YU’s Registration Process Was Flawed. One Student Decided To Fix That.
Oze Botach (YC ‘24) was thinking about dropping the computer science major. Intro to Computer Science was tough, the work was hard and the grades were low. Botach, however, decided to persevere. That perseverance led him to identify a problem at YU — one he became bent on addressing: the school’s registration system.
Like many YU students, Botach was frustrated with YU’s slow and outdated registration system. Instead of complaining, he did something about it. Today, over 1,000 YU students have visited his dynamic course list site, coursevalet.com, which he coded himself.
As explained by Botach, his website includes many features that the official YU website does not have. “The YU registration system is bad because it lacks any search functionality that is dynamic,” he said. “For example it requires one to search by multiple parameters and then go back to the registrar page just to redo a search. Additionally, the website lacks any details about specific professors.”
Botach’s website seeks to address these deficiencies. For example, CourseValet allows users to search a class by either time, professor, requirement or day. Additionally, CourseValet allows users to do an advanced search, through which a student can input multiple factors to find a very specific class.
But the site does not only make looking up classes easier. It also has features that can aid students in making choices once they have identified a class. For example, CourseValet includes the average rating from Rate My Professor and comments from the website. CourseValet also makes a mock schedule for students based on potential classes. Needless to say, Botach’s site addresses many of the deficiencies in the YU site.
Botach was born and raised in Los Angeles and moved to Las Vegas in 2016. Since middle school, he has been obsessed with computers. Botach remembers receiving an iPad around sixth grade, and that was when his fascination with technology began. Botach spent a lot of time playing around with computers throughout middle school and high school, which helped him learn how they operate. While he does not regret missing out on social events to confront his obsession and learn more about computers, he admits that it detracted from other aspects of his life. Ultimately, Botach always knew he wanted to study computer science at Yeshiva University. It was not even a discussion with his parents — it was a tacit assumption.
So, how did someone who was born to work with computers almost drop out of computer science? In Botach’s words, simply put, coding is not the same thing as being savvy with computers. While he had a strong background in how computers work, that did not translate into coding. Thus, Botach was thrown into the deep end when he began his major at YU. The classes were challenging, and he had to adjust. Without the encouragement of his parents and friends to push through, he would have dropped the major.
Despite his early success, Botach has not grown complacent. He makes it clear to users that this version of the website is still in BETA V1, an early stage of development, and he is still working to constantly enhance the website. In addition to this massive undertaking, Botach keeps himself busy with other projects and activities, including working for his family business back in Los Angeles.
While Botach appreciates and celebrates his success, he is surprised by how far he has come. At first, he was afraid the site would not even take off, and his hundreds of hours spent working would go to waste. Ultimately, he is thrilled to see his hard work result in success and enjoys talking about his work with new YU students who he meets. He acknowledges that the launch of this website has opened him up to many great new opportunities and interactions.
Now, in the season of registration, Botach, a true sophomore, is sitting with The Commentator for this interview. He laughs as he tells his story while remaining passionate about his website and showing off all of its features. Perhaps this is a microcosm of how he feels: He is happy with himself but is still hungry for more. He plans on expanding the website to other universities and creating a sense of community by allowing students to join WhatsApp group chats for particular subjects. Still, he continues to look for new ways to improve himself and his craft.
Photo Caption: Like many YU students, Botach was frustrated with YU’s slow and outdated registration system.
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University