Georgia State experiences an overflow of requests

Throughout the summer, courses continued to shift from in-person to online right up until the fall semester. With this, students experienced much uncertainty while registering for their classes. Some even claimed that the courses that they once registered for have disappeared.

However, according to the Associate Vice President for Public Relations Andrea Jones, courses were only being shifted around.

“Courses are not disappearing, but the mode in which some courses are being offered continues to change based on faculty availability,” she said. “The students are not being dropped, and the courses should still be registered, but the physical presence requirement may change.”

By the time students began classes, some were unaware of whether it was in an online or in-person setting. They quickly attempted to adjust their schedules.

Many students submitted an overflow request.

Overflow requests are submitted to receive permission to register for a full class. Not the university advisement center nor the registrar handles overflow. Each department grants permission to a request.

The computer science department has its own way of operating requests by implementing a policy.

According to the Undergraduate Director of Computer Science Dr. Xiaolin Hu, this “policy” applies only to the computer science department. He does not know how other departments handle overflow requests.

For example, the College of the Arts doesn’t even offer overflow requests, and students will have to register the next semester if their preferred course has met maximum capacity.

“Due to [a] large number of overflow requests to [computer science] classes in recent years, we do implement an overflow ‘policy’ (for lack of a better word) to handle the overflow requests,” Hu said. “The overflow ‘policy’ is really about the procedure regarding how we handle the overflow requests.”

The overflow policy’s first step is directing the students’ requests to the computer science department’s undergraduate coordinator, Jamie Hayes. Hayes keeps a list of the overflow requests based on the timestamps.

“We do not decide who gets approved for overflow in an arbitrary way,” Hu said. “Our general rule is first-come, first-serve based on the timestamps of the overflow requests.”

The first-come, first-serve aspect caused seniors to question the policy when on the brink of graduating. Students fear the possibility of one denied overflow request interfering with their graduation. However, this is not the case.

“If … this class is the only class that holds the student from graduation, then this student will have higher priority for the overflow,” Hu said. “This priority is adopted because otherwise, the student will have to wait for another semester to graduate.”

Though most courses have shifted to an online platform, there remains a maximum capacity that causes students to request overflow.

“We do our best to satisfy students overflow requests, including adding new class sections, increasing class size and making unused seats from cross-listed classes available for the overflows,” Hu said. “However, this is not always possible due to the limited resources of the departments.”