Class Registration: Advisors and Class Caps

Dakota Roach –

At the end of course sign-up for spring semester, concerns for some students continue to circulate.

Which professors are teaching psychology next semester? What statistics class still has openings? The class is full, but will the professor still let me take it?

For most of us, many of these questions have already been answered, but some students are still in doubt about what courses they will be taking, or what their final schedule will look like. This is a time when panic can sometimes take over as the stress begins to mount. So around this time it pays to step back, breath, and have a word with your advisor.

Advisors know the many oddities and tricks of the Blueprint and excel in giving solid advice, although their services are often sorely underused. “If [students] did what they are supposed to do, there wouldn’t be enough office hours,” says Professor Nick Capo, Head of the English Department. Advisors are there to help before and after course sign up, existing as a wealth of knowledge and resources on their students’ behalf. An advisor may know when something is going to be offered or what alternative courses can be taken to replace the ones you couldn’t manage to get into.

“Talk with your advisor,” history professor Robert Kunath commented. “Your advisor is there to work with you.” On this issue, Professor Capo agrees, “Talk with your advisor. Tell them what you want.”

For many students, the issue of a full class can be resolved with a simple trip to a professor’s office, and a convincing plea to break the class cap for them. “Many professors set caps low to admit additional students [later],” stated Professor Kunath. These are likely refreshing words for many students who may not have been able to sign up for a class they wanted. “But,” Kunath continues, “there are levels at which we cannot add more [students].”

Class caps, for every college student, at one time or another, become an object of concern. Those caps, which dictate who gets in and who has to wait another semester while accumulating more credits, are both a blessing and a curse.

Advocating for class caps, Professor Kunath stated, “There are reasons to maintain class caps. Like the real world, you may not get your first choice. So what do you do?” For some students the answer may be to take that existentialism literature course, but for others, there is hope.

“They will break a course cap for graduating seniors sometimes,” said Professor Capo, but, overall, class caps exist for a reason. Some of the class caps are in place for safety reasons, such as those found on lab classes, or in courses where delicate instruments are involved, such as biology or chemistry. Other classes are capped off because a professor only has so much time to dedicate to the grading of papers and tests.

Whatever the reason, class caps are a headache for many, if not all college students, that simply come with the territory. Registration is certainly a time of stress and confusion, but it is important for students under these pressures to understand the system and reach out to their advisor for assistance.


Dakota Roach, from Jacksonville, Illinois, is a sophomore majoring in English Literature and Creative Writing. Dakota is a Student Ambassador, an active member of CEA and SAGE, and is a writer for The Rambler.


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