NU changes class standing

Libby Nelson

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On paper, Kaavya Paruchuri is a junior.

The Communication student, who is in her second year at Northwestern, has been combining Advanced Placement credits from high school with credits earned at NU to get a higher class standing and a better registration time.

Next week, though, she’ll register as a junior for the second year in a row. Class standing for Fall Quarter registration times will be determined only by the number of quarters a student has completed at Northwestern, not by the number of credits on the transcript.

For students who went to high schools without AP programs, it levels the playing field. For those like Paruchuri, who entered Northwestern with enough credits to get ahead, it’s a step back.

“I basically lose credit,” Paruchuri said. “I paid the (testing) fee and took the AP classes. Northwestern should give credit like it’s any other class.”

The change is based on a recommendation from the Weinberg College Student Advisory Board. Advisory boards from other schools and the Undergraduate Council approved the idea.

Students said that assigning registration times based on credit was unfair to students who did not have AP opportunities at their high schools, according to a press release.

Although about 75 percent of Northwestern students have some form of AP credit, not all of them will feel the change.

Weinberg sophomore Margot Shorey had a junior registration time Winter Quarter. She said she was sorry to lose a standing that helped her in the past but that she understood the reasoning.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Shorey said. “The number of APs you were able to take in high school shouldn’t give you priority.”

Students who are going to be seniors, those with no AP credits, students who have already declared a major and can pre-register, and current juniors who already have senior registration spots will scarcely be affected, if at all.

Students who will be in their third year and who are planning to graduate early next year can petition to graduate and will then obtain a senior registration time.

Paruchuri said an earlier registration time sometimes made the difference for her when she was trying to get into small classes for her Communications Sciences and Disorders and psychology majors. She said it also helped with registering for laboratory times, so she was not stuck with an inconvenient or late-night lab.

“I think it’s better if the system was left the way it was,” Paruchuri said.

“It’s still not perfect,” she added. “You just have to petition to graduate and then people (with AP credits) still have an earlier registration time than others.”

Weinberg and Music senior Emily Crockett said she has used AP credit to “get a leg up” since her freshman year. She is staying for a fifth year next year but has an early registration time and no longer needs the credit.

“I can see both sides,” Crockett said.

“Kids who didn’t have AP in their high schools could be bitter about not having a chance, and for them it’s an equalizer. But it’s still nice for those who had (the credit),” she said.

Reach Libby Nelson at libbynelson@northwestern.edu.

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