Coping with oversubscribed classes at Dartmouth

My daughter will be graduating from Dartmouth in June (along with Scott’s daughter) and I’m aleady starting to get sentimental about it. There aren’t many bigger thrills in life for a parent than seeing a son or daughter graduate from the alma mater. This is true, I think I’ll find, even when the parent’s relationship with the alma mater is somewhat conflicted.
In truth, my daughter has had a wonderful four years at Dartmouth. And from all I can tell, a first-rate education has been at the core of it all.
Nonetheless, she’d be the first to agree that Dartmouth is not without some serious problems. And at the top of the list is difficulty enrolling in highly desirable courses, a topic she always dreaded might come up when she was giving official tours of the college. Drawing on my daughter’s experiences and a post by Phil Aubart of Dartblog, I wrote about the matter here.
Phil now has another post up about the problem. He describes some of the ways in which students game the system to maximize their chances of getting into popular courses. The extreme nature of this self-help (from my old-fogey perspective, at least) confirms how serious the problem has become.
As Phil asks: “Wouldn’t it would be better to offer more and better classes in the most popular departments rather than push students towards these borderline strategies?”


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