do not want to rip on the department, but something desperately needs to be done.

A couple friends of mine who have the same major are experiencing more difficulties getting into classes. They registered at a later time than I did and even now in their junior year they were only able to get into one class for their major. That’s ridiculous.

As I looked through eSIS I noticed many professors teach only a few classes per semester. I’m sure there is a logical explanation for this, but it makes life even more stressful for overwhelmed college students when their dream of getting a degree and getting on with their lives is crushed.

When I was a freshman I was told I need not worry about a minor until my junior year. I ended up switching minors a couple times, which meant I didn’t start my current minor until spring semester of my sophomore year. Though this was before my previous advisor told me I needed to start worrying about a minor, it created some problems.

Most courses I need have prerequisites, so I wasn’t able to get into the classes until I had taken the 101 course, which I am taking right now. Next semester there is one course offered for my minor that is required. J-term and summer courses are not available for this minor, so that is not an option. As for next fall — my senior year — only two of the required courses are offered, and they’re in the 300 and 400 levels, which worries me since I haven’t been able to take most of the 100- or 200-level classes yet.

You may think I am just complaining because I didn’t plan things out well enough. But for those of you who know me personally, you know I am an overly organized, planning person who is simply becoming frustrated.

I know that many people, especially those in my same major, are frustrated with the inability to register for the courses we need since there aren’t enough openings. I hope that in the future, students who plan ahead and work hard will have the option of graduating in four years if they’re attending a four-year college.

Nicole Aune is a student at UW-River Falls.

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