Late-registration policy causes challenges

Illustration by WILLIAM NIES 

For those exceedingly prepared students who are first in line the day registration opens, one can only imagine the panic and disappointment ensuing from one or more of their classes being cancelled for one reason or another.  Many times this is due to low enrollment, particularly in the more specialized classes.  While it’s understandable that holding a class with only a handful of students may not be a fiscally responsible decision, the result is that many students are left in a lurch.

The cancelled class leaves a specific hole in many students’ otherwise meticulously planned schedules.  It becomes incredibly difficult to find a course that fulfills the same requirement, meets at the same time and has seats available.  

With many students holding jobs with scheduled hours, it is imperative to adjust their work hours several weeks in advance to accommodate their class schedules.  If a student is unable to find a class to replace those lost credit hours, they could be at risk of delaying their graduation, losing financial aid and being ineligible for certain student activities or extracurriculars.  Pair this with an inability to register for a class that has already begun, and some students are plum out of luck when it comes to optimizing their schedule.

At AC, students are unable to enroll in a class that has already started the term. With course syllabi unavailable to students before the first day of class, those enrolled may not have the clearest idea of what the class entails outside of the blurb in the course catalogue. Should they arrive on day one and come to the conclusion the class is not what they expected, it is highly unlikely they will be able to find and register for a class to fill that space due to the no-late registration policy.

While students are barred from entering a class late, at the same time, classes will automatically eject students from the class roster who fail to attend or submit work before the census day.  Even if a student provided a valid excuse as to why the could not participate in class work that first week, they cannot re-enter that class they had previously registered and paid for.

It seems there should be a grace period in registration where students can register for classes before the census day without having to appeal late enrollment policy.  If a student can withdraw from a class without consequence within the first week, they should conversely be able to register within that first week as well.  As plans can change, classes can be cancelled and situations arise that would require a schedule change after classes begin, it seems fair that students be able to adjust their schedules once they possess information provided by classes on the first day.

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