Course Registration Process Improved for Students

Major changes have been implemented in the course registration process to solve the difficulties students face in assembling their course schedules. These include easier access to the Banner program, adding a registration period after commencement and providing extra sections for required courses.

Drawing on conclusions reached by the Council for Advising, Registration and Enrollment (CARE), the Academic Advising Center (AAC) and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies have collaborated with offices and departments across the University to eliminate the problems of past semesters. “Last spring, the number of students who visited the AAC to complain about the registration process decreased by 60 to 70 percent compared to the semester before,” said Noha Saada, AAC director.

The first issue raised by CARE was the difficulty students faced in accessing the Banner program during the registration process. “Thanks to close monitoring and additional bandwidth provided by our information technology staff members, many students were able to fully register during the first hours of registration,” said Saada.

Yara Neinaa, an integrated marketing communications student, found the registration process easier than the years before. “I’ve always stood outside the department for hours to get the course that I want,” she said. But this year, she signed up online for a business finance class and a management of information systems course without any difficulties.

Besides easier Banner access, for the first time, a supplementary registration period will follow after commencement. “Registration takes place during the build-up to final exams, which is a time when students are stressed out,” explained Hoda Grant, associate dean of undergraduate studies. “By providing an extra registration period, we are giving students a chance to reconsider their courses and make changes when they are less tense.”

A second concern was unmet demand for mandatory courses in some majors. Dina Karam, a senior, has been trying to sign up for a mandatory science course for the past three years. She has been unable to register for this class because it has always been full. This year, departments across the University provided extra sections for certain courses, reducing waitlists and student complaints. Karam was finally able register for a core science class. “This year was the least intense of all the registrations I’ve been through,” she said.

In addition, the School of Business offered an additional summer registration period so that students who haven’t yet declared themselves as majors could sign up for required courses in management, finance and marketing. “Putting aside seats for these students to register later definitely helped make the process smoother,” noted Saada. “Departmental collaboration in planning for and offering these additional courses was a key factor in our successful capacity-enrollment management last spring.”

Similarly, all sections of PHIL 220, Philosophical Thinking, a Core Curriculum course, were opened online. Coinciding with a new Core Curriculum policy that direct entrants to the University should not take PHIL 220 in their first semester, the greater availability of seats reduced student complaints as well, according to Saada.

Although some students have found the registration process easier, some are still struggling to get into the classes they want and are having some difficulties with advising. “I didn’t know there were topics I could choose from [for a Core Curriculum course],” said Mariam Shanan, an incoming freshman.

The AAC is also collaborating with the various schools to ensure that enough spaces are available in key courses for direct entrants when they arrive at AUC. “The CARE council will continue to move forward on these advising and capacity-enrollment initiatives,” said Saada, adding that training will be provided to faculty members to enhance their student mentoring skills. “Our aim is to make the course registration process quick, easy and efficient.”