"Your request to add [course you want] has failed. The course requested is full."
If this statement sounds familiar, you're not alone; this year, many students were unable to sign up for desired sessions or entire lectures because of a lack of space. This is not a new problem though--high demand courses fill quickly every year. The current question is whether or not the new Scholar's Advantage program is increasing registration difficulties for students.
The program offers perks including early access to course registration, parking and residence to students who achieved high grade 11 marks. In 1998, 1,048 students took part in the Scholar's Advantage program.
"The Scholar's Advantage program is an attempt to attract excellent students to the University of Calgary," said Prospective Student Office Coordinator Alex England. "Students indicated that non-financial incentives were important."
Scholar's Advantage students register from May 1-15. Registration for other new students as well as continuing students with a grade point average of 2.0 or better begins June 1.
"The program will affect continuing students to the extent that there will be bums in the seats [of 200-level courses] by May 15," said England.
The Prospective Student Office does have procedures in place to control potential problems. After the early registration finishes on May 15, the office compiles a report on the status of 200-level courses, indicating if any sessions are completely full. Steps can then be taken to add sessions for a given course if deemed necessary.
"The time period between the end of Scholar's Advantage registration [May 15] and the beginning of normal registration [June 1] is used to assess the availability of courses," said England.
However, the report compiled after the early registration is imperfect. It shows only whether a given lecture session is completely full, and gives no indication of partial enrolment. If several sessions are partially full after May 15, no problem can be perceived from the report, while such a situation would result in decreased availability for students registering after May 15.
"The Students' Union Executive Cabinet has identified this as a potential problem to watch," said SU Vice-president Academic Toireasa Jespersen. "I would expect that as soon as we hear about this kind of problem, we would work with the university to remedy it."