In these difficult times, and when schools have limited budgets, some schools have started implementing enrollment caps and put in place policies to prevent students from dropping classes. I go to one such school that has these practices in place. The school adopted these policies in an effort to help students graduate on time.
I’m going to tell you why it set me back.
Now, I’m no expert. It might actually work. This seems to be new territory, so I haven’t seen studies released. All I know is what happened to me.
Enrollment Caps Don’t Take Many Students Situations In Account
First of all, because of budget cuts, there was no classes in my major I could take. No prerequesites that I needed were being offered, and the classes that were available needed prerequesites I didn’t have. I needed an English class, and I easily got that. However, I needed more classes, so I was just adding anything I thought might be fun. The 12 unit cap made it difficult for me to get 12 units, which is the minimum for full time. They made exceptions for students who needed 5 and 6 unit classes, but didn’t take into account students that needed 1 and 2 unit classes. I only had 10 units until open registration. I think that this would work out better if they showed the same consideraton to students who need 1 and 2 unit classes as they do to students who need 5 and 6 unit classes.
College Students are Adults; Do They Really Need Their Withdrawals Policed?
The problem with not being able to drop a class is the problem that inconvenienced me most of all. There was already a limit put on how many classes you can drop that leave a W on your transcript. That should be sufficient in stopping students from dropping classes unnecessarily. The fact that a student must have a “serious and compelling reason” to drop after the first week is tragic. Since I couldn’t take any classes I needed, I took classes I thought might be fun. One of these classes was Japanese. The first week is never as hard as the rest of the class, so I didn’t know that I wouldn’t succeed. I didn’t catch on to that fact until week three. I already had my foreign language requirement, but I still couldn’t drop. “It’s too hard,” is not a serious and compelling reason. Long story short, I failed Japanese and it wrecked my GPA. Who was it going to hurt if I dropped the class? The school wouldn’t have had to give me a refund or anything. However, it did hurt me not being able to drop it.
Help Should Help, Not Harm
I agree that something should be done to help students graduate on time. However, making it harder for them to take classes that they need and making it nearly impossible to drop classes they can’t succeed in isn’t helpful and may actually hurt them more. Funnily enough, until this quarter, I would have graduated on time. This set me back. I might be alone, but it’s just as likely other students have horror stories. I feel that schools need to do a little more research before implementing policies to “help” students that in actuality set them back more.