Hillsdale students’ course registration days will be based on entry year, not credits earned outside of Hillsdale College, starting in the fall of 2019.
The Hillsdale College administration has decided — starting with the incoming freshman class in the fall of 2019 — to limit all credits which determine a student’s standing for registration to only credits earned at Hillsdale College. All other credits from outside colleges and universities and from exams such as the Advanced Placement, CLEP, and International Baccalaureate, will no longer count toward the registration date. This change will not affect current Hillsdale students, who will continue to register using the existing system until they graduate, according to Hillsdale College Registrar Douglas McArthur.
“The change is really to only one thing, and it’s to students’ registration priority — the day that students can register for classes,” said McArthur. “The current scheme allows students to count all earned credits for the purposes of determining their class level. The new system is going to no longer count credits earned outside of Hillsdale College.”
McArthur said the college will still accept transfer credits to contribute to overall credit count, just not for determining what day a student will register.
“Students will continue to take AP courses, and students can still earn credit, but for the purposes of registration, we just won’t be including those,” McArthur said.
McArthur said there are no plans for any exceptions regarding transfer students.
“The administration believes this is an improvement in terms of giving students equal access to courses according to their class level,” McArthur said.
According to Dean of Women Diane Philipp, many students complained that they were unable to get certain classes because underclassmen with outside credits were able to register first.
“The point of it was that freshmen were coming in with 40, 50, 60 credits, and so were able to bump sophomores, juniors, and in some cases, even seniors out of classes,” Philipp said. “So students have talked to us about it, and we said that we would look at it, and we’re just trying to make it fair for everyone. After you’ve been here for two or three years, it’s nice to be able to get that one class.”
Philipp continued by saying that students who have been here the longest should have priority.
“The students who have been here the longest should have the opportunity to select the courses and the time slots — it’s kind of the perk of the senior year. And a lot of kids get what they want, but sometimes you just have your eye on that one class; and at Hillsdale, we don’t always teach every class every semester either,” Philipp said.
Some students around campus had both positive and negative reactions to the administration’s decision.
Junior Stephen Rupp welcomed the decision.
“I really like that it’s changing to credits at Hillsdale only because it’s really frustrating for me as someone who has dedicated their entire academic career to this institution in particular — and I worked really hard to get here in high school — to have classes that I need to graduate for my major taken by people who transferred in,” Rupp said. “I know that I’ve been turned away from classes, but I also know people from my class that have never had that experience, and it’s not that we work any harder than each other, it’s just a difference of opportunity.”
Freshman Hannah Breeding agreed.
“While I respect that a lot of freshmen worked really hard in AP courses and community college classes in order to bring in credits, as someone who didn’t, it can be pretty frustrating to feel always two steps behind,” Breeding said. “I appreciate the change because while I will still be behind a lot of my current classmates, at least I won’t have to compete with the incoming freshmen for space in the classes I need.”
Other students disagreed and said that the change was a bad idea.
“I think that it sounds like it’s the first step towards discounting all non-Hillsdale credits,” said senior Theodore Birkofer. “I mean, a credit is a credit wherever you go.”
Freshman transfer student Luciya Katcher said the change penalizes transfer students.
“The only benefit of doing post-secondary work or transferring into Hillsdale is getting the privilege of scheduling according to your credit status, and when you take that away, there is a lack of incentive for going the extra mile and doing that extra work when you’re young or when you’re at a different college,” Katcher said.
Katcher said this change affects her own situation.
“For me, I worked hard for two years before coming to Hillsdale so that I can get a head start on my education and my major,” she said. “If I were to be limited in my ability to schedule — and get closed out of classes — that would set me back a semester or two until I could take those classes.”