Many Northwood students have had to wake up early and take an entire day of their summer to go sit in the guidance hallway in order to change their schedule. Yes, we get annoyed and tired of sitting and waiting, but our main question is, why do we even have to go through this?
Why do we have to go sit in a hallway for hours waiting to talk to a counselor to change our schedule, and why, once we finally get to talk to the counselors, are we not able to make our desired changes?
We believe that there is a flaw in the system. Our schedules are chosen through a computer program, so no counselor sits there and hand-picks each student’s schedule. The problem is, once the counselors talk to us and understand which classes we want and why we want them, they enter our information in the computer, and most students’ individual preferences that were talked about are not translated to the software. So that means that any part of the conversation that isn’t transferred to the registration form is wasted, because the counselors have virtually no control over which classes the system chooses.
Another issue we have is that we aren’t allowed to switch out of AP or honors classes. Apparently, the reason for this is so that we don’t switch out for the wrong reasons. Some students may get lazy, or some may just not want to challenge themselves, but sometimes, students who do have good reasons for wanting to switch aren’t allowed to. What if a student wants to drop an AP course to take Dance because that’s what she wants to major in? Let’s say a student has a passion for a certain elective, but she signed up to be in AP Government and Politics, and both of those classes fall during the same period. That student is going to be miserable every day sitting in that classroom knowing that she could be pursuing her passion instead of learning about politics, but she can’t, because the office wouldn’t let her drop the course. Having students in AP classes that they don’t want to be in won’t benefit the student or the teacher.
Another issue is that drop/add policies need to be more readily available to students. Instead of our parents receiving a letter in the mail with a list of these policies, or a phone call home that explains them, the students should be more directly informed of the drop/add policies. Policies should be posted on the counselors’ door, in the student handbook and on the registration sheets themselves. This way, instead of parents receiving the information, students clearly have knowledge of why they can’t switch classes.
Finally, we’ve been told since freshman year that seniors get priority over underclassmen in registration. Principal Chris Blice says that senior schedules are run through the system first, and that seniors get priority. If this is actually the case, why are there freshmen and sophomores in two dance classes while a senior who signed up for Dance is in PE during that same period? If you’re going to tell us that seniors get priority, make sure cases like this don’t happen.
We know that the counselors work hard, but our schedules are important; they determine our eight classes for an entire school year. The classes we take determine our future, they can determine a lot about our high school experience, and the flaws in the system should be addressed.