Glasgow University’s enrolment process is a shambolic mess that needs immediate reform

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glasgow university main building grounds

Credit: Taylor Robertson

Georgina Hayes
Editor-in-Chief

Certain University departments are treating their students with blatant disregard

MyCampus crashing, four month waits to find out course allocations, and countless ignored emails or automated out of office replies.

You’ve guessed it – it’s enrolment time at Glasgow University again, and like every year before it, the process has been a shambolic, unorganised mess that’s left countless students stressed out of their minds with worry they won’t get places on their chosen courses through no fault of their own. Not that this will come to any particular surprise to returning students; we’ve been putting up with this trainwreck of an enrolment process for years.

Students are infamously a relatively powerless demographic when it comes to leveraging any kind of say whatsoever in how we are treated by those above, and our University knows it. They are insistent upon treating us like clients – what with the thousands upon thousands in debt many of us are throwing ourselves in to study here – and yet we could never accuse Glasgow Uni of giving us the service that we literally pay for.

But how hard can it really be? Isn’t enrolment onto classes the most basic service any university provides? It certainly shouldn’t be difficult when many departments have had students’ course choices since April, but still can’t seem to organise announcing allocations until as late as September. How can anyone be expected to do their course reading when the University can’t even be bothered to give its students this basic level of information?

Certain University departments are treating their students with blatant disregard. Students who took out Good Causes for their assignments aren’t able to enrol until long after other students; the process of enrolment seems virtually impossible for most students who embarked upon study abroad; MyCampus is crashing constantly and indiscriminately and forcing students to lose out on their course choices through no fault of their own, and the admins for respective departments can’t even be bothered to give students the basic courtesy of an email response.

Our University is obscenely wealthy and has no shortage of staff on its payroll, and this level of incompetence is absolutely unacceptable. Student advisors and course admins being out of office during enrolment time seems to be no coincidence either, and the University should immediately disallow it.

No big deal, though – it’s only our degrees they’re blatantly and wilfully neglecting, after all.

Below are some accounts from students who have spoken to The Glasgow Guardian about their experience with enrolment

“Last year I was in America when [History] enrolment went up, so with the time difference it was 4am for me. I woke up to do it but I was working at 6am. I could only get into half the classes I wanted and the system crashed twice. I was told to email about getting a place in “unscheduled” classes, and it took ages for me to hear back. I got back from America and was still having trouble enrolling so I went to the office three separate times; each time the person was either sick, on holiday or took an early lunch, and so I was told to email each time. Eventually I just emailed saying to put my in any available class, and got a vague response saying [they] weren’t comfortable with that. Also, between emailing and going to the office, I asked what classes were available and when I got sent the list I emailed back. By the time I was eventually replied to, they told me that all of those classes were full.” – Hannah Fairbairn

“I did study abroad last year and when I finished I made sure I had all my transcripts and everything all in order for Glasgow. I emailed countless people and got no response as to where to send it or they just pointed me in the direction of other useless people. I finally got an email from someone saying I was all set to continue and that my grades had been transferred over. That afternoon, I then got an email saying that I could not be processed as my transcript had not been intact, yet they did not tell me where to send it or what I could do. So now I can’t register or enrol until they process me which apparently won’t be until other students have had their pick of choices. They say they can’t save a spot for my in my chosen course even though all of this has been out of my control and if they’d emailed me sooner I could have tried to sort something out. You’d think for a University that does this every year, they’d have smoothed out the problems…” – Eilean Dickson

“I’m doing English Lit and History [joint honours] and I’ve been having a nightmare with both. I feel like both departments are causing even more difficulties for joint honours students, and both have delayed their enrolment but to different dates, and still haven’t told us what courses we have a place on after filling in forms in April! I’m going to have a timetable clash, but when I went to email [the English Literature course administrator] I had an automatic reply saying he’s out of office until 20 August. Everyone needs a holiday, but I don’t think it’s very fair that he’s had our options for so long, which will impact what I can do in History, and now isn’t available. The History department has also neglected its joint honours students as they didn’t email us to say when our enrolment would be!” – Catriona McLaughlin

“Enrolment at Glasgow Uni is a joke. I was on a year abroad during the 2017-18 term and now it tells me that I am not eligible to enrol into 2018-19. Same story seems to apply to everyone from Glasgow Uni that went on a year abroad. No one has yet replied to my emails and my advisor is out of office so no help from her either.” – Ali Derbi

“Enrolment this year has been a nightmare. Mine hasn’t been a horror story (yet) but it is irritating. I was asked to submit my course choices in April but they aren’t announcing allocations until September, yet they advise we get started on our class reading over summer…” – Katie Heeps

“Enrolment is an absolute shambles, and so is the organisation of the courses. Glasgow University is one of two Russell Group universities that offers Philosophy and Theatre Studies as a joint honours degree but has constant timetable clashes. The issue I’m facing is being unable to enrol in my joint degrees as I have a seminar for one course that clashes with six lectures in another.” – Michael Paul Phillips

“In regards to History, the fact that we were kept in the dark about enrolment was so unnecessary. By letting us know that enrolment is actually tomorrow for us [Tuesday 14 August], I now have to rearrange stuff like my dissertation work and driving lessons just so I can make sure I can enrol into the classes I want to. It is so annoying when the History department had the whole summer to tell us yet left it to the last minute. It causes unnecessary stress to us as students.” – Dylan Brand

“It’s been an absolute joke trying to get enrolled onto History classes every single year. If it was just a one-off problem then fair enough, but it isn’t. Last year they allowed enrolment onto courses that weren’t even on, so by the time they let everyone know, everything else was full up! This year we got no information on when enrolment was for joint honours students and now it’s been delayed three times over.” – Susanne Weston

“All I can think to say is that the University is over 500 years old – have they really not been able to figure this out by now?” – Eilidh Douglas

“[On the enrolment process] If I wanted to keep spending money to get fucked about, I would have stayed with my ex.” – Male student wishing to remain anonymous

A spokesperson for the University has said: “It is quite wrong to suggest in any way that University staff have a ‘blatant disregard’ for our students. Colleagues across the University have worked extremely hard to support students in registering and enrolling in classes. We apologise to those students who have experienced difficulties. We are very pleased that more than 6,000 continuing undergraduates were fully registered on the day that access opened – this compares to fewer than 4000 on the same day last year. That trend has continued with significantly higher proportions of students fully registered than at the same period last year.”