As the race for registration comes to an end, students discuss what works and what doesn’t, and how that impacts their planning.
Keene State College First-year Josh Biase said that, when he first heard about having to register, he was a little overwhelmed with wanting to make sure he had the right credits to accommodate his schedule.
“But I had someone from Aspire help me to do it, [and then] it was easy,” he said.
Biase said that it’s awesome he gets to choose first; however, he sympathizes with those who don’t have that opportunity. “It’s really nice [going first], but if I were another person, I would see it being unfair because I see people saying ‘aw man, I didn’t get to get into this class because it was full,’” Biase said.
Senior Monica Grass said this had always been a problem for her. “I never really got into any of my classes; I always had to get a teacher to sign me in. I always got like the last time available,” she said.
As a psychology major, Grass said, “A lot of the classes fill up really quick and then, for the senior year, a lot of seminars are only 12 seniors so these fill extremely quick.”
Grass said that, for her, the class order of who gets to register first isn’t the problem, rather it’s who in the senior class gets to go first. “It’s just the timing of it…how they figure out who goes first,” she said. “It’s a struggle.”
Grass said she was lucky she didn’t have to take any summer classes to catch up. “Most of my teachers have been pretty good and signed me in,” she said. However, she said there have been a few classes that she just couldn’t get into.
Sophomore Jake Zoubek said he’s nervous about not being able to get into some classes since he isn’t scheduled to register until the last day.
However, Zoubek said he doesn’t think it’s unfair that as a sophomore he gets last pick. “I mean, somebody has to go last,” he said.
Zoubek also said that he thought the student planning software was convenient. “It’s actually really helpful; it puts everything right in front of you,” he said.
Registrar Tom Richard said the student planning system has actually been in use for the last three years, but it’s only now that everyone is using it.
“So basically the vast majority of our students are used to using the student planning approach,” he said.
Richard said that the computer software program the school uses for registration is moving toward a more self-serving approach rather than using web advisor.
“So essentially…we’re being encouraged…to use the new system,” he said. “So it didn’t really have anything to do with dissatisfaction on campus. It’s just sort of a natural evolution of software updates.”
Richard said he’s noticed the new program working well. “We get several comments from seniors who need to register who wish they had had access to this when they were younger,” he said.
Richard said the real problem this year has to do with all the different kinds of holds some students may experience, which stops them from registering for classes. He said, “We’ve had financial holds for years, which unfortunately is affecting more students [this year]. We’ve had health holds, we’ve [also] had some departments require the student to see advising before they’re able to register.”
In addition to these holds, students are now required to update their addresses and emergency contact information.
First-year Maria Aiello said she thinks it’s a good idea to update this information, but that she heard there were some technical difficulties with the service.
“My friends were telling me they confirmed it and then [the system] was telling them they still needed to confirm it,” she said.
Aiello said the financial hold “makes sense.”
Richard said there were two reasons the requirement for address update and emergency contact was made. “First and foremost, we didn’t have that information on hand so we run into conflict if something happens to you where you’re incapacitated…we didn’t really have any effective way to contact the most important people that you had this problem,” he said.
Richard explained that this decision was made both from an experience standpoint and also just to be safe.
“I think some of this started with the Pumpkin Festival [of 2014]; we had problems with…certain students because of alcohol consumption,” he said. “We needed to contact family members because these individuals had to be brought to the hospital and emergency room.”
Richard said, “It only takes once where that’s really important.”
He also mentioned that in case of an emergency on campus, it’s critical to have access to these students who are not readily nearby. He mentioned a case a while when back there was a house fire near campus.
“We didn’t know if Keene State [College] students were in that building and there’s a feeling that…even though it’s not required by law…it’s important for us to know where everyone is so that we can take the appropriate action,” he said.
Richard said that restricting the ability to register for classes until the right information is given makes it a requirement so students can be protected further by the school. “The irony is that, when students go to do it, it’s very easy to do; it’s not a problem,” he said.
Richard said it’s an easy fix, just like how declaring your major makes it easier to get into certain classes. He said declaring early can help each department plan accordingly by knowing how many seats and then classes they will need to offer.
“We have about 100 students who haven’t declared their major when they should have…you should declare your major by the time you have 60 credits,” Richard said.
Junior Grace Tormey said she declared her major early and has never had a problem with getting into classes.
“I’ve always been able to get into my classes,” she said.
Tormey said she’s always known what her major was going to be. “It’s a lot easier if you know what your plan is [and] what classes you need to take, especially if you’re trying to get into upper level, because I don’t think a lot of people are trying to get in these as much,” she said.
As for the order of who gets to go first and then forth, Richard said he encouraged the change of that decision a couple of years ago.
“The basic reason I brought this forward was because I would see semester after semester, sophomores, juniors and seniors would snap up the 100-level seats and then you have freshmen going last who could only register for 100- or 200-level seats. They had nothing left to register for,” Richard explained. “What we have found is that the registration in this order (first-year, senior, junior, sophomore) works great.
Richard said that sometimes sophomores forget that they got to pick first just the year before. He also mentioned that this system is vital for seniors to graduate on time.
“In most cases, seniors and freshmen shouldn’t be competing for the same courses,” he said.
Richard said his job is to ensure that students register, and this order works the best for that.
Richard said that sometimes it’s aggravating that some students don’t take advantage of registering. He explained that around 240 first-year students who choose first still hadn’t registered.
“There’s no advantage to delaying, because the longer you delay the less the availability is going to come or [the] more difficult [it will be],” he said. “Pay attention – register. you can always make changes later.”
Dorothy England can be contacted at email@example.com