Bethany Montgomery, Staff Writer
With the implementation of the new COR and nursing programs, and the constant evolving major requirements, selecting classes for the new semester has been a struggle for Saint Martin’s students. Although these are not necessarily negative changes, adjusting to and navigating these new class programs has challenged students of all levels.
As most returning students know, a recurring issue at small schools like Saint Martins is obtaining all the required classes for their major, while still being able to graduate on time. For certain majors, required classes are only offered once a year, or once every three to four semesters. Required classes are also at busy hours of the day, and sometimes overlap with other major requirements, preferred classes, or general education classes. This can be detrimental for students who plan on graduating in the fall, but are forced to wait until spring since their required class was not offered. Jashua Ally Garza, a senior sociology major, expressed her frustration at having to take 18 credits again her last semester just to meet her major requirements.
“A lot of classes are around 1 or 2 o’clock, and they inter lap, so that really irritates me,” she lamented, “I probably have to miss actually going to some classes, and I’ll have to talk to professors, and sometimes they may not work with me.”
This problem is not unique to Saint Martin’s, but few students anticipate this issue when enrolling in classes, and do not expect that their required classes will not be offered when they need to take them. Programs that are changing major requirements give freshman and sophomores the opportunity to choose between the new and old programs, but lack of familiarity can result in confusing advising meetings, missing requirements, or taking unnecessary classes. This has resulted in upperclassmen scrambling to meet the requirements for their major by taking 18 or more credits in a semester, or requesting certain classes be waived.
Students transferring from running start programs are not always able to transfer all the necessary credits to attend Saint Martin’s for just two years and are also sometimes forced to take 18 credit semesters or stay an additional semester or two to meet all their major requirements. While this depends on the major, it does add an additional year or two of unexpected tuition fees.
With certain student advisors in charge of such a heavy load of students, these problems can be easily missed in advising meetings, especially for students who double-major. Thus, the challenges of meeting all the requirements for each major is left up to the student, who may or may not know if or when their classes will be available the following semester.
Sophomore education major, Ashley Pena, described her first semester at Saint Martin’s, “I went to advising in the summer,” she said “You have to submit classes that day for registration, but then I didn’t even get my schedule until the first day of school, which is Aug. 24 to 26, and I had orientation in July and my advisor still hadn’t approved my classes until the first day of school-while I was on my way to school.”
While some advisors engage with each of their advisees, other students have claimed that their advisor simply signed off on their class list without checking if it fills with graduation requirements.
Regardless of having questionable advisors or spotty class schedules, students are encouraged to check the registrar for current major requirements, and to create a four-year plan to ideally avoid any of these recurring situations.