News, On Campus, Academics, Administration

“More Fair and Equitable”: BC Implements New Class Registration System

Boston College is switching to a one-day course registration period for each class year, according to an email University Registrar Bryan Jones and the academic services team sent to students on Thursday morning.

“In this new system, no one will have a bad pick time semester after semester, making the registration process more fair and equitable than before,” the email reads.

While each class year previously registered over a two-day period and received randomized pick times, the email said each class will now register on a single day, beginning with the Class of 2024 on Nov. 9. 

Students in the Class of 2024 will receive randomized registration times, while students in the Classes of 2025, 2026, and 2027 will receive registration times based on their last names, according to the email. 

“Last names M–Z will be in Group A, and last names A–L will be in Group B,” the email reads. “Group A will be assigned registration appointments at random between 9 a.m. and 12:45 p.m., while Group B will be assigned slots between 1:00 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.”

Akua Sarr, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs, said the decision to change the registration system came in part from feedback that some students were consistently receiving later registration times.

“With EagleApps, we can manage a 1 day registration period per class and we thought that rotating morning and afternoon would be a more fair process,” Sarr said in an email to The Heights. “So if you get the afternoon on this cycle, you know that you are getting the morning the next time around.”

According to Jones and academic services, pick times will be assigned in an order of A, B, B, A. Group A will register for spring 2024 classes in the first half of the day, followed by Group B receiving earlier registration times for the following two semesters. Group A will then receive early registration times for the fall 2025 semester, and the cycle will repeat.

“Regardless of the student’s last name, the final semester of registration (during the Fall of Senior Year) will be fully randomized,” the email reads.

Ethan Sullivan, senior associate dean for undergraduate programs and chairperson of the Carroll School of Management, said having a rotation of early and later pick times will even out the registration process for students and may help students better plan out their classes.

“Maybe, you know, ‘Hey, every fall I’m going to have an early pick time, so the courses I really want, really need, I’m going to put more weight on trying to get them in the fall,’” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said he anticipates that the new registration system will increase the volume of advising questions on registration days because more students will be picking classes per day. 

“It’s basically going to double, possibly, the amount of volume in terms of questions and advising and other needs for resources,” Sullivan said.

Christopher F. Baum, chair of the economics department, said looking ahead to spring 2024 class registration, the department opened up additional seats in upper-level classes, as economics electives filled up very quickly during fall 2023 registration. It also hired more faculty to teach elective courses and is offering four more electives than the current semester. 

“We have 900 seats available, up from 837 [seats from fall 2023] for the coming semester, and we’re going to take special care to deal with seniors,” Baum said. “I’ve sent out messages to [economics] majors in the Class of 2024 saying, you know, ‘If you really need the major, please let us know and we’ll make sure that you’ve got what you need.’”

Anshika Agrawal, CSOM ’25, said she thinks the new alphabetized registration system will be more fair than the randomized system used in the past.

“It definitely seems better than last year’s because it was random and someone would end up getting bad pick times both semesters, so it’s definitely better than that,” Agrawal said.

Isabella Ayalew, MCAS ’27, said she does not think the new registration system is fair because she has a later registration time this semester and may not be able to take the classes she wants.

“Yeah, I don’t think it’s fair,” Ayalew said. “I don’t think I’ll be getting any of the classes I want.”

According to Sarr, though the new registration system will be an adjustment, it will make class registration more equal for all students.

“Sometimes change is hard, but we think this will be a more fair process and it will also shorten our registration period,” Sarr wrote. 

October 26, 2023