The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Staff Ed: UMW should return to staggering class registration times by number of credits

3 min read
Three female presenting students sit in chairs at computers

Problems with banner registration make it difficult for students to get the classes they need. | Jess Kirby, The Weekly Ringer


To those who have been through the class registration process at UMW before, it’s probably not surprising that some students encountered problems with Self-Service Banner when trying to choose their classes. Last semester, on March 29, the rising senior class faced a two-hour Banner outage when trying to register for classes. This was due to an “overall system problem,” Ben Kjar, associate director of Enterprise Application Services, which helps manage Banner, told The Weekly Ringer.

Throughout this week, students are once again registering for classes, and once again facing problems. According to an Instagram poll by The Weekly Ringer, 57% of those who responded ran into issues with Banner when registering for classes. The poll was posted on the morning of Oct. 24 when many seniors registered for the classes they need to take in order to graduate after next semester.

“I’m lucky my major classes don’t fill up fast but it still causes unnecessary anxiety when students have enough,” said senior religious studies major Emma Bradley. 

Senior accounting major Emily Whitt also faced problems when registering. 

“When I selected all of my classes, I was on the loading screen of doom,” she said. “I kept getting kicked out of Banner and Banner kept crashing on me. It took about 45 minutes to register on Monday.”

While we often call on colleges to address complex state- and country-wide issues, this problem is central to UMW students, and therefore it is the University’s responsibility to fix it. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution: going back to staggering registration times by credit hour, the way UMW used to hold class registration before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since UMW switched from staggering students’ registration times by their precise number of credits to having each class register at one time, it seems like Banner issues have gotten worse, possibly due to the large number of people trying to register at one time.

“I miss when we had time slots depending on credit hours, everyone at 8 a.m. just doesn’t work,” said Bradley.

Whitt, who faced problems with registering on Banner last semester as well, also said that staggering registration times would help the problem.

“I feel like registration needs to go back to the way it was before COVID, when we were assigned a certain time slot based on our number of credits,” she said. “If registration slots get broken up, there wouldn’t be so much traffic on Banner when it’s time for students to register.”

In contrast, due to priority registration, students in the Honors Program register the week before non-Honors students, and they did not experience Banner issues this semester. This may be because only about 80-100 incoming freshmen are enrolled in the Honors Program each year, according to the UMW website, making the number of students registering at the same time significantly smaller than during non-Honors registration.

To combat these recurring registration issues, UMW should return to staggering registration times by credit hour. This would decrease the number of people trying to register at the same time and prevent Banner from crashing—or, at least, we can hope.

This staff editorial was led by Jess Kirby.