Fall registration moved to May

By Cielestia Calbay

Registration for the fall 2008 quarter will take place during
mid-May instead of the traditional sign-up period in August. The
Academic Senate, which has been consulting with the university
community, has considered the initiative since fall 2005.

The registration process will remain the same. Priority
registration will be held May 12-23 and general registration will
be May 16-30. The summer registration period will be held
consecutively with fall, with priority registration April 24-25 and
general registration April 28-May 6.

This year, continuing students will register before incoming
students. The only change to the cycle is the reserved seating
process for incoming students. Incoming students tentatively
register June 23-Aug. 9.

The Office of Institutional Research, Assessment & Planning
is developing a system for courses to reserve an allotted number of
seats for incoming students so they’re guaranteed a class.

Any unused reserved seats will become open seats for students to
register for during the fall adjustment period. During this time,
all students will have the opportunity to enroll in courses with
open seats. The fall adjustment period will be held Aug. 11-15.

Departments will receive summary information on where the demand
is strongest from “open seats” – a new program that sends e-mails
and text messages to students when a course has opened up.

During the fall registration period, departments will receive a
report on the number of students that attempted to add a course
that was full. Students’ attempts are recorded in PeopleSoft for
departments to use when analyzing registration trends.

Faculty and staff will also receive early information on course
demand in order to make adjustments to course offerings. They will
have the ability to add or drop course sections based on the
demands of continuing students.

Having an early registration gives students a basic idea of
their course schedules, which gives them more time to plan personal
or work schedules around classes.

“We’re aware that students have competing priorities,” said
Claudia Pinter-Lucke, associate vice president of undergraduate
studies. “If we could firm up their schedules before they leave in
the summer, then other priorities would be used to accommodate
their already fixed schedules instead of having the school schedule
massaged to compete with priorities that may have already been
set.”

With an earlier fall registration, students won’t have to worry
about a summer registration appointment.

“Many students are out of town during the summer, so [this]
allows them not to have to worry about rushing to a computer to get
all the classes they want and need,” said Christin Jow, a
first-year mathematics student.

It also facilitates advising, especially for graduating seniors,
when more students and faculty are available on campus. Advisement
for both summer and fall quarters will be combined into a single
session and will take place April 21-May 16.

“With registration in August, many students didn’t see their
advisors before they left for the summer,” said Pinter-Lucke. “When
registration began in August, many advisors weren’t available so it
was difficult to get holds removed, and as a result, students
didn’t register for the appropriate courses. This hindered their
ability to graduate in a timely manner.”

The biggest concern among students was the role of prerequisites
and corequisites.

“I think it might become a hassle since summer classes are used
as prerequisites for the fall,” said Nick Tam, a fifth-year
computer information systems student.

Students will be able to register for fall courses even if their
pre-requisite courses are pending. PeopleSoft will recognize “work
in progress” status on courses as a fulfilled prerequisite. The
same concept applies to students taking summer classes, according
to Pinter-Lucke.

If the student fails the course, however, then he or she will be
dropped from the fall quarter course.

Early fall registration ultimately aims for an increase in
student retention. The university focuses on students’ return from
the spring quarter to the following quarter to continue their
studies and earn their degrees.

A survey conducted in February 2007 by groups from
administration, faculty and staff showed strong student support for
the new initiative. The survey assessed interest in the plan,
developed a method to measure the effects of the change, and
evaluated the more challenging aspects of registration such as
checking prerequisites and meeting demand, according to a May 2007
Academic Senate meeting.

The survey was sent to 5,000 undergraduate students and received
328 responses. Ninety-two percent of the respondents stated they
would definitely or probably register for fall quarter in May.

Sixty-seven percent stated registering for classes in May would
definitely or probably increase the likelihood that they would
return to Cal Poly Pomona for the fall quarter, according to
Pinter-Lucke.

“I think it’s a pretty good idea,” said Dorothy Tam, a
third-year civil engineering student.

The initiative was first envisioned by a group of people from
Academic Affairs, Enrollment Services, Student Advising and
Instructional Technology and was originally planned for fall
2007.

The fall registration committee spent about nine months
improving concerns from senate recommendations. From there,
President Michael Ortiz approved the initiative to go forward.

A survey will be sent out in October 2008 to assess the results
of the early fall registration initiative.

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