Enrollment deadline confusing?

Student Senate voices concerns over registration date promotions

Adrienne Oliva, Editor in Chief

When Andrea Long received an email last semester saying that she had to register up for her spring semester classes by Nov. 23, she was anxious. She didn’t know how she could sign up for her classes while her name was still on the waitlist for Madison College’s child care center.

“I didn’t know if I was going to have child care, and on what days. But I had the impression that I had to have my registration in. So that was extremely inconvenient and nerve racking,” Long said.

Though Long ended up signing up for her classes by the deadline with the hope that they would work with her child’s schedule, she later learned that she did not need to rush to register in the first place.

“I found out later, it’s just the priority window. It’s not like if you don’t register in that time, you don’t get in, but it didn’t come off that way,” she said.

Long is personally more clear about when she can register for classes this semester, but Madison College’s Student Senate is still concerned that some students are confused due to the way registrations dates are being advertised.

Though priority registration is something the college has done since 2013, Student Senate President Tina Marshalek believes confusion comes from the college’s advertising not being clear that students will have another chance to register for classes after the first deadline passes.

“At this point, students have received two emails from [email protected] that say the final registration deadline is April 18. However, we know that that is the priority deadline, meaning the registration deadline for continuing students to register before new students can,” Marshalek said.

“There may be a window where continuing students can’t register for classes so that new students can register for classes, but the window will reopen for those students. And that is not clear in any of the promotion that the college has issued.”

According to Marshalek, the deadline confusion is particularly harmful for unconventional students at the college.

“It’s unrealistic to assume that students know what their lives are going to be like this far in advance,” she said.

Marshalek believes that students often register late not because they are procrastinating, but because they have other responsibilities to plan around.

“We have students with children and they have to worry about their kid’s schedules, we have students who work multiple jobs, students who are in the midst of job hunts,” she said.

The change in the way Madison College advertises registration dates came as a response to a decrease in enrollment.

“We are constantly watching enrollment,” explained Dr. Keith Cornille, an executive vice president at the college. “One of the things that we have seen for the past couple years is a continual drop off in continuing education students registering.”

Similar schools across the state have seen a loss in enrollment, but not at the same rate that Madison College has been seeing with continuing education students.

Cornille explained that the intention of the advertising was not to confuse students, but to create a sense of urgency to sign up for the classes that they need to successfully complete their programs.

Signing up for classes early is important, explained Cornille, because it helps the college ensure that there are enough sections of courses that students want and need for their programs.

Cornille said that the college’s enrollment advertisement last semester was a success.
“We saw that our numbers for continuing students last fall increased considerably over the same period of time in the years before,” he said.

Cornille believe that the advertisement last semester was so successful because it created a sense of urgency by placing a deadline on the first window that continuing students could register in. Marshalek believes that the advertisement created a sense of urgency in a different way.

“Make no mistake, it wasn’t that we said ‘(the window) closed,’ it was that students didn’t think that they could register past that day,” she said.

Cornille insists that this was not the intention of the advertising.

“The intentions are good here. The intentions aren’t trying to do anything other than to help students take actions to register for their classes,” he said.

In the future, Student Senate and Madison College’s advising team hope to work together to create advertisement that both motivates students to register early while taking the Student Senate’s concerns into consideration.

In the meantime, Marshalek wants students to not feel anxious this semester about registration.

“I want students to know that they don’t need to fear about their schedules or about registering this far in advance. It is definitely in their best interest to try to register before the priority deadline so they can secure a spot, but if they are in a situation where they don’t know their (schedule) this far in advance, this is not the final deadline,” said Marshalek.