For prospective missionaries at BYU, plans of enrolling in REL C 130, Missionary Preparation, have not panned out exactly as they hoped.
The popularity of the Missionary Preparation course has skyrocketed for Winter 2013 and now hundreds of students have found themselves on the wait lists for the class despite the Department of Church History and Doctrine at BYU doubling the number of seats available.
Several students enrolled in Missionary Preparation for Winter 2013 received an email from Brent Top, chairman of the Department of Church History and Doctrine, about the overflowing missionary preparation courses next semester.
“President Monson’s announcement concerning the changes in missionary age requirements caught everybody off guard; including us in the Department of Church History and Doctrine,” Top said in the email. “Like you, we are thrilled with these changes and the opportunities that will result. The challenge, however, has been trying to schedule as many REL C 130 Missionary Preparation classes as we can to meet the spike in demand.”
The department more than doubled the enrollment capacity of the course. For Fall 2012, there were twelve sections offered at the Provo campus for a total of 869 seats available, an average class size of 72.41 students. The Salt Lake Center offered an additional section with 24 seats available.
As of Dec. 3, 25 sections are offered for a total of 1,913 seats and an average class size of 76.48 students, with 885 people are on the wait list for the classes. The Salt Lake Center is offering two sections with 60 seats available.
The email explained the difficulty of creating the ability to accommodate every prospective missionary because of the recent announcement.
“The university schedules classes almost a year in advance,” Top said in the email. “As a result, the number of sections of missionary preparation were scheduled based on the normal demand for the course in past years.”
The department has helped alleviate some of the challenge by creating the additional sections and increasing the seats available in classes.
“The challenge we face is limited resources both in the number of faculty who can teach this course and classroom space available on campus,” Top said in the email. “As a result of these limitations, it is clear that not all of the students on the wait lists will be able to add the class.”
The email continued to encourage students who were not seriously considering missions or students who were not leaving on a mission for at least six months to wait to enroll in the course until Spring, Summer or Fall of 2013.
“We will continue to offer as many sections as we can in future semesters, but we will not be able to meet the current demand in winter semester,” Top said in the email.
Shayla Frandsen, a senior from Altamont, said she was able to enroll in the class before the long waitlists happened. She was one of the students who received the email.
“I was really surprised because I have never seen wait lists that long for any class before, but I think it’s really cool at the same time,” Frandsen said.
Despite the email encouraging students to drop the class if they were not immediately planning to serve missions, Frandsen said she expects there to be a number of students who will be in the class who have not decided whether or not to serve a mission.
“Taking Missionary Preparation will help them see kind of what being a missionary is like and if it is something they should do or want to do, so I think it could be helpful,” Frandsen said. “If it will help you in your life, you should be able to take it.”