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ISSUE 120 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/17/2006

Registration occurs online

By Stephanie Soucheray
News Editor

Friday, November 17, 2006

Students registered for Interim classes last week using the new Student Information System (SIS). Interim registration was the first attempt at online registration at St. Olaf College.

According to statistics from Mary Cisar, registrar of the college, 77.54 percent of students who used the SIS system for registration got their first choice for Interim class selection.

Of 2,952 St. Olaf students eligible for Interim programs, 1,721 of those students submitted choices for on-campus classes and programs.

"I wanted to get into Colin Wells’s Beats class," said Britt Schwager ‘07. "I made it my first choice on the SIS website, and I got it."

Once students got clearance from their academic advisor, students logged in to the SIS and listed their five choices for Interim classes in the two weeks prior to registration.

Students had one week to alter schedules and rank classes. Then the selection window closed and the SIS algorithm worked through a student’s choices until a course match was found.

Students who are going on Interims off-campus also had to register using the SIS system.

"I’m going on the theatre in London Interim," said Solveig Voelker ‘07. "Even though I am already accepted in the course, I had to go online to register."

Some students did not get their first choice for Interim.

Andy Rollins '09 did not get any of the classes he wanted. "Even though I listed six courses and followed all the instructions, I didn't get any of my choices.”

Rollins was upset with the SIS method. "It's pretty ridiculous when we, as students, were told that the new system would work so well," Rollins said.

Cisar recognizes the system's flaws. "Operating as we do under limited resources, it is really impossible under any registration system at any college to have 100 percent success – meaning everyone gets their first choice," Cisar said. "On the other hand, the students I've corresponded with have all been understanding and there are still plenty of options open."

Cisar points out that over 93 percent of students got their first, second or third choices. Still, the future of online registration at St. Olaf is not exactly clear.

"Our plan is to proceed somewhat cautiously," Cisar. said "Registration is a high-stakes process, and I really, really don't want to cause problems by moving too quickly."

Most seniors and juniors will not see the full effects of online registration at St. Olaf. "My hope is that by the end of next academic year [2007-2008] we will be phasing out most of the ballroom moments," Cisar said.

Cisar explains that students have input on the system. “The model we have talked about does provide for an ‘advising evening’ partway through the full process to help students who are having trouble,” Cisar said. “This idea came from students on our registration committee, and I think it is a great way of retaining the importance of faculty advising of students for registration while moving toward a web-based model.”

Even though registration may be more streamlined online, the SIS method does not guarantee registration satisfaction.

“I certainly would welcome feedback and suggestions from all students about Interim registration and any other registration-related issues,”Cisar said.

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