Constructing Arguments by Arden Ripley

In this essay, Arden Ripley is addressing several communities: the University of Louisville, college students generally, and even college administrators. Additionally, this essay was one that we were drawn to because of the way Ripley truly engaged with the sources she was reading. There are multiple comments on the credibility of sources and what they can (or can’t) offer her argument. You might also notice that at the end of her paper, she revised her thesis based on the research she did. What is the effect of this thesis change on you as a reader? How do you see this essay working in different ways for different communities? In what ways might the moves in this essay mirror your own researching and writing process? Keep in mind as you read this essay that it uses the newest edition of MLA, Eighth Edition.


After enrolling in my second semester of college classes, I was waitlisted on four of my six classes, which drew me into constructing an argument as to why small majors should open up more classes, or larger-sized classes, so everyone can graduate on time. It was very frustrating to find out that I could even possibly be waitlisted on this many classes at once. But then, I showed up to one of my interpreting classes and started talking about how I got waitlisted, and almost half of the class also was waitlisted. After I talked to students within my major who have had this problem, two girls had told me that they are a year behind because of how many classes they got waitlisted on and never got put into. I also talked to other students with different majors like Sports Administration. One of my sorority sisters is a sports administration major who has to face being waitlisted for most of her classes because athletes get first choice, which in my eyes– and hers– is completely unfair. We were all fighting each other for these classes to take for all the same reason. I know that my major isn’t the only group of people experiencing this, and I needed to figure what I can do about getting into classes and not fight people for a class. I found this concern so absolutely ridiculous, and had to do some more research on it. Students should be given a better chance to get into classes by opening up more spaces for each class.

For credibility to argue this topic, I went to the world wide web and found a blog post about exactly what the waitlist is, and how to react to when you are put on it. In the beginning of the article titled, “What to do if You’re Waitlisted or is There Hope after Waitlist?” the author states, “Colleges sometimes use a waitlist because – they just don’t know how many students are going to decide to enroll when offered admission.” When the author says this, I interpret it as saying that they let these students enroll eventually, but only if people drop the class that they are waitlisted for. This is very true. When most students enroll for a class, they enroll about two months ahead of when the class will actually start, which leads to many students dropping the class before it starts. But, there are times when no students will drop the class that other students may need and will end up not getting, which means those waitlisted students have to now wait until next semester to hopefully then get into the class. I could be waiting all winter for this class, and then not know about it being opened to me finally until the day the class starts. If the schools already had enough spaces opened up for these classes, then students would not have to be flustered when finding out about the newly available class. Most of the classes students end up waitlisted for are the same classes over and over again. The worst part is that only up to five students can be waitlisted, and the rest of the students are out of luck. This article only touches lightly on this argument, but then goes on to talk about being waitlisted for a college.

The second article I found was titled, “What are my chances of getting into a class waitlisted?” Now, this source isn’t very reliable, but it had some good opinions and some possible reliable facts. A student that is signing up for their second semester of college, just like me, asks, “This is only my second semester in college, so I don’t really know if being on a waitlist for a class is a good idea or not. The class size is 20 and I’m number 21. Will I get in?” The first response to the students was question was, “If it’s the very beginning of the semester, I’d say you have a pretty good chance of making it into the class if you’re #1 on the waitlist. From what I remember, about 20% of the initial students in the average class transfer out.” So here it’s not a very reliable source, but I would take what they said and listen to it with how about 20% of the first students in the class will transfer out if I was concerned about not getting into classes. Even if the 20% is correct, that still doesn’t give say 30 kids waiting for this class that aren’t even waitlisted a solid opportunity to get into this class. Again, this supports my argument saying that more classes or larger class sizes need to be an option. Also, since only five students can get on the waitlist, universities across the country think that only those five students are waiting when this isn’t true at all; the waitlist just doesn’t show all of the students that are actually waiting for these classes. I read more comments following this first one, and what most people said was more of advice on what to do when you get waitlisted. One thing several people said was to just show up to the class anyways, and beg the professor to let you into the class. After reading so many comments saying to do this, I am now highly considering doing this for one of the classes I am still waitlisted on right now if I still don’t get into by the beginning of the semester. This is another great example showing that there is no research or help for students to figure out what to do if they want to graduate on time by getting all the classes they need and be equally even.

The last article I used is titled “10 Tips for Getting into the Class You Need.” The title of the article easily explains what it is about, it gives 10 steps on what to do about being waitlisted. The ten things it states to do are, “Try an off-peak time, come up with a really good reason for why you need the course, consider waiting until summer, try a nearby school, look for an online substitution, find another course to satisfy the requirement, appeal with a higher-level course, wait it out, look in your vault, and beg.” All of these tips sound helpful and reliable, but it doesn’t show any proof that it works, which kind of freaks me out. I want some help with not just how to react to getting waitlisted, but more of action like “talk to the head of admissions or classes” instead of “wait it out and see.” I am paying $30,000 to go to college and get a degree, and I’m lucky enough to have my parents there to pay for college, but I know that if I have to go to college an extra year that they will not pay for it, and I don’t have the kind of money to just pull out an extra $2,000 for each class that I need to take just because I got waitlisted. I am willing to try these out, but I still don’t think that being waitlisted is fair.

After reading these articles I learned more on how I can handle the situation that I am in, but I am still with my argument stating that there shouldn’t be this big of a dispute over how many students get waitlisted for classes. I think after all of this that a better argument for this topic would be that there is research for what students should do if they are waitlisted, but not any research for administrators about how harmful it is for student graduation rates when not enough courses or spaces in classes are offered. I decided to change my thesis because while researching for this argument, nothing really came up, and it’s frustrating for students like me who actually need help figuring out what to do when we become waitlisted. I put together a theory which I believe is completely why so many students with so many different majors get waitlisted, and that is that so the universities can make more money off of you. The more classes a student gets waitlisted on the longer they have to be in college and more classes they will have to take because they have to at least take 12 credit hours to stay a full time student, so it’s not like they can just not take classes and wait without having to pay the university in some type of way. It costs students money. Despite having a small or big major, I believe all students should be able to take any class at any time of their four-year journey towards getting a degree.

Works Cited

Hyman, Jeremy S., and Lynn F. Jacobs. “10 Tips for Getting into the Class You Need.”U.S.     News & World Report, 27 Jan. 2010.                                    

My College Guide. “What to Do If You’re Waitlisted or Is There Hope After the Waitlist?” My College Guide, 2016.

Yahoo! Answers. “What Are My Chances of Getting into a Waitlisted Class?” Yahoo! 18 Nov. 2005.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s