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Futures on the line, Hofstra Portal far behind

By Jennifer SifferlenSpecial to the Chronicle

Every student knows the frustration. The future feels closer than ever, and there is a strong desire to hurl the computer against the wall. The headache is back once again. Brace yourselves, Hofstra University, it’s class registration time.

Twice a year, Hofstra students across campus and across Long Island wait for the clock to strike twelve, armed with Class Registration Numbers and degree requirements. And twice a year, without fail, social network newsfeeds are just as busy as the Hofstra network, filled with a stream of complaints that the Portal has crashed.

It seems everyone has a class registration horror story to tell. Senior Andrew Akler remembers a stressful registration experience from his sophomore year.

“I hit the button to register, and the server crashe[d],” said Akler. “I only got into two of the classes I needed.”

Concerns of classes reaching capacity only heighten as the years progress. Were students to run into registration issues in their senior year, they might face every student’s biggest fear: falling short of graduation requirements.

Fortunately, the staggered system of registration acts as a cushion for upperclassmen. It prioritizes the registration dates by graduation year, giving seniors the best chances of getting into the classes that they need to graduate. Underclassman, while tending to face the brunt of the scheduling issues, have the most time left to take the classes they might not have gotten into.

Still, capacity issues persist, causing students to wonder: Why can sites like Facebook and Twitter, where students post one registration complaint after another, handle the traffic that the Hofstra Portal cannot?

Hofstra computer science professor Uzo Osuno explained that the root of the issue might not be what you expect. While it “could be a server issue,” said Osuno, it is likely “the program is giving you the trouble.” To address the problem, Osuno recommended calling the Help Desk to complain. “If enough people call in, they’re going to fix it,” she said.

But these technical issues and the complaints that accompany them are nothing new; seniors have been dealing with the crashes throughout their entire Hofstra careers. It is past time for a solution.

Setbacks in registration can leave students settling for classes that they do not care about in order to fulfill their major requirements. Worst-case scenarios could include students being forced to delay graduation, or abandon their program altogether.

While the state of the system is up in the air, there are still things that students can do to increase their chances of a successful enrollment. Being as prepared as possible will speed up registration time, increasing a student’s chances of getting into the classes he or she needs before they close, and knowing one’s remaining degree requirements will help in staying on track for graduation. If registration still doesn’t go as planned, the advisement department is here to help with waitlists and alternative classes.

But these steps are just band-aids over a bigger problem. The ability to physically register for courses should not play a role in a student’s academic program. The lofty price of yearly tuition here at Hofstra, $36,350 per undergrad before room and board, leaves no excuse for technical difficulty. Issues in the Hofstra Portal’s online registration system must be resolved.


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