To Mills students, cross-registration seems like a great way to explore surrounding colleges and take classes that may not be offered at Mills, specifically in foreign language. The requirements to do so may impede on students’ academic success.
Although it is clearly stated on the Mills website, many full-time students are not aware that to be eligible to enroll in a course at a nearby college through cross-registration, they must be enrolled in 12 units at Mills College. 12 units is the number of units needed to be considered a full-time students. In other words, 12 units is a sufficient and acceptable number of units for a student to take in a semester.
Some students choose to cross-register at the University of California, Berkeley in foreign language classes, as a second language class is required through the Mills Core Curriculum and the variety of languages offered at Mills is extremely limited. In fact, Mills only offers classes in three languages: Spanish, French and Chinese. This semester, there are only two or three levels of each language being taught. Students who wish to take these languages at different levels, or who wish to take other languages often must turn to language courses at UC Berkeley, where there are classes in over ten times as many foreign languages.
Foreign language classes at UC Berkeley are known for their intensity and are often worth five units. Classes worth five units are less common at Mills — even upper division courses are normally worth four units unless they include labs. This means that Berkeley language classes — even elementary level ones — take up a lot of time. Many meet three or even five days a week, and that time does not include commuting, which can add a few hours each day depending on the student’s schedule or available transportation method.
Because of the time commitment and level of intensity, it can difficult for students to succeed academically in a cross-registered foreign language course if they are already enrolled in 12 units at Mills — especially if their cross-registered class is worth five units and meets so frequently. While cross-registration is by no means required and can simply be a fun way to explore nearby schools, some students feel that they have no choice if a desired language class is not offered at Mills.
From a financial perspective, it makes sense that students should be considered full-time (therefore paying full-time tuition fees) to be eligible to take non Mills courses, but exceptions should be made for classes that are worth more than four units. For example, a student should be allowed to be enrolled in 11 units at Mills and still be considered a full-time student if their cross registered course is worth five units. Travel time and number of class meeting hours should also be considered. Those enrolled in cross-registered courses may need more support academically, as the course load can be very difficult to keep up with.
Overall, there are pros and cons to cross registration and it is up to each participating student to decide if they will have time to succeed academically. But when it comes to foreign language classes, students are at a disadvantage because of the lack of options at Mills to fulfill the foreign language requirement.