By SAVANNAH BOYD
Registering for classes is always stressful, especially for student athletes. While registering for classes, student athletes need to try their best to keep mornings open for rehabilitation, mid-day open for away-game departures and lifting, afternoons open for pre-practice treatment, filming, and practice and evenings open for games.
As a student athlete, I have experienced the panic and stress of trying to register for classes that worked well with my sports schedule but were already full by the time I was able to register. My sophomore year, I needed to take a business prerequisite that was already full, so I had to sign up for the class offered later in the day. Because of the later class time, I had to leave early or miss this class weekly because of departure times for away games. I informed the professor of these dates in the beginning of the semester so he was understanding; however, I still felt the anxiety of missing class content and losing participation points from my absences.
I propose that student athletes should be able to have preferential registration while registering for the semester in which their traditional season takes place. Preferential registration means that student athletes would be given a “head start” of 15 minutes before their original registration time. This will allow student athletes to register before their classmates but not completely disrupt the seniority based system.
For example, the soccer team’s traditional season is in the fall, so soccer players would get preferential registration for the fall semester only.
According to the UMW athletics website, there are eight fall teams, four winter teams and nine spring teams. Because winter teams’ traditional season is during both semesters, they would be able to get preferential registration for both semesters. With my proposal, 12 teams would register early in the fall and 13 in the spring.
“I totally agree that we should get to register first. Because our schedules are so restricted with lift and practice times, it makes it difficult to pick classes,” said sophomore Tess Siburn. “By the time we can register, most of the classes that work with our lacrosse schedule are already full.”
To say the least, in-season athletes have small windows of availability to get the classes they need and they are often already full by the time they get to register. General education and prerequisite classes typically need to be taken in a certain order and fill up quickly with the small class sizes offered here. Therefore, if there are no available sections that works with a student athletes schedule, this can halt progress of completing classes needed to declare a major or complete certain requirements.
If a student is not able to register for a class they need, sometimes they will reach out to the professor to see if they can be force added.
“Because of basketball, we have to have our classes over by 3 o’clock both semesters. I have had to miss out on some classes I would have loved to take and have had to try to force add classes that I needed for my major,” said senior marketing major Alannah Miller. “A lot of professors were understanding and would force add me if they could, but not every professor was able to.”
Other schools, like Lehigh University, give preferential registration times to in-season student athletes. The student athletes are allowed to register 30 minutes before their normal registration times.
Craig Chick, a senior at Lehigh University, said, “Registering early in-season is very helpful for athletes because it helps ease the process of time management during the busiest times of our lives. Having that little extra time to register for classes that work with a busy athletic schedule is crucial to not only academic success but athletic as well.”
I believe this registration change is important for student athletes who put just as much time into their sport, as in the classroom. I think all student athletes would really appreciate this change, as it is crucial to decrease stress and improve the UMW student athlete experience.