Students register early for spring semester

The registration period this semester has been expanded to last two weeks so students can have more time for advisement.Registration, which was intended to begin Nov. 4, started for regular students this week on Monday. Doctoral, graduate, post bachelor and senior students began yesterday, juniors begin today, sophomores start on Oct. 31 and freshmen begin Nov. 1.University registrar Robert Dunning said William Fleming, executive director of the Student Advisement and Mentoring Center, requested the university open the registration earlier in order to encourage students to be advised earlier.”We’re not closing it any earlier; we’re just extending the period,” said Dunning.Dunning said the decision to extend the registration had to be cleared through the university first.”We had to meet with the finance division,” said Dunning. “It was a collaborative decision between the finance division, this office and Dr. Fleming.”The two-week registration period is currently exclusive to this semester, but the university plans to study what happens to see if the custom should be continued.”We’ll study it this time and make a decision on rather we’ll continue this practice in the future,” said Dunning.Fleming said he pushed for extra registration time so that students who still need advising can have time to register for their classes.”I just felt it was necessary for registration, because some students may not be aware that they need to be advised,” said Fleming.Fleming said the center has advised between 700 and 800 students so far, typically getting about 200 students daily. The counselors try to spend about 20 to 30 minutes with each student.”So far, it’s working great,” said Fleming. “The students that we advised have appreciated what we’ve done.”Students who are advised are asked to fill out a 15-question evaluation form, and most of the feedback so far has been very positive.Comments include “My advisor was very helpful and patient”, “All my questions were answered fully,” “He was extremely helpful,” and “He was awesome.”On a “one to five” range scale for questions concerning the advisor and awareness of one’s degree plan after advisement, five being the most favorable response, most of the students rated the experience a four or five.Fleming said the goal of the center is to give students a better understanding of their degree requirements and academic progress, and not just tell them what classes to take and then usher them out the door.”We don’t just clear them and let them go,” said Fleming. “We actually sit down and talk with them.”Most students seem to like the registration extension this semester.Senior Justin Burnett said while the university’s decision to extend registration this semester is good, it’s too late to really benefit him.”It would have been better if they had done it earlier, then I could have experienced it,” said Burnett.Senior Lisha Miller said as a graduating senior, it is very helpful the university is giving her extra time to set up her spring schedule.”I’m really glad that they provided us with a two-week window to get our schedules straight,” said Miller.Miller also added that while she is normally prepared in advance to schedule, the longer period would be a benefit to students who are not prepared.” I always register on my date, and I’m always ready,” said Miller. “For the people who wait to plan their schedules on registration day, I guess it would be beneficial for them.”Dunning said that apart from the change in registration length, a new policy will begin next semester in which advisement will be mandatory for students who are on academic probation. The purpose of the new program is to allow students in danger of failing a chance to retake classes they received low grades in instead of just piling on new courses and continuing the trend.Students who wish to be advised can call the SAM Center at 444-4444. The center accepts walk-ins, but students are advised to make an appointment due to the high traffic the center is currently experiencing.

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