Viewpoint: Baylor veterans deserve early registration

Trey Gregory | Copy Desk Chief
Trey Gregory | Copy Desk Chief

By Trey Gregory
Copy Desk Cheif

It’s that time of the year again: time to register for next semester’s classes. Many students find registering for classes frustrating for numerous reasons, and I doubt there is a solution that could make everyone happy.

However, as a veteran, I have found it especially frustrating to register at Baylor. I also believe there is a simple solution that would hardly cause a dent in the registration process for the rest of campus. Give veterans some form of early registration.

I know, that is a very self-serving solution. Everybody wishes they could be first in line to choose their schedule for next semester. I am also not usually one to think veterans should receive much, if any, special treatment over anyone else. We served our country, but serving is something you selflessly do without an expectation of payment or reward.

So, then, why should veterans get early registration?

Many veterans took classes, part time, online or at multiple colleges while they were active duty, and the classes that transfer to Baylor don’t necessarily follow a traditional degree path. So, it seems every semester I need to register for freshman-level classes and senior-level classes based off what prerequisites I completed before I came to Baylor.

Getting into the lower-level classes isn’t so hard, but when I was categorized as a sophomore trying to get into senior-level classes, it was a nightmare. I ended up spending so much time begging and pleading with professors to open a spot for me in their class because of my situation. The whole thing just seemed ridiculous.

Also, many veterans at Baylor use the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pay our tuition. The details of the GI bill are a bit confusing, but one important note is that we only get GI Bill benefits for 36 months. It doesn’t matter if a veteran is a part-time or full-time student or how many credits they take, we all only get 36 months.

To finish an undergraduate degree in 36 months, most veterans have to take around 15 to 16 credits a semester. This just complicates the registration problems because we have to register for more classes than an average full-time student. Plus, if a class is full and we can’t take it, we don’t get that time back. If I have to take 12 hours instead of 16 because I couldn’t get into a class, my benefits could run out before I finish my degree.

My last reason, and probably least important, is that most veterans are older than the average student. I’m 28 and I want to finish my education and start my career as soon as possible. It’s especially devastating to me if my graduation date gets set back. I would like to start my new career, and a family, before I’m 30. I know all students want to graduate on time, but, from my perspective, it just feels a little more urgent when you’re older.

I don’t want there to be any confusion about how I feel Baylor treats veterans. Baylor is a great school for veterans to attend. However, veterans organizations and advocacy groups are fairly new to Baylor.

The Veterans of Baylor student organization was only officially sanctioned in 2011, and the Veteran Educational and Transition Services was created in 2012. Since then, a lot of great people have put in a lot of hard work to make transitioning from the military to Baylor an easy process. Registration is just one area where they haven’t caught up yet. Dr. Janet Bagby, VETS coordinator, recently assured me that she is working hard to get veterans early registration.

There are 120 veterans attending Baylor this semester. I don’t feel like giving early registration privileges to this small demographic would affect other students much, but it would alleviate so many problems for veterans.

Many universities across the U.S. already allow veterans to register early. I hope Baylor will do the same soon.

Trey Gregory is a junior journalism major from Albuquerque, N.M. He is the copy desk chief and a regular columnist for the Lariat.