Opinion: Honors students should be a priority

by Cougar News Contributor 0

By Amanda Besa

Registration for fall semester is just around the corner. For many, registration is a like putting together a complex and intricate puzzle. Having to organize a school schedule around what classes are still available after those who get priority registration can be stressful and sometimes impossible.

There are currently eight groups on campus that receive priority registration: Veterans, Foster Youth, EOPS, DSPS, MESA, CalWorks, athletes, and the Associate Student Government. A majority of these groups are given priority registration through laws or grants. But other groups, like athletes and ASG, are rewarded with priority registration by COC because of the time commitment required of them.

At COC about 2,600 students have priority registration. Understandably, COC is apprehensive in allowing other groups to register early because “the priority would become less and less,” said Director of Admissions and Records, Jasmine Ruys.

“Other groups such as the forensic team, reentry students, upward bound, and many programs searching for grants try to write [priority registration] into their grant proposals.”

So the question is: who, if anyone, should be given priority registration in addition to the groups that already have the privilege? Surely the Honors Program is a prized candidate.

Students in the Honors Program “engage in creative and challenging coursework, enrichment activities, scholarship, and research opportunities, and community service events,” according to the COC Honors website. The Honors courses are designed to challenge students and demand more critical thinking, reading, and research skills.

Beyond these difficulties, the students in the Honors Program are the students who want to be on the fast track to college. These are the students who are motivated to transfer to a four-year university and dedicate much of their time to creating the best possible résumé. They make a conscious and disciplined effort towards good grades and involvement on campus so that they will have an upper hand when applying to transfer.

But COC does not recognize these students’ efforts or goals. Rather, these students are grouped with all the other non-priority students attending COC. Because Honors students don’t receive priority registration, many of their goals are delayed.

Along with all the students who don’t receive priority registration, Honors students often times don’t get the classes they need and are forced to remain at COC longer than they had planned. By not rewarding the Honors Program with priority registration, COC is hindering top students from achieving their goals in a timely manner.

“The state is currently coming up with guidelines and new laws to dictate to the community colleges how to do priority enrollment. In the current version the state is considering, Honors students are not part of the priority enrollment,” said Ruys.

If the state is unwilling and COC is reluctant to reward Honors students with priority registration, can there at least be a compromise? Other community colleges such as Fullerton, allow their Honors students priority in registering for honors courses.

Since Honors students don’t have priority registration, many are not even able to get into honors classes at COC.

If priority registration was given to the Honors Program, “honors classes would fill first with honors students while non-honors students could not potentially ‘rush’ a class,” said Patty Robinson, the head of the Honors Program at COC.

If COC is not willing or able to give Honors students a general priority registration, can they at least give Honors students priority for their own courses? After all, Honors courses were created for the benefit of Honors students.

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