When it comes to meeting with advisers, sooner is better, said Rachel Delbridge, financial aid counselor.
Delbridge is part of a committee that includes representatives from financial aid, the bursar, Information Technology and advisers that try to make the registration process work more smoothly for students.
Some students have to delay their graduation because they cannot get into the classes they want and need, said Delbridge. She said these students wait to register for classes until after they have met with their advisers, and those adviser meetings are often scheduled after students are allowed to begin registering for classes.
“There are several popular degrees,” Delbridge said. “Certain classes must be taken in sequential order.”
Delbridge said that if students register early, there is a higher chance of departments recognizing a need to offer more classes. If students do not register in time, it is often too late to open up additional classes.
“Priority registration exists for a reason,” said Pat Fawcett, IUS registrar.
He said since freshman and sophomore students take more general education courses, they have more options to choose from when selecting classes. In contrast, junior and senior students have less wiggle room, especially when it comes to senior seminar classes, he said.
“Students often know which classes they need to take before meeting with their adviser,” Delbridge said. “They already know their path.”
Once advising week begins, many department advisers have schedules booked for the next two to three months, Delbridge said.
She said she recommends that students try to meet with their advisers early in the semester, and even said students should consider planning their classes a semester ahead to avoid running into any scheduling conflicts down the road.
“An adviser does a lot more than just register for classes,” Fawcett said. “They help you map out a future. The simplest part of what they do is finding classes and helping students sign up for them.”
Another useful tool for planning classes is the Academic Revising Report (AAR) on OneStart, Fawcett said. He said students can utilize the tool to see which classes they need to complete their degree requirements without having to visit an adviser.
Returning students are each given a priority registration date when they are allowed to register for classes. After priority registration, it moves into the open registration phase which allows new and transfer students to register for classes.
“It’s really about timing,” Delbridge said. “Your appointment date is set for a reason.”
Sometimes, despite careful planning, scheduling conflicts can still occur, said Dejan Tomanic, international studies and political science senior and Student Government Association (SGA) vice president.
“I scheduled everything I possibly could so that I could take only senior seminars my final semester of college,” Tomanic said.
When he went to register for classes, he said he found that the senior seminar class required for international studies and the senior seminar class required for political science were scheduled for the exact same day and the exact same time.
Tomanic said he was luckily able to talk to his professors and work out a plan that allows him to still graduate on time. However, Tomanic said he has spoken to other students experiencing similar problems.
“With the commitment this university has to ensuring a graduation rate within four years, this is a stumbling block,” he said.
Tomanic said a potential solution is allowing more students to take classes as independent studies, and the SGA is open for additional suggestions.
The committee working to make registration a better process for students is also looking for suggestions, Fawcett said. He said hearing suggestions from will help make the registration process a more positive experience for others.
Delbridge and Fawcett agreed that the best way to get the smoothest registration process is to register as early as possible.
“We would like to see every student register before they leave in the spring,” said Fawcett.
To share your suggestions with the registration committee, contact Pat Fawcett at firstname.lastname@example.org and write “suggestions” in the subject line. To share suggestions with the SGA, stop by one of the offices or contact either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to directly contact SGA president Stephon Moore.