Registering during what MCC calls “priority registration” is pivotal for returning, eligible students. However, due to student procrastination and unclear advertising, few students use this designated time to register for classes. This not only affects the students who register late but the students who register early and the chances of some professors meeting their class requirements.
Currently, 12,294 students are eligible for priority registration. Out of that number, only 2,624 have registered for the Fall 2017 semester as of March 27. That’s roughly 21 percent of eligible students.
Although, this is nothing new. MCC has experienced a low turnout of students during this time of priority registration. Denise Klein from the Advisement and Transfer Services Office says that the college has “spent many hours trying to figure out why students do not take advantage of priority registration.”
MCC uses many resources to communicate this time of priority registration to students. There are large banners at the main entrances, fliers around campus, students, were emailed letting them know of priority registration and professors were told to tell their students. Still, the numbers remain consistently low.
The benefits, according to John Striebich, the Department Chair for the Business Administration, are “pretty big.”
“What early registration does is it gives a select group of students,” the chance to register early, said Striebich.
At MCC, there are three tiers for registration. Currently, from March 13 until the registration deadline, students who have 12 or more graded credits can register. The period from March 13 is called “priority registration.” By having a requirement of at least 12 or more graded credits, this allows students who are returning for their classes have the first pick because they will be graduating sooner.
“Early registration is very important, a lot of colleges do it,” said Striebich.
Student success, Department Chairs, and advisors often find, correlate with when students register. Striebich stated that he “get’s a lot of high GPA students,” at the beginning of registration.
Managing over 1,400 students, Striebich has the largest department at MCC. Striebich stated that out of the 1,400, only 21 percent of those students registered.
Striebich said that part of the reason for the low turnout of students is due to the students themselves. “I think it’s the student not understanding that they have an opportunity, not understanding that you always want to do something earlier than later…you get to put together a better schedule, and I don’t think students realize how important that is.”
Striebich criticized the advertisements that are put around campus, saying that “…there are some jumbled messages and a lot of dates that the college sends out and it can get confusing.”
Lori Moses, Department Chair for the Visual and Performing Arts Department agrees. “There is a lot of information being disseminated to the students in a variety of ways that they’re almost inundated with information that makes no sense to them…because most of our students are first-generation college students, they don’t understand all of this—when I say ‘priority registration,’ that means nothing.”
Moses stated that not one of her advisees (students she advises personally) have shown up for advisement. Although, Moses has still advised students for the Fall 2017 semester.
Moses’ has a straightforward approach to making sure students understand not only life at MCC but life at college as well—a college seminar course that explains the terms of MCC and how the college itself operates.
“Most four-year schools require students to take something like that [a freshman seminar]—U of R, who can choose their students…has everyone take a freshman seminar,” explained Moses.
Moses also added that “of any school, I think we [MCC] need it most.”
James Murphy, Department Chair of the Biology Department suggested that the rhetoric of registration should be changed.
Murphy suggests instead of calling priority registration “priority registration” it should be referred to as “early registration” and any students that are registering close to or after a deadline would be registering under “late registration.”
Murphy hopes by using that rhetoric; students would have the foresight to know that under “late registration” there will not be as many classes available.
“…you’re late in the sense of that some of these classes are going to be full,” stated Murphy.
Moses, Murphy, and Striebich agree that the phrase “pay later” on the advertisements is ambiguous. Due to a date not being explicitly stated on the advertisements of when the payment is due—the advertisement only says “no payment until July,”—students feel as though they need to pay now, or don’t know when to pay.
“There’s a misnomer that students think that as soon as they register, they’re going to get the bill and they’re going to have to pay the bill—that’s not really true—there’s a deadline to pay,” explained Moses.
When students register late, it creates a trickle-down effect on the availability of some classes, typically those at the upper level.
“It becomes like a strategy,” said Striebich. Striebich compared creating the master schedule—a schedule of classes that Department Chairs and Deans collaborate with each other to make—like a game of poker. If students procrastinate on their registration, it can affect how the master schedule is planned.
Sometimes, “you have to make a call, and if my call is wrong, students can be negatively impacted,” Striebich said.
When that call is bad, not only does it affect students, it affects professors as well. At MCC, full-time professors are required to teach a minimum of five courses.
One of Striebich’s responsibilities is making sure his full-time professors meet their minimum requirements. If courses get canceled due to low enrollment numbers, that full-time professor still needs a fifth class to teach; therefore, it would have to be taken away from an adjunct so that the full-time professor meets their minimum.
Moses, Murphy, and Striebich agree that while the college can improve on how they advertise and explain priority registration, the responsibility ultimately is to the student.
Striebich says that the incentives to register are there, it’s the students that aren’t.
Due to students not registering early, they do not get to create their schedule; their financial aid can be in jeopardy because students who are on financial aid only receive 12 semesters of aid.
Currently, MCC is putting together a new schedule planner. Striebich and Moses agree that this new schedule planner is more streamlined and easier to use.
“Right now, I don’t think anybody knows that we have this new schedule planner and it’s great…it gives students options…you plug in the classes you need to take, and it gives you optional schedules to take,” said Moses.
The schedule planner also allows students to put in whatever breaks they may need between classes, or if they need to leave by a certain time or of they want to have classes on only certain days.
April 3 is when registration is open to all students—therefore, there will be a wave of new students registering up until the deadline. Moses, Murphy, and Striebich stress to still register during this time if you haven’t and to seek out an advisor to help see what classes students need to take.