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JMU's enrollment appointments are unfairly designed and cause too much stress.

With JMU going online for the second half of spring semester 2020, students have been faced with the challenges of completing their daily school tasks over the internet. A concern that many students had about online classes was the status of enrollment appointments.

Enrollment appointments are often stressful for a student because it involves trying to enroll in courses that are required for one to graduate with their desired degree. However, with the way that JMU implicates these appointments, students end up frustrated and stressed over the classes they’re not able to take. 

At JMU, enrollment appointments are assigned according to the number of credit hours students have earned in previous years. Upcoming seniors usually choose their classes first, with juniors, sophomores and freshmen following afterward. It may seem like this would be a fair way of allowing students to choose their classes, but as one grows closer to graduating, it becomes more difficult to enroll in the classes that are wanted and needed. If a junior or senior has not finished a gen-ed requirement or cannot get into one of their major or minor courses because of it being filled up, it can be difficult for them to finish their degree requirements in a timely fashion. One must complete all their general education courses as well as their major and sometimes minor courses, in a four year period. If one fails to get these classes at an appropriate semester, it may begin to affect their graduation date. 

Many students try to complete their gen-ed classes during their first two years so that they can focus on their major and minor classes as an upperclassman. However, some gen-ed classes can be unavailable for people with certain majors

An example of this is the Cluster 3 Physical Principles courses. This mandatory gen-ed has 12 classes that students can choose from; however, half of these courses are labeled with an asterisk, which means that they’re for specific majors or require a lab corequisite. The other classes that don’t have asterisks can sometimes be unavailable to take even though they’re not labeled. For the Cluster 3 course, there are a couple of classes not labeled with an asterisk, such as CHEM 120. However, depending on one’s major it can be difficult to get into the course because it is reserved for certain majors. When entering the class name during an enrollment appointment, it sometimes doesn’t give any results for that class or won’t allow a student to take that class because it isn’t required for their major. 

Although students may be able to email a certain professor on being able to override these specific courses, it’s unlikely a professor will do it unless the student is graduating soon. An easy way of avoiding this problem would be for the cluster classes that are only available for those with certain majors be shown only to them. For example, if a SMAD major wanted to take a CHEM 120 course in this cluster but wasn’t able to because only Pre-OT and Chemistry majors were allowed to take the course, then that SMAD major would either not have to take the cluster course in general or have a different course they could take that qualifies for that cluster. 

Enrollment appointment times are another factor that causes many students’ stress. Depending on one’s credit hours, a student may have an enrollment appointment at 8:00 a.m. or 5 p.m. Although these appointments seem fairly reasonable, students may have classes during these times that don’t allow phones or laptops. This can cause students to be unable to attend their appointment on time, which could cause them to miss out on the classes they may need for the upcoming semester. A student should be able to insert different time periods during the day when they’re available on MyMadison, and that could generate a probable time that students could choose their classes. 

For students trying to complete their major and minor requirements, certain courses can be difficult for them to choose from. If someone has just applied for a major or minor and hasn't heard back by the time of the enrollment appointment, it might be hard for them to get into their courses because they may not allow students that aren’t fully admitted into the major or minor yet. Although a student can likely enroll later when they find out whether they got in it’s frustrating trying to rearrange one’s schedule to fit one specific class. Advisors should allow students to enroll in a class even if they haven’t been notified about decisions, and if a student isn’t admitted into the major or minor, then they can drop or swap the course. 

Although enrollment appointments will always be a stressful time for students at JMU, there are ways that the school can ease this stress, especially during a time like this where many students are struggling with completing their online classes. With these specific changes, appointments may help students become more comfortable with enrollment and not stress so much when the time comes to enroll for next semester’s classes. 

Kylee Toland is a sophomore media arts and design major. Contact Kylee at tolandkm@dukes.jmu.edu