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Students register for courses through Penn InTouch. Credit: Eric Zeng

Students are frustrated by the lack of flexibility in scheduling as they attempt to register for online classes for the fall semester. 

After attempting to register for two asynchronous classes scheduled to be held at coinciding times, students have said the College denied their requests to allow them to register for the classes and override the time conflict. The asynchronous classes students sought to enroll in did not have any synchronous meetings planned during the mostly online semester — eliminating any scheduling issues.  

Rising College junior Rachel Swym said she tried to register for two classes, one for her english major and one for her science, technology, and society minor, but was unable to. She hopes to take both classes this fall, because she plans to study abroad during the initial semester of her senior year after her fall 2020 study abroad program was canceled in early June. 

Swym emailed various people, including her professors, department heads, and the College office, which is responsible for handling administrative needs, academic advising, and programming for students in the College. While her professors both gave her permission to enroll in both of her desired classes, she was ultimately unable to register for both classes because the College office refused to grant her a registration permit.

"I have been trying so hard to take both [classes] because this is probably the last opportunity I will ever have to take either of them," Swym said. 

The College office did not respond to multiple requests for comment. 

Rising College junior Rayan Bilal said she also tried to register for two time-conflicting classes because she views this as her last opportunity to take them, as one of the classes is only offered in the fall and the other is not offered every year. 

Credit: Emily Xu

College Dean Paul Sniegowski said there may be more flexibility in scheduling as the fall semester gets closer.

"With the coronavirus and everything going on, I don't have much going on, and I just thought it would be a good idea to get as many credits in as possible," Bilal said.

In trying to register for the classes, Bilal reached out to College Dean Paul Sniegowski, who told her there is a possibility that as the beginning of the fall semester gets closer, there will be some more flexibility in scheduling.  

Sniegowski, whose office is in the College office, did not respond to a request for comment.

Like Swym, rising Wharton sophomore Annie Vo wanted to register for OIDD 101: Introduction to OIDD for her Operations, Information, and Decisions major and CIS 121: Data Structures and Algorithms for her Computer and Information Science minor during the advanced registration period. 

When she reached out to her professors, the CIS professor said it was not possible and the OIDD professor said to reach out again once Penn released its decision for fall semester operations. 

Once Penn announced it will follow a hybrid model of instruction at the end of June, Vo reached out to the OIDD professor, who said they were unsure how it would work logistically. They told her to reach out to the Office of the University Registrar, which told Vo to contact the Wharton office three weeks later.

The Wharton office and the Office of the University Registrar did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Rising College sophomore Lily Sutton said she wanted to register for two classes at the same time because extracurricular activities will be limited this semester, leaving her with extra time.

She decided she wanted to register for LING 310: Linguistic History of English, a seminar that was scheduled for the same time as another class she was already registered for, BIOL 221: Molecular Biology and Genetics. She reached out to the professor of the class, and found out that it was being held asynchronously, so she would not have any time conflicts. 

The College Office told her she was not allowed to do this, but the professor tried to find a way for Sutton to take the class by offering for her to take the class as an independent study, Sutton said. Ultimately, she decided not to take the class at all.

Rising Engineering sophomore Anna Wang, however, was able to register for two time-conflicting classes during advanced registration. 

Wang, who is majoring in Digital Media Design — an interdisciplinary major with courses in the Engineering School, the Annenberg School of Communication, and the School of Design — is currently registered for CIS 460: Introduction to Computer Graphics, a lecture, and CIS 262: Automata, Computability, and Complexity, a recitation that occurs at the same time this fall.  

Registering for two classes happening at the same time is common for her major, she said, adding that she knows a peer who was able to do this last semester. 

The Engineering office and Nursing office and did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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