Wait Lists, Full Classes Plague Students

Aaron Carlos

At the 112 community colleges in California, the largest system amount in the nation, the high demand for classes leaves some students waiting for more than just the classes they need.

The influx of new students, continuing students and people returning to college for career training has left some dissatisfied with the wait list system.

“It’s pretty much luck of the draw,” said Alex Gomez of GCC. “You may never know if you can get it and it’s a waste of time if you don’t.”

Some students in 2010 are older, returning to school for job training. California’s economy is not only affecting residents with a lack of jobs, but also the availability of classes at all community colleges.

Due to strict budget cuts in the community college funding, many classes have been closed before students even have a chance to register. An estimated 140,000 potential students did not return to school this year because they could not get into classes. “Even more are expected to drop out by next year,” California Community College Chancellor Jack Scott reported.

“You must struggle to get your classes and be responsible when you apply to the school for your own sake,” said student Edmond Asatryan. “Let me inform you that if you applied to the school on time you have priority registration and if you apply within your day you should have all the classes that you need.”

Asatryan is one of many students who wait for the opening day of registration to register for classes to ensure that he gets into the classes he needs. Without priority registration some students are left to sit in classes for the first two weeks hoping to get in. “People till this day,” in week six of classes, said Asatryan “are bringing late add forms for 16 week classes.”

With classes being cut and more students attending community college it becomes frustrating for those who do not have priority registration.

“I really dislike the waiting list,” said Joshua Archer. “Honestly, it gives the students false hope. You almost never get in while on the waiting list.”

It is Archer’s first year at GCC and the overwhelming effort it takes to get the classes he needs is the same returning students endure. “Classes are getting larger and larger, and they cannot fit much more students. Having a wait list is a waste. Why give someone a hope for a class, and then take it away?”

Some teachers have said they sympathize with students like Archer and others who are simply trying to get their required classes. In the 2009-10 school year the community college system has suffered $250 million in budget cuts, almost 8 percent of its overall budget.

For some the wait list is not a problem.
“I personally don’t have any issues with getting my classes because I’m an athlete, which means that I have priority registration till I leave GCC,” said soccer player Gerry Puga.

Some students are faced with attending multiple schools to obtain full-time status while others have to drop out for a semester and wait to get the classes they need.

“I don’t want to deal with it,” said Betty Kasabian. “I don’t even know what to say about it, it’s like there are all these people and it’s so crazy that they’re all trying to add one class.”

In June 2010 the San Mateo Community College district became the first in California to pass a parcel tax, Measure G, to increase the class offerings and hire back part-time faculty, according to Ballotpedia. The tax ,which is about $34 annually, is estimated to raise $6 to $7 million over the next four years but will not help students in the district till spring semester.