Preregistration: Administrative Boon or Burden?

Students, Professors Disagree on Merits

When Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology Irven DeVore first offered his course on behavioral biology in 1961, 900 students showed up.

"People were paying up to $75 to get a place in the first 300 places in line," DeVore says. "It's not because they knew who I was, or cared. It was just in this case that an appropriate course in the general education program in what we now call Science B had not been given in a few years."

It was the huge demand for his course and others that made the Faculty reconsider the College's system of enrollment for classes, DeVore says.

"They began discussing preregistration that very same year," he says.

Since then, the suggestion of preregistration for classes--signing up for courses the semester before--has come up again and again in Faculty discussions.


"It's an old thing that comes back just about every year," says Professor of Fine Arts Henri T. Zerner.

Sure enough, the issue resurfaced once more at a Faculty Council meeting two weeks ago. The council did not draft a proposal but decided to gather more information and discuss the problem--again--in the fall.

Professor of English and American Literature and Language Daniel G. Donoghue sys that given the tenor of the Council's discussion, he thinks it unlikely that preregistration will be implemented soon.

"It's really hard to tell," Donoghue says. "Our discussion was so preliminary, it was basically anecdotal. That's not really a god sense for coming to a final decision."

According to secretary to the Faculty Council John B. Fox Jr. '59, the earliest preregistration could be implemented is next spring.

Many faculty members, especially those who teach large Core courses, say they believe preregistration would help them gauge their class enrollments more accurately. Knowing an approximate enrollment the semester before a class is offered, they say, would allow them to plan Their classes more effectively and predict the number of teaching fellows (TFs) they will need.

Some facutly members, however, say they are not sure that the predicted enrollments will be accurate enough to make the paperwork of preregistration worthwhile.

Most students interviewed say they oppose preregistration. They argue that they want the flexibility of a shopping period without preregistration

Harvard and the Other Ivies

Signing up for classes after a shopping period has been the protocol here for as long as anyone at Harvard canremember. [Harvard century].

Although a policy of preregistration mightchange shopping period in some ways, any plan theFaculty Council proposes will not eliminateshopping period.