The Way Back: The Amazing Race

If you ask any current UT student, they likely have a registration horror story—whether watching the courses they needed become suddenly “closed” or “waitlisted” in the days leading up to their registration or sleeping in past their alarm for an 8 a.m. registration time and waking in a panic hoping they can still get into all their classes.

The online registration process is its own beast for students to contend with, but registering in one’s pajamas at home on a computer doesn’t sound all that bad, especially in comparison with how UT students used to register.

Before the registration website, students had to call into the registrar using the Texas Enrollment Exchange system (TEX) to add and drop classes. The memorable voice of William Livingston, then-vice president of the University, spoke to them on the other side, ending each call with: “Goodbye, and good luck.”

A registration procedure sheet from Fall 2000 reminded students that they only had 20 minutes each to complete their registration on the phone before the call would be terminated. If they didn’t finish their registration during that time, they would have to call back to continue.

And before UT implemented the TEX system in 1988, registration was a daylong event.

Students stood in lines in Gregory Gym—and later, in the Frank Erwin Center—for the courses they wanted. The arduous process brought out the best and worst of the student body. Friends held spots in line for each other. Some alumni even claim they brought $20 bills to the tables to convince volunteers to squeeze them into the classes they needed.

The frenzy of registration is a rite of passage for UT students—a shared experience across generations. But no matter the system or technology … we’ll always have the add/drop period.


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