Because Interim is easier to register than fall or spring semesters, the Registrar's office plans to implement the on-line registration program for Interim registration only at this time. Spring semester registration will take place as usual: in person in the Black and Gold Ballrooms. Students will, however, be asked to submit a "rough draft" of their ideal course choices through the online registration system before they register. This data will be compared with the courses for which students register to test the new system.
Registrar Mary Cisar hopes that the online system will reduce the stress surrounding registration.
"By the very nature of the process, registration is a stressful time for students. It is also stressful for faculty advisers and for the Registrar's Office," Cisar said. "I don't think we can completely eliminate the stress involved when we are operating within a system of finite resources, but maybe we can improve the situation."
This new system is the result of two years of work from both Cisar and Professor of Mathematics Matthew Richey, as well as two faculty and student committees.
"The system we intend to develop will allow us to complete the process of registration in a way that better uses students' and faculty members' time, but still creates opportunities for serious advising and help for students through the process," Cisar said.
Major changes to the registration system include the order in which students register. Currently, students register for all their classes at once in order of seniority. The new program will place all students in one course at a time, then place all students in a second course, and so on. While this does mean that students may not know what classes they are in immediately, data from other colleges that use a similar system show that more students will get registered in their top-priority classes.
"Above all, we want registration to meet the needs of both students and the college," Cisar said. "Students need to be able to get into courses that are necessary to complete their program of study within the four years they are here, and the college needs to use its resources wisely."
Although many students and professors think that an online registration system is long overdue, Cisar stressed the familiarity and tradition of the old system, as well as the impossibility of using an online program until the SIS was in place.
"We are proceeding slowly and cautiously, one step at a time, because the current arena type registration we use has been in place for many, many years," she said. "You don't just uproot that all at once, because even if people don't particularly like it, it is still familiar and in that sense comfortable."
Cisar also pointed out good points of in-person registration, namely the "opportunity for faculty to advise students on the spot and to troubleshoot problems as they arise."
Cisar urges all students to read e-mails from the registrars office carefully and follow their instructions in a timely manner. Only with campus-wide cooperation can the new system be implemented successfully. Additional information can be found at www.stolaf.edu/offices/registrar.