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The crush is on as GCC opens

Campus is in business after winter break as students struggle to get into the classes they need.

February 19, 2012|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com
  • Saman Sabeti, 21, writes his name on the waiting list hoping to get into the class, as Louiza Sharamatyan, 23, waits to sign in on the roster of registered students in the business law 120 class taught by professor Phil Kazanjian at Glendale Community College on Monday, February 13, 2012. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Saman Sabeti, 21, writes his name on the waiting list hoping…

Twenty anxious students crowded the back of Phillip Kazanjian's business law class Monday at Glendale Community College, waiting to add their names to the sign-in sheet.

The 39 desks in the room were already filled.

“If you are on the waiting list, you probably won't get in,” Kazanjian said, before moving on to the syllabus and attendance policy.

Some disappointed students quickly cleared out, but others remained, hoping that a spot would open.

“It is harder now than before,” said 21-year-old Yeprui Boyadzhyan, who was No. 10 on Kazanjian's 22-person waiting list. “[Previously] it was so easy. I would just go, add my classes, and I would automatically get in.”

GCC roared back to life this week after an extended break — the campus remained closed through January after officials canceled the six-week winter session as a cost-saving measure amid ongoing state budget cuts.

The start of a new semester is always hectic as students move in and out of classes. But with the per-student unit load higher than past semesters, and a reduction in the number of courses being offered during the length of the year, faculty members say they are facing unusually long student waiting lists.

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Adjunct faculty member Chandani Kodikara's chemistry lecture and lab is full at 60 students, she said, but another 30 students arrived Monday hoping to get in.

“I had so many students who showed up who did not register for the class, which is kind of sad,” Kodikara said. “The lecture hall was kind of flooding with people.”

Jason Ahn described a professor who created a slide in her introductory PowerPoint presentation that advised students who were not already registered for her class that they could not stay.

“Two years ago, I could have gone into a class that was full, and the teacher would just add everybody who wanted to add the class, whether or not they are on the wait list,” the 20-year-old student said.

GCC is offering 1,724 classes this semester, similar to the 1,740 classes offered in spring 2011, said Mary Mirch, vice president of instructional services.

Fall semester offerings also remained steady.

Nevertheless, with the scaling-back of summer classes and the elimination of winter session, students have fewer chances to enroll in and complete the classes they need to transfer to a four-year college.

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