Registrar effects change as an effort to equalize class registration.
On Oct. 20, the UC Davis Office of the University Registrar sent a campus-wide email to students informing them that Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) units will no longer affect registration priority beginning with winter 2016 class registration.
Previously, AP and IB units counted toward units completed. Since class registration priority is based on completed units, this change means that students who took AP or IB classes in high school will no longer have an advantage in registering for classes. Instead, all incoming first-years will start with zero units, while transfer students will begin with 90 units.
Chair of the Council of Associate Deans Susan Ebeler said that the UC Davis Council of Associate Deans and the faculty Academic Senate began talking about making this change last academic year with the goal of a more equitable class registration for students.
“Not all students have access to AP/IB classes and/or the AP/IB exams, which charge a fee to complete,” Ebeler said. “By not counting the AP/IB units, registration priority is based on units completed while at UC Davis and all students have more equitable access to classes.”
ASUCD senator Danielle Mae Santiago believes that this change will help make class registration equal for all students, regardless of their academic backgrounds.
“I believe this change is positive,” Santiago said. “This allows students who changed their major or attended a high school where the resources did not foster AP courses receive the same academic opportunity as those who did have the privilege of receiving AP credit prior to UC Davis. Behind AP testing is a lot of privilege and resources not all high schools receive, and therefore this change is a small step toward greater accessibility of higher education.”
While AP and IB units will still count towards students’ degrees, many students still feel frustrated with the change.
Rainier Austin, a second-year international relations and linguistics double major, understands the need to make class registration fair for all students, but feels frustrated that this change may affect some students’ expected graduation rate.
“This whole thing has caused me to really reevaluate what I have to do to graduate,” Austin said. “I was originally planning on graduating early by at least two quarters, but now I have no clue when I’ll be graduating.”
Austin said that the class registration system as a whole is inherently unfair, as students come from different academic backgrounds.
“It is inherently unfair for a school to compare someone like myself, who grew up in an upper-middle class area, with someone who lived below the poverty line their whole life,” Austin said. “Because we are compared to our classmates, it becomes necessary for students to take AP classes if their high school offers them, since it is the only way we will be competitive for admission.”
Courtney Chaplin, a second-year NPB major, worries that this change could also make class registration unfair for current students who took many AP or IB classes in high school.
“It’s not fair to those of us who did take the tests [to] have the advantage we thought we would gain [taken away],” Chaplin said. “I was able to get a lot of my GE classes done last year and now I will be taking upper division classes, and instead of competing with upperclassmen on an equal number of units and therefore pass times, I will be registering later than them and I will likely struggle to get the classes I actually need. It would have been different had I known this coming in, but I prepared my course load expecting to have the ability to register at about the same time as the people I am competing with classes for.”
Chaplin adds that she feels the Office of the University Registrar could have chosen a different way to make registering for classes equal for everyone.
“I feel there should have been a different way to level the playing field or rather have this system implemented in the future classes so that everyone starts at an equal position rather than pulling some people back as they have done now,” Chaplin said.
The recent change regarding AP and IB units has already begun during this winter 2016’s registration period.