Petitioning for courses is inefficient and frustrating for students

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For Union students, signing up for courses can be quite a difficult task. A lot of classes are extremely exclusive, and professors are not likely to stretch the rules on the maximum number of students that can take a class.

Additionally, in order to take a number of key courses, we are forced to go through the petitioning process before our regular selection times. While the exact reasoning behind the petition process is not altogether clear to me, it basically is another roadblock between a student getting into the courses he or she wants.

The students who are given access to the classes they petition for seem to be selected through a random process. Often, I hear stories of students with rejected petitions for courses which they absolutely needed for a major, while students who seemingly need the course less are granted access.

Although I do see how petitioning for classes can help attempt to give priority to students who need or deserve the classes most, I think it often fails in this purpose. When going through the petition process, students are required to state a reason why they need the course, ranging from it being necessary to fulfill general education requirements to a required class for a major.

As more terms pass, some courses become exceedingly important to take in order to graduate with an acceptable education. Additionally, going abroad also eliminates a term in which we are able to take certain required classes. As a sophomore, I was looking to take my lab requirement this year as I needed this credit and am hoping to go abroad next spring. In order to get into a lab, I needed to petition, and I did this.

I wrote my reasoning as needing the required lab and that I wanted the course this spring in order to my anticipation of being abroad next spring. My petition was then rejected, and this was quite frustrating, as I will now have to choose a different lab to take and take it next fall or winter.

What made my rejection even more discouraging was hearing that many freshmen were accepted into the course, even those who were not majoring in the subject. Although I am sure there is a reason behind wanting a course to be more open for freshmen than sophomores, in the moment I was quite confused why students who had more time to complete the requirement were chosen over those with less time.

Similarly, a few of my friends petitioned for the class as well and were also rejected, so it seems the course is simply unavailable to sophomores. Aspects like this of the petitioning process are what make me dislike it as a practice, as we are unaware of the ranking system for students who petition, and are then left perplexed when we are not allowed into classes.

If we had known that the course was tailored to not accept sophomore or older students, my friends and I certainly would have decided to petition for a lab that we had more of a chance of getting into. While I do understand that there needs to be some sort of system to decide who gets into classes and who does not, I am not sure if petitioning does the job.

While I am sure it does help professors fill their classes appropriately, I simply wish the process was more open to students and more transparent on how and why certain decisions are made.

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