A recent study of UT undergraduates revealed that class availability is not as bad as students make it out to be.
When asked how many times in the past year they have been unable to register for a required course, the largest percentage of students surveyed, 28 percent, had always been able to register. Furthermore, 26 percent have only been unable to register for a required course twice and another 18 percent of respondents could not register only once in the past year.
The availability numbers are even larger for electives. Some 47 percent have always been able to register for electives in the past year. Twenty-six percent of respondents have only been unable to register for an elective once, with another 17 percent being unable twice.
The study revealed that students are significantly less able to register for required courses (not able an average 1.7 times per year) than elective courses (not able an average of 1.0 times).
"It's harder to register for classes in my major than for general electives because they're not offering enough sections," Brett Cobble, senior in sports management, said.
Adding to these findings is that a majority of respondents, 57 percent, said they were at least "satisfied" with class availability, that is rated at least a "5" when asked to rate it a scale of one to 10, with one being not satisfied at all.
Less than two percent of respondents said they were not satisfied at all, and three percent said they were highly satisfied.
"I never really had a problem," James Wlodarz, junior in accounting, said. "I sometimes had to rearrange my schedule if I was really desperate to get into a class. That only happened once or twice, though."
Despite these findings, more than 10 percent of respondents had taken classes at an institution other than UT in order to get the classes they needed. However, the largest percentage, five percent, had only taken a class elsewhere once. An additional four percent had taken classes elsewhere twice.
When asked if their expected graduation date had been delayed, 21 percent said yes. Of those, 72 percent said that their graduation had been delayed only one semester, and 25 percent said their graduation had been delayed two semesters.
"It really gets on my nerves when what I want is closed before I ever get to register," Anna Barber, undecided sophomore, said. "Thank goodness for add slips, though sometimes even they don't work. I just wish that more sections of required classes were offered."
The survey found a slight correlation between satisfaction with class availability and the satisfaction rating for overall experience. Students giving a high rating for class availability satisfaction were more likely to positively rate their overall UT experience.
As for UT being the No. 1 party school, the survey showed that students spend an average of 30 hours per week studying, working, commuting or attending meetings - compared to 24 hours per week hanging out, attending parties or going out.
The survey also revealed that males spend more time hanging out than females. When asked, "how many hours in an average week they spent hanging out at their home or a friend's home," males reported an average of 14.8 hours, but females reported only 11.8 hours per week. However, when asked "how many hours in an average week they spent going out to bars, movies, etc.," there was no significant difference between the sexes.
Sorority or fraternity members reported a significantly higher social life satisfaction than non-Greeks. When asked to "rate their social life satisfaction on a scale of one to 10, with one being not satisfied at all and 10 being highly satisfied," Greeks gave an average answer of 8.7, while non-Greeks responded with an average of 7.8.
When asked to rate items pertaining to their experience at UT on the same one to 10 scale as above, parking was rated the lowest, with an average response of 3.8.
Despite this, senior psychology major Kelly Nichols said, "Parking is OK. There are lots of spaces. They are kind of small and far away, but there are plenty. People just complain about parking because it is so far away and people are lazy and do not want to walk."
Library and technological facilities were among the highest ratings with respective average responses of 8.2 and 7.6. However, students were only moderately satisfied with campus diversity - an average satisfaction response of 6.1.
"I think the reason why UT has little diversity among the campus is that every time someone tries to organize a cultural activity no one wants to participate or support it," Anna Wright, senior in deaf education, said.
Students also reported an average 5.6 rating for campus beauty, a main focus of the university's proposed Master Plan.
"When you walk around UT campus," Lauren Salzar, senior in logistics and transportation, said, "it never crosses your mind that the campus is not beautiful or that is needs renovation. But when I visit other schools and compare it to UT, it is disappointing."

- Contributed by Shane Hughes, Brooke Nichols, Jasmine Negahban, Jill Moreland and Brian Rogers. Specials to the Beacon.