Registration frustration: stressed students report rough start to spring semester

Five layered text boxes on a computer screen show a course catalog and notifications including "Unable to add class," "This PERM has expired," and an email to a professor about a PERM.
(Lucia Marquez-Uppman• The Student Life)

The add/drop period left many 5C students full of anxiety and frustration in the struggle to get permission to enroll requests (PERMS) accepted and find courses with open slots this semester. 

Students across the 5Cs were able to register for spring classes during a designated time, set by class year, in mid-November. But many don’t finalize their schedule until several weeks into the Spring semester because of limited class availability. Ella de Castro SC ’23 expressed her frustration with the PERM system for students that may struggle with time management and the anxiety that registration may bring. 

“I have always hated the registration process,” de Castro said. “It’s unnecessarily stressful. I had a 9:30am registration time on the first day of registration, and I didn’t get into half of the classes I needed.” 

Alex Perez Pleitez CM ’26 claimed that classes were open to all of the 5Cs further contributed to the dysfunctional registration process. 

“I feel like there should be some classes that should be considered just that school’s [students],” she said. “It’s harder for first-years, especially, to get the classes that they want or that they need.”

Perez-Pleitez explained that the current system can prioritize some students over others, based on seniority, major or college that put underclassmen and non-majors at a disadvantage to take the subject areas they truly are interested in. 

“A lot of the colleges prioritize their students, which is fair to an extent,” de Castro said. “However, the fact that a bunch of psych majors couldn’t get into any psych classes this semester is wild to me.”

Pitzer College has the highest PERM ratio, while Harvey Mudd College has the lowest. (Gus Albach• The Student Life)

For students like Henrik Barck HM ’26, the disproportionate prioritization of students in the registration process can postpone necessary prerequisites and delay their path to their eventual major. 

“Mudd freshmen were […] fighting over discrete math and CS 60, because those are the only STEM [​​science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] courses that didn’t have more [prerequisites],” he said. “You need to take those classes before you can take the other STEM classes that everybody’s kind of looking for.”

Perez-Pleitez shared those concerns and explained that the process placed more importance on the needs of the department over the wellbeing of their students. 

“They want to grow their department,” Perez-Pleitez said. “However, some people need [courses] for other requirements […] and those people are usually not as prioritized.”

Within the art department, almost three students were rejected from every single filled seat this semester. (Gus Albach• The Student Life)

Scripps College Registrar Kelly Hogencamp responded to some similar student complaints.

“The student information system and the registration process it supports was selected and implemented as a collaborative process across the colleges,” Hogencamp told TSL via email. “[The registration process represents the] benefits and challenges of being part of a consortium.”

Hogencamp shared that Scripps will soon launch a calendar feature on the registration portal to serve as a visual tool for student schedule planning. She also shared that changes to the registration system will be made soon. 

“[The Claremont Colleges have] spent several years researching different systems that can support the complex operational needs of Scripps and the 7Cs and deliver the user experience students and faculty deserve,” Hogencamp said.

For some students like Mari Nishtani PO ‘26 , the administrations’ resistance to change the PERM system was less devastating. Nishitani did not have major problems with registration this semester.

“Maybe [it’s] because I have many interests and I haven’t settled [on] my major yet,” she said. “So I’m really happy with all the results so far.” 

But the administrations’ response felt lackluster and hopeless for the many students looking for a solution to the chaotic registration process. 

“I feel like there has to be a better way to do it. I don’t know how, I just feel like there has to be,” de Castro said.

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