PSU Seat Check Will Beat The Watch List So You Don’t Have To
Registering for courses has become a burden for Penn State students. You wait until midnight to sign up for the course that satisfies your major requirements, only to find out there are no seats left. Now you have to put the class on your watch list, which means you are now in a 24/7 race against a number of students to get the next available spot. Luckily, a student-designed program was created to help you beat the watch lists without having to deal with the race for the last spot.
The program is called PSU Seat Check; a Windows OS app that is specifically designed to place you in the classes you want without any hassle. Created by Jay Adams, a senior IST Design major, to make the lives of students less stressful when trying to schedule courses.
“Seat Check came about in the Summer of 2014 when I switched from CompSci to IST and having to schedule classes to fit my major,” Adams said. “When I went to schedule I couldn’t get into them because they were all full, so I got placed on watch lists. I learned that it was a really slow and cumbersome process with the notifications it was supposed to send out, having to log in, and copying and pasting the course ID. It was too complicated.”
Instead of having to do all of that work just for a chance at the last seat, PSU Seat Check does it for you. The desktop app allows you to pick the course you desire to register, enter your Penn State information, and it’ll automatically sign you up in the course when a seat opens up within seconds. Adams’ program began as something to do during one of his classes.
“It all started in the back of my IST 110 class, which is an entry level IST course,” Adams said. “I literally just sat in the back and worked on this app during class because it was a throwaway, easy-A course.”
Adams initially wanted to create the desktop app to only view how many seats were available, but then realized he could do more. Adams saw that he could use macros and mimic the elion browser to automatically enroll students into desired courses. The program will only work, however, while the computer is on and awake so the app can run in the background.
While this app proves to be very useful to students when registering for courses, Adams doesn’t make any profits from it. In reality, Adams uses Penn State’s servers as well as his own rented GoDaddy.com server that costs about $10 per month.
“Technically you could say I’m losing a bit of money from this,” Adams said. “I don’t make any money from it, and I would never plan to charge anyone for using the app. This has become a fun side project for me.”
One problem, however, students may encounter with the app is when multiple students want to schedule the same course while using the app. If more than one student uses the program and selects the same course, the program will arbitrarily decide who gets into the last seat of the class.
“There’s no random protocols for my program, it’s just first come, first served,” Adams said. “At that point it would really come down to latent internet speed, very small amounts of time, and other factors could affect it.”
One of the reasons that Adams made the program public was to inspire other students to create things.
“I love student-created things like apps, stories, performances, things like that,” Adams said. “I want to inspire people to let their passions shine so they can go out and create their own stuff.”
The app has gained some traction in the year and a half it has been available. Since its initial release in Summer 2014, PSU Seat Check over 5,000 users have downloaded the app. Adams has also received feedback from students about creating an OS X app since the app is only available for Windows right now. He’s in the process of developing the app for a number of platforms, but Adams says he’s not being rushed.
“I am developing the app for other operating systems, but there’s not much of a hurry because the auto-add feature stops when the late drop starts,” Adams said. “After the late drop, the app will still work as a seat checker, but the auto-add won’t work because you have to go through an adviser to schedule.”
The late drop period starts on January 21, so students only have one more week in the semester to take advantage of PSU Seat Check for registering those last minute classes. Click here to download PSU Seat Check.