With all of the things students have to pay attention to throughout the semester, it can be hard to look past what is in front of you and plan for the future. One of those things that needs to be planned in advance is registering for next semester’s classes.
Keene State College’s Registrar Tom Richard reported that, currently, there are 218 students who have not registered for classes for next semester yet. At this point, registration is 1.7 percent behind where it was last year at this same time. Richard said, “[1.7 percent] sounds like nothing, but nothing translates into 218 real students.”
Years ago, students used to only have a two-week window to register, but now, they can register, add or drop classes at any time, from any place through the self-service software. Richard said he wanted students to have broader access to registration because he understands their lives can get crazy throughout the semester. “My primary responsibility is supplying a procedure to register… it’s at that point that other factors come in.” Those factors include decreased sections of classes, retention issues and account holds that prevent students from registering.
Currently, 52 students have holds on their accounts, meaning they could not register if they wanted to. Those holds take on three forms: financial holds, advising holds and health form holds.
A financial hold means the student has things on his financial account that they still need to pay, whether that be paying his tuition bill or parking fines. Once the student has paid whatever needs to be taken care of on her account, they are considered financially cleared and the hold is removed from her account, thus allowing her to register for classes.
An advising hold means the student needs to meet with an advisor before he can register. According to Richard, 10 first-year students are currently experiencing this kind of hold, as the college requires all first-year and incoming students, such as those who have transferred here, to receive advising before they can register for classes. Richard said in order to have this type of hold lifted, the student simply has to send her plan to her advisor. The advisor then reviews it and approves it, and then the hold is lifted.
According to KSC’s Director of Academic and Career Advising Pat Halloran, it is not just first-years and transfer students who are required to meet with an advisor before registering; students in the math and English departments must seek advising as well. She said, “The point of doing this is to encourage the student-advisor relationship.”
Although KSC wants students to connect with faculty in their respective departments, a student can also see a professional advisor at Academic and Career Advising if need be and have the hold on their account lifted. Halloran said in these past few weeks, the center has been reaching out to students who have yet to register, and she herself has been meeting with at least one student per week to advise them.
The final hold that could be placed on a student’s account is due to not filling out the required health forms for the Center of Health and Wellness. The filing of the health forms is only required for first-year and transfer students. One form assesses their risk of contracting or carrying tuberculosis, and the other shows that they have received certain immunizations such as the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, the varicella vaccine, which protects against chickenpox, the TDAP vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (also known as whooping cough) and the Meningitis vaccine.
Although the state of New Hampshire does not require higher education students to have vaccinations, Burke said she bases KSC’s health program on the standards set by the American College Health Association. She cited a case that occurred this past summer, where someone at Hampton Beach was discovered to have measles, a highly contagious disease. “I have to be able to ensure that that doesn’t happen here,” said Burke. “It’s really a public health issue.”
Although a portion of students are experiencing a hold on their account, that does not account for the rest of the students who simply have not registered yet. “It’s perplexing,” said Richard.
He used the analogy of buying a lottery ticket to explain why it is important for students to register on time. If you do not buy a lottery ticket, you have no chance at winning, but if you do buy one, you have more of an opportunity to win. When it comes to classes, if you register on time, then you have more opportunities to get into the classes you want or need. Richard also stressed the importance of registering for at least 12 credits and maintaining their status as a full-time student. At KSC, a student needs to be considered full-time in order to receive full financial aid, become an athlete and move into on-campus housing.
Richard encouraged students to make sure they are keeping up with their academic planning and scheduling and said, “Do what you need to do to take care of yourself in a timely fashion… because no one’s going to do it for you.”
Abbygail Vasas can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org