"The process of switching to an online system has taken a while," according to Cisar. "A few years ago, a committee surveyed students about web registration and their responses were overwhelmingly in favor of switching to an online system. We looked into many systems," Cisar said. "We looked at what has worked and what hasn't worked at other colleges."
Cisar said that this system seemed the most fair to faculty and students. "We've had many conversations about what fair means," she said. "We need to take into account the needs of academic departments and of students who need to complete their majors and graduate."
Many students have different opinions about what fair means in context of registration. "I dont like that our pre-registered classes will be our first-choice slot online," Jeanne Foels '10 said. "I'm worried about getting into upper-level classes," Bryan Belcher '10 said. "The Internet can give you false hopes."
Anxiety seems to be a common sentiment, especially among rising seniors who must complete majors and fulfill requirements to graduate. "This system is acceptable in the long run, but it puts [rising] seniors at a severe disadvantage," said Pete Williams '08.
Micah Marty '10 sympathizes. "It's unfair to upper-classmen," he said. "Registration is just a hierarchy that were all passing through, and this transition doesn't offer everyone equality."
Ally Harris '08 hopes that the program is run so that the rising seniors are given the same advantages as in the past.
Some members of the junior class, led by Andrew Foxwell '08, have created a Delta Task Force to make the concerns of next year's seniors known.
Cisar assures students that the Registrars Office has put a lot of time and energy into doing just that. "We've been in contact with students on Senate about fairness to seniors and we really want students to know that were concerned about it," she said. "I've blocked off a whole week of my schedule to run the system many times and figure out the best way to do it."
Other students express apathy about the new system. "I've only experienced one year of the old system, so it doesn't really matter to me," Sam Brown '10 said.
Stephen Anderson '09 added that he has "definitely been putting it off."
Some students procrastinate completing their schedule because the new method seems daunting. "It seems like too many steps to go through," said Erika Greiner '09.
Although Becca Heistad '09 has completed her registration, she said that "it will probably be easier when its all online."
Some students feel that the new system is less personal. "I understand that it cuts down on costs, but I'll miss the personal interaction," Lizzie Phillips '09 said.
However, Cisar said that one of her biggest concerns is keeping registration personal. We're trying it in the spring so that students can have their advisers on campus, she said. The rising first-year class will wait until they're on campus and use the old system this fall so that their advisers can work closely with them.
Cisar remains optimistic about the system. "It will give us much more information in a timely manner," she said. "We can monitor patterns of registration and keep people better informed."
Many students express optimism as well. "It's confusing, but I trust Mary Cisar," Maggie Matson '08 said.
Cisar, for her part, encourages students to keep asking questions about the new system. "This registration is the most complex thing we've done with the system so far, so I try to keep students abreast of changes and answer any concerns that they have," she said. "We're putting a lot into making this work."