Brief site crash makes registration ‘unnecessarily stressful’ for sophomores

By Maddie Barron and Maddie Khaw

For many, course registration is a stressful event each semester, as students scramble to log in before their classes fill up completely. This semester, though, course registration was especially hectic for many sophomores on Monday, who were met with a crashed site, blank screens, and loading symbols on their computer screens.

“I went into the [site] expecting it to work as usual, but then all of the sudden it was just a blank white screen,” sophomore journalism major Lily Brown said. “A couple minutes went by, and I started freaking out because I was like, ‘Oh my god, I need to get my classes.’”

Brown said the confusion lasted for about seven minutes—an eternity in the race to snatch remaining seats in popular courses. When she was finally able to log in, she found that one of her classes was already full, relegating her to the waitlist.

“I was freaking out, because I’ve never had that problem before,” Brown said. “I’m embarrassed to say this, but I just started tearing up and panic-texting my parents … I was already trying to email the professors [to see if they could add an extra student to their section].”

Luckily for Brown, she quickly moved from the waitlist to the class list when a seat subsequently opened. She ended up getting the schedule she had planned for, but not without “an hour [of] stressing out,” she said—“a half hour before the crash and a half hour afterwards.” 

“I was so fed up,” Brown said. “I’m very lucky to have registered for all the classes I attempted to sign up for, but if the situation had gone a little differently, I would want the school to revisit their system for registration.”

Like Brown, sophomore creative writing major Ella Maoz woke up early Monday morning in preparation for registration.

“I’m very intense about registration, so I always have everything very planned out—like, a massive spreadsheet and everything,” Maoz said. “I had a clock on my phone that was counting down the seconds. I was so ready for when it was about to hit seven o’clock.”

When the site crashed, Maoz thought it was a problem with her computer, and started “panicking a little bit,” she said. 

“My hands were shaking,” she said. “I was so stressed. It’s so high pressure.”

When the site was back up, Maoz also found that some of her courses were already full, and she ended up on three waitlists. 

“This just highlights how bad of a system it is,” she said. “The website itself can be very faulty—for me, I’ve had issues with it in the past.”

Maoz said she has academic accommodations for her classes due to learning disabilities, and considers seeking additional accommodations for course registration next semester.

“I don’t know if that’s even a thing,” she said, but plans to inquire about the possibility of accommodations “because it’s just such a stressful experience… like, unnecessarily stressful.” 

The format of course registration could be less accessible for people with learning disabilities, with the race to grab seats in classes coming down to “how fast you can hit a button,” Maoz said.

“My learning disabilities don’t help in [registration], because I’m a slow reader and slow processor,” she said. “Sometimes I hit a button, and I’m like, ‘I don’t even know what that says, but I hope it was the right button.’”

But even for those who don’t have learning disabilities, she speculated that the process is stressful nonetheless.

“Who is actually good at that? It can’t be easy for them, either,” Maoz said. “It’s stressful for everyone overall … [the site crash] just weirdly opens up a conversation about registration and how that is done.”

Karen Torento, a sophomore interdisciplinary major with a concentration in costume design for theater and film, was pre-enrolled in some of her theater classes, but was kicked out of an important major-related class—Costume Design—due to the website crash. She said that the situation was frustrating and “anxiety inducing.”

Torento said she had to resort to emailing several professors, advisors, and other faculty to ensure she was registered for the class. She and her friends were hard-pressed to take several classes that were later dropped from the Fall 2023 curriculum, especially those related to business, the social sciences and political communication.

“It can be very harmful for people who have specific requirements or if you have a specific major that you need,” Torento said about the limited options available. 

Torento shared that she knew a fellow sophomore and business of creative enterprise major who was only able to register for one major-related class for the fall semester. 

Another sophomore, communication sciences and disorders major Jillian Venezia, also had trouble finding classes that would fulfill her degree requirements. She said she was concerned about classes filling up quickly because major-related courses for communication sciences and disorders are only offered in the fall semester. 

Venezia was able to register for all of her desired classes at 7:07 a.m., when the site was functioning again. 

She said that although she was lucky enough to register for the classes she wanted, she knew of several students who did not have the same outcome. Those students were unable to register for classes that were major-related, satisfied liberal arts requirements, or even served as prerequisites to essential courses that will have to be delayed even more so. 

“A couple of [students] have prerequisites that they have to take before the class, and they weren’t able to get in those … now their schedules are all behind,” Venezia said. 

To prevent another future crash, Venezia suggested that students who need accommodations or demonstrate need should be able to pre-register with their advisors. 

Torento said she thinks that Banner, the third-party platform which Emerson uses for registration needs to better prepare for the online traffic of users. 

“I wished Emerson could take something like [a potential site crash] into bigger consideration because they know a ton of people are logging on at the same time,” she said. “I wish that they were better prepared for something like that.”