Falcon Fest changes fail to hit their mark

September 9, 2019 — by Andy Chen and Allen Luo

Being waitlisted for a class can often be frustrating, but this year, students had to go through that experience more than usual. 

This year marked the first time in which there wasn’t a specific booth dedicated to schedule changes at the annual Aug. 9 Falcon Fest, the event where students pick up and compare schedules. In the past, students were able to switch classes and ask questions pertaining to their schedules in the Small Gym; this year, the Small Gym was closed, and many students were confused as to where to go to seek help. 

In the past, students who had problems with their schedules could immediately take care of the issue, but the inability for many to do so smoothly this year was frustrating. If students had any questions regarding their schedule, they would have to wait in line again or pester their already overwhelmed counselors, which annoyed and delayed other students. 

As a result, students with schedule issues had to wait much longer than before to have a chance to talk to their counselors.

To resolve these issues, the scheduling process should be reverted back to last year’s system. Trusted volunteers or teachers should help pass out schedules, while counselors should help give advice or reschedule students.

Another problem faced by students trying to switch classes was that some were unable to switch due to a large number of full classes. This problem was especially prevalent this year; in some cases, students were even waitlisted from three classes, which, in the past, was practically unheard of. While this in itself isn’t unfair, some students who had previously taken prerequisite courses or had previously applied for these classes were rejected again. As such, the school should make moves to try and accommodate these students.

As an example, students who had taken a relevant intro course, such as Intro to Java in regard to APCS, were denied spots in the popular elective. This is unfair, as students wanting to pursue a career in a particular subject area should have a guaranteed path if they take the prerequisite course, instead of leaving it up to chance.

To increase fairness and guarantee students spots in classes they want,  students should be insured a spot for the next school year if they were previously waitlisted and are still interested in taking the course. This way, students won’t have to worry about the decision to spend time and money preparing for a class, as they could always take it next year if they get waitlisted.

Prioritizing students who’ve taken prerequisites or have been previously waitlisted would provide a fairer way for students with experience to be accepted, as well as continue to let newer, less experienced students try their hands at subjects they aren’t familiar with.