Admin problems continue to plague students as the academic year starts early

Trinity students report delays in registration and missing timetables

Trinity students across disciplines are facing a multitude of administrative issues as Michaelmas Term begins, from delays in registration to being unable to view grades from last year.

For Junior Fresh students paying their student contribution fee through a grant or loan, several have expressed difficulties in registering for College. First year Engineering student Josh Toner told Trinity News that he is “still not properly registered on the tcd portal because” because he is “waiting on paperwork for the contribution fee to go through the academic registry”. Dental Studies student Fionnuala Flanagan has also not been able to register due to a delay in processing her student contribution fee.

Speaking to Trinity News, a European Studies student explained that after changing his language option last week, his “schedule isn’t complete and hasn’t updated.” Describing a situation many have found themselves in, he stated: “I have no clue what classes I have tomorrow.” Junior Freshers studying a range of courses including Law, Clinical Speech and Language Studies, and Business, Economic and Social Studies (BESS), have also not been able to register for their course due to administrative difficulties.

Senior Sophister Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology (PPES) student Alice Whelan told Trinity News that among students in her course, “very few people have their full timetable or modules,” although for some this was partly due to having swapped modules. Whelan noted that there is significant “confusion about Erasmus grades” and how students in her course who participated in an Erasmus exchange are to be assessed.

Carolanna Foley, Senior Sophister History and Political Science student, also experienced administrative difficulties upon returning to Trinity this week after a year abroad on Erasmus. Foley cannot access her grades from last year, which amount to 30% of her final grade. Foley says the “register” page on her account is blank and her finances are shown inaccurately on the website. While her modules have appeared on her Blackboard account, Foley has needed to source her lecture timetable from others in her course.

Speaking to Trinity News, a Junior Sophister TSM student explained that she currently has no tutor and College has been unhelpful in her recent attempts to be assigned one. The student changed tutors in first year due to difficulties involving sickness. Later learning that her new tutor was on leave, the student contacted the Senior Tutor to request a new tutor but says she did not receive a response from the Senior Tutor’s office. “I was still technically assigned to my old tutor, and no response from her either,” says the student. While registering for this term, the student informed Academic Registry of the issue, who redirected her to the Senior Tutor. Speaking to Trinity News, Senior Tutor Aidan Seery has promised to “solve the problem simply and quickly” if the student contacts him directly.

Senior Sophister Genetics student Maeve McCann reports repeated difficulties with registering as a Northern Irish student, despite the issue having been flagged with College previously. Student Finance Northern Ireland (NI) pays McCann a maintenance loan directly for accommodation costs and living expenses, and pays her student contribution fee directly to Trinity. “However, Student Finance NI will neither pay me the maintenance loan or the student contribution until I register. So every year I and other northern irish students need to ask Academic Registry to remove these fees. Easier said than done,” says McCann.

McCann, and other Northern Irish students, have to send Academic Registry evidence that Student Finance NI have agreed to support me them for the academic year. “So far, I have tried the ASK AR option, which is not intuitive to navigate and also failed to send the attachment with my evidence. As it stands, I emailed them the evidence again 8 days ago and have not yet had a response or my fees removed,” explains McCann. “This leaves me unregistered, without my fees paid and a dwindling supply of money as I havent got my maintenance loan yet. This is a problem every year for all NI students. Why can’t Trinity liaise directly with Student Finance NI?” McCann asks.

Maths student Alden Mathieu describes registration as “a bit of a mess”. Mathieu was not able to register with Academic Registry until 10pm the Friday before lectures began, and did not receive a timetable until after lectures were underway. Searching his modules on another student’s account, Mathieu realised that half of his chosen modules conflicted with the other half.

The Maths department assisted Mathieu in changing his modules to ones which did not conflict on the timetable. However, Mathieu notes that “several other maths students were in [his] position and decided just to “tough it out” with their existing timetables. “That means they’ve got stats lectures from 9am to 6pm on Mondays with only an hour break, and a bunch of lectures conflict on Friday, so they can’t attend everything. I know at least one guy planning to skip all the lectures for one class and just rely on notes and teaching himself because it conflicts with another class,” says Mathieu.

“I was in a computation theory class Tuesday that’s offered to Senior Fresh (I think just computer science majors) and Sophister maths students, and when someone pointed out that a lot of the JS/SS students weren’t there because it conflicted with something else, and the professor could only kind of shrug, point out it wasn’t probably going to get moved, and suggest they get notes from someone who was actually attending,” Mathieu continued.

Earlier this week, Trinity students were unable to access their Blackboard accounts, despite the website having operated as normal earlier in the day. According to IT services, this was a “system-wide problem and not specific to individual students”. IT services circulated an email to staff and students the following day detailing that while access had been “largely restored”, a “significant number of students, particularly junior fresh students are still affected and may not be able to log in or see the correct modules”. Access was later restored for all students.

Academic Registry did not respond to a request for comment.

If you have experienced administration difficulties with College as the new term starts, email [email protected] with your story.

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland was the Editor of the 67th volume of Trinity News. She is an English Literature and Sociology graduate and previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.