With one day to go, students still confused by NU-Q’s new cross-registration policies

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With one day to go, students still confused by NU-Q’s new cross-registration policies

Photo by Malak Monir

Photo by Malak Monir

Photo by Malak Monir

Photo by Malak Monir

By Malak Monir

 

Photo by Malak Monir

Photo by Malak Monir

 

In the middle of this semester, Northwestern University in Qatar changed its grading policy on cross registration courses, causing confusion among NU-Q’s students.

 

Previously, grades received in courses taken at another university in Education City, better known as cross registration courses, were included on a student’s transcript and used in calculating their cumulative grade point average (GPA).

 

But this is no longer the case.

 

Cross registration classes, including the Georgetown University courses required for its Media and Politics joint minor with NU-Q, are now only offered as a “pass “or “no credit” similar to the way transfer credits are calculated, according to Michelle Telafici, an academic advisor at NU-Q.

 

This means that if a student passes a course taken at another university, they will earn a credit toward graduation, if they do not pass, neither the course nor the grade will show up on their transcript, Telafici explained.

 

“This can also work to a student’s advantage: I’ve had students who’ve gotten F’s in math classes at CMU and we’ve taken those grades,” Telafici said. “It counted as an F in their transcripts.” Now, if a student earns a low grade in a cross-registration class yet still passes, it won’t negatively affect their GPA.

 

But this does not mean students can be reckless with grades in cross registration courses because graduate schools may ask to view a student’s full academic record, including grades received from courses at other universities, she added.

 

But the new rules have left many students feeling angry, charging that they were not told about the change until after they registered for their classes this fall.

 

“I heard some students talking about it so I asked my adviser and that’s when I found out,” said Reem Al Baker, journalism sophomore at NU-Q, adding that she only received an email notification two months after talking to her advisor.

 

“We feel that we offer enough courses now that students don’t need to take the bulk of their courses cross registered,” Telafici said. “We also wanted to be closer to main campus [in Evanston]’s policy.”

 

But Aamena Ahmed, a journalism junior at NU-Q who is cross-registered for an Arabic class at Georgetown, disagrees.

 

“To apply the same standards as NU Evanston doesn’t work here because we don’t have that many classes to choose from and so most of us have to cross-register, whether we want to or not,” Ahmed said. “I would have loved to take Arabic at NU-Q, but it’s not my fault the school doesn’t offer it.”

 

The cross-registered classes don’t affect the two pass or no credit classes students can still take at NU-Q, Telafici added. There is also no limit to the number of cross registration courses students can take.

 

For a lot of students, the incentive to do well is now gone. If it doesn’t affect their grades, they are just going to take certain classes because it’s an easy route, and not actually try hard and do well, Ahmed said.

 

Ralph Martins, a journalism sophomore at the school, agrees that the new policy might discourage students from working hard in cross- registration courses.

 

“I think it’s slightly against the concept of Education City. I mean, why would you take classes at another university if they are not given the same weight as they would if you take them at your own university,” Martins said. “It goes against the concept that you’re getting an optimized education from the best universities in their fields.”

 

“For our grades not to count is just unfair since for every class we try and put in as much effort as we can.” Ahmed said.

 

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