Enrollment system allows students to enroll into advanced psychology classes, only to drop when they find prerequisites are actually required

Several psychology students drop due to ARC catalog rule


According to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, in fall 2019, a total of 3,374 students enrolled in psychology classes and only 69.18% graduated to the next course at American River college, meaning about 11 out of the average 36 in a class failed. (photo by Alex Muegge)

American River College psychology students can enroll in any psychology classes next semester without having taken the prerequisites, but they won’t last very long.

According to the 2019-2020 American River College Catalog, students can enroll in courses other than math and English that require a prerequisite.

This means that when enrollment opens, any student attempting to enroll in an advanced math or English class without having taken the prerequisite would be stopped by the system.

If, however, they attempted to enroll in an advanced psychology course, they would sail ahead free and clear, until the first day of class, of course.

A professor will enforce the prerequisite within the first two weeks of class.

Psychology department chair, Andrea Garvey says there are both advantages and disadvantages to having this open enrollment-type option in eServices.

One major advantage to a student includes reserving their seat in a class while still having their classes evaluated by the counseling department. They may later discover they cannot continue with the course, but until then they have that spot saved.

“It has the disadvantage to students that they may inadvertently enroll in the wrong course because the system does not automatically block their enrollment,” Garvey said, “Some students may not consult with a counselor in establishing their education plan and thus have to drop the class after they have enrolled.”

According to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, in spring 2019, approximately 73.48% of 3,149 students enrolled, successfully completed their psychology courses at American River College. 

In the same semester, the retention rate was 86%, which means that 14% of students dropped in the first two weeks. This calculates to approximately five students out of the average 36 in a classroom.

According to psychology major Alyssa Blom, there are reasons why the remaining 31 are not successful. 

“I find that whether or not a student is passing or failing can be a reflection of three things, a professor’s teaching style, how well a student can adapt to that teaching style and how much effort [and] dedication the student chooses to put into their classwork,” Blom said.