at the U of Minnesota used to be a big deal. Seniors then Juniors
got first chance, and so on. Some classes were offered only
once a year, and were prerequisites for other courses also only
offered once a year. Missing enrollment for one class could delay
your graduation. Registration also involved a lot of standing in line.
Usually when you tried to register, the clerk would send you to
A in another building to stand in line to clarify something.
But Department A couldn't help you with that - they sent you to
another building to stand in line to talk with someone from
Department B. Department B told you that your issue was
something the registration clerk should know how to handle.
So back to registration you went. You told the clerk again what you wanted,
and mentioned that you had just been to departments A and B.
"Oh", they would say
, and then bureaucratically register
you without complaint. I swear to God this happened to me
dozens of times.
I had already graduated from the U with a degree in Chemical Engineering.
I graduated when many companies had hiring freezes due to poor
economic conditions. I worked for Arthur Anderson doing data
entry, and then sold suits for 3 months. Finally, I decided to
go back to school. My grades weren't good enough for grad school.
I petitioned the U of Minnesota for a dual
degree. That sounded cool to me - a dual degree - and I knew
another guy who had done it. I was accepted back to the U in
the Electrical Engineering degree program. I was told a few
years later that somebody screwed up. Undergraduate engineering
degrees are supposed to be one to a customer. If the person who
approved my dual degree application had realized I had already
graduated, I would never have been accepted again. For once,
incompetence at the U worked in my favor.
I knew that it was important for me to get the classes I needed
when I started back as an EE. So I called long distance to try
and find out when I could register. I called Lind hall and the
woman there kept trying to reach the registration building.
Finally, she told me she had to do something else, and she gave
me the secret number for the registration folks. I called it,
and the woman who answered immediately asked who I got the
number from. "From Lind Hall", I told her innocently. I explained
my need to get into the right sequential courses. "If you EVER
tell anyone I registered you by phone ....", she said. She
then proceeded to register me. Now you probably register via
the web. But ask anyone who went to the U in the 70's or 80's
about what a pain registering for classes was, and they will be
amazed somebody did it via a phone call - long distance to boot!