Spring registration ended Jan. 16, a full five days before the first day of classes. Unlike previous semesters, students no longer had the option to register just before the start of class.
While change is often difficult, we believe that doing away with last-minute registration was for the best.
For one thing, it significantly cuts down on the number of classes cancelled on the first day, leaving students scrambling to find replacement courses. Last-minute registration also made it difficult for instructors and administrators to gauge the number of students who would be in each class on the first day of the semester.
When classes are cancelled due to low enrollment, it places a significant amount of stress on both the professors, who now have less work than expected, and the deans, who have to cancel classes on the busiest day of the semester. With an earlier registration deadline, both groups are given more time to adjust.
The change also discourages procrastination, which is a dangerous trait for a college student.
Of course, the earlier registration deadline does make things more difficult for students who receive financial aid. With less time for the payment to arrive, some students are placed at a disadvantage before classes even begin.
The change could also have been more widely publicized. Even after an email announcing the earlier deadline was sent to students district-wide, many remained unaware. Some students do not have internet access or do not check their email daily, so other forms of communication, such as flyers, automated phone messages or texts would have been quite useful.
Regardless, the deadline change made registration much more efficient, and enrollment for the semester increased to more than 14,000. While there are still some flaws to the earlier deadlines, critics must realize that these rough edges will smooth out over time.