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Waitlist times put students’ academic careers on hold

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Reported by Michele Paulse

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Langara students walk across campus. Photo by Michele Paulse.

Class waitlists at Langara are forcing some students to delay their academic goals because the seat they want may take months to become available.

The college introduced waitlists more than four years ago and although some students get into their desired classes, many do not. When a seat becomes available, students receive automated messages and have only 24 hours to accept their spots. How quickly a waitlisted seat might become available is unpredictable and having to remain on hold is stressful for students.

Gajan Baliwal, a student in computer science, dropped out of Langara because the class he was waitlisted for was a prerequisite for other classes he wanted to take.

“I had to wait for a semester to take other subjects in this college so I dropped one session,” Baliwal said. “I [feel] like I can’t take any courses, it was sad for me. I’m late [by] four months to go to university.”

Some students in limbo as they wait for course openings

Jane Thatcher, a student in general arts, was number 60 on a waitlist for a criminology class. “I was on the waitlist but I did eventually end up getting into the class, two weeks before classes started,” she said. Thatcher was optimistic about getting into the class because assurance she received from other students.

Without waitlists students would have to frequently check the status of classes, said Melia Fernandez, an administration assistant at Langara.

Fernandez said Langara monitors waitlists but, “Just because a class has a really long waitlist doesn’t mean we can open up a new section.”

Space and finding an instructor was one of several reasons related to resources, which prevented the college from adding more courses when a class developed a long waitlist.

To help students understand how waitlists function, Langara introduced an online video on its website two years ago.

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