The preregistration point system process at CC is over 20 years old. However, this year, the Registrar’s Office handed over the reins to the professors themselves to create their own course catalog.
Though there were some snafus in the catalog, including incorrectly cross-listed courses and courses with incorrect information, the switch to departmental control of the course catalog went smoothly, according to Registrar Phil Apodaca.
A new system was set up for professors to publish their own courses, allowing them to fine-tune their course information more easily. The Registrar’s Office provided guidance to the departments.
“There were some issues with cross-listing courses, among other things, but for it being the first time I thought it went very smoothly,” Apodaca said. “There might have been some issues with proofing on the department side.”
Dick Hilt, both a physics professor and advisor himself, has learned quite a bit about how to work the point system the right way.
“I think that the system is as fair as you can probably make it. I would not change anything about it,” Hilt said.
Aside from his overall popularity as a professor on campus, Hilt also happens to teach one of the most popular courses offered at CC, Cultural Astronomy of the Southwest.
Students who are familiar with the preregistration system know that they receive 80 points a year to bid on classes. Technically, if you really wanted a course, you could put 80 points on it—a tactic that is more common than you might think.
“I just got an email from a student several days ago who put 55 points on Cultural Astronomy and was eighth on the waiting list,” Hilt said.
Often, a student’s major determines the flexibility of their point allocation. The more popular the major, the more points their courses will require — leaving fewer points to try courses outside their major.
“When you are physics major, none of your courses will cost you anything,” Hilt said. “People like that can afford to blow 80 points on a course.”
Although it is perceived to be unfair by some students, Apodaca believes the majority of students favor the system.
“I usually get positive feedback from the students,” he said. “Everybody gets the same opportunity as everyone else. First years, sophomores, juniors, and seniors all get the same treatment. If you want a course bad enough, you can get it.”
“On the average, some of my advisees will get everything they want while others will not get into one, two, or three of their classes. That’s probably typical for most students in the college,” Hilt said.
At most other colleges, students receive preferential registration based on class standing.
“At the end of preregistration, I would estimate that 80 percent or more students do fairly well. The rest have to move their schedule around to accommodate,” Apodaca said.
Lots of information about preregistration is provided on CC’s website. Including statistics about how many points it took to get into a class for the last two years.
Apodaca advises that students put the most points on classes in the first semester, get on the wait list for the second and watch what happens.
“We counted about five years ago how many add-drops of classes students do,” Apodaca said. “It was something like 24,000. That’s how much play can be in the waiting list. If you’re smart about it, you’ll get all your courses.”