Enrollment at LUMS is similar to a Black Friday sale: students are like desperate shoppers frantically trying to bag the best offers of elective and core courses. But just like you never go empty-handed from a Black Friday sale, rest assured, despite the limited number of seats in core courses or surprise Zambeel glitches, you will always end up with courses in your shopping cart. The only problem is that these courses will not always be the ones you wanted. However, worse comes to worst, there are multiple channels you can explore to secure your enrolment in a course that is indispensable to your degree or academic year. Emailing Department Heads or Instructors and explaining that a particular course is integral to your major declaration or academic year bucket usually, if not always, helps. However, enrolment has long cast a nefarious shadow on the lives of LUMS students, and pre, as well as post-enrolment anxiety, has haunted many in their sleep for days. Like the steaming Khokha tea, enrollment woes are a crucial feature of life at LUMS!
Prior to enrolment, students begin planning their course preferences as the course memo is released and later embark on the harrowing process of collecting reviews on instructors/courses, designing weekly class schedules, and ruling out clashing classes. Amidst all this planning and organizing, the sense of impending doom keeps on mounting. Such is the uncertainty of enrolment that students can be found ceaselessly perusing the course memo to hunt for courses that serve as backups for their backups. Core courses often turn out to be the most elusive, forcing students to begrudgingly settle for courses they are disinterested in only for the sake of completing their credit hour requirement. After returning from the enrolment battleground, students, like disillusioned warriors coming from war, take the LUMS Discussion Forum (LDF) by storm. Some furiously complain about the flawed enrollment system. Others post desperate swap requests, offering everything from monetary compensation to the delish Bunker brownies, in a final bid to land a course of their choice.
There are several reasons why the student community at LUMS dreads enrollment:
- Limited capacity in core courses:
This is the most frequently raised issue by students who fail to enroll in core courses years before their majors are declared. This delays the mandatory fulfillment of their requirements for core credit hours. The situation doesn’t change even after the allotment of majors; however, students are assured that the university will force enroll them in the end if they constantly fail to get a seat in the core courses. Therefore, while not getting compulsory courses in the freshman or sophomore year is extremely stressful, there is no way that you will not be able to graduate in the major you have declared just because you could not land a seat in a course.
- The hoarders:
Students who struggle to get major electives or cores for their minors are often seen protesting against the hoarding issue. Hoarders are the students who enroll in courses from their school only to swap them with students from other schools later to eliminate the risk of unavailability of seats in phase 2. Unfortunately, some of these courses happen to be the major cores for many students, and the relentless hoarding becomes a perpetual source of distress for them. While this may compel students to give up on the dream of completing minors, the university constantly reassures them that towards the end of their degree, they will be force-enrolled in any courses that are crucial to the major or minor they want to graduate with.
- Wi-Fi problem:
Although enrollment takes months of planning and analyzing courses, it is a matter of seconds before you can evaluate and control your wins and losses. It is like hitting the jackpot. Many believe it to be a game of luck, but it is also heavily dependent on a good/stable Wi-Fi connection. If your Zambeel lags due to the heavy traffic on the website, or you lose internet for merely a minute, or you don’t blindly validate and press “enroll,” for your selected courses in the shopping cart, the chances are that you won’t be able to score a seat.
Pro-tip: Press enroll strictly at 11:00 a.m. (according to the LMS clock) to avoid a lag, or a reload on Zambeel. Don’t start pressing ‘enroll’ a minute before the due time.
- Limited courses on-campus:
The pandemic and the subsequent shift to an online semester have also exacerbated enrollment challenges. During the enrollment for Fall 21, LUMS decided to allow complete access to the campus. Students, mainly from MGHSS, were provided with limited courses on-campus, a few of which consolidated core courses for offered majors and minors. These courses drew student attention and hence birthed a new problem: demand exceeded supply as students longed to re-experience in-person classes.
Embittered and dissatisfied, students have made many suggestions that could help the administration in overcoming problems and ensuring a smooth and successful enrollment.
- Increase capacity per course:
This is a unanimously agreed recommendation for core courses. Students can study what they are willing to pay for and not just any other course to fulfill credit hours for the semester. Students also believe that this request should be easy to implement in an online semester since the university won’t bear increased overhead expenses.
- Reduce credit hour limit for phase 1:
Students think that the generous limit of enrolling in 16 credit hours during phase 1 encourages students to hoard courses. If the credit hours are reduced to 12, students will be forced to focus on opting for essential classes and won’t be left with a choice to hoard for their friends from a different school or use it later to bribe someone into a swap for a course of their choice.
- Pre-enroll students into major core courses:
Struggling to score a seat in major core courses is a genuine problem for many students at LUMS. They fear the unfulfilled core requirements that may put their graduation at stake. Therefore, they recommend pre-enrollment of students (with declared majors) in core courses.
Rightfully so, students at LUMS expect the administration to pay heed to their concerns and take a step to end the continuous loop of disappointments and complaints regarding enrollment.
It is important to keep in mind that while enrolment at LUMS is never a stroll in the park and looms like a specter over your conscience for days, fate and luck do consort in your favour at times and end up enrolling you in some, if not all the courses of your choice. Moreover, LDF becomes a godsend in the aftermath of enrolment. Amidst the winding strings of swap requests on the forum, you will most likely find someone who is willing to take a course off your hands in return for the course of your dreams. Happy Enrolling!