[Fresh] Courses for next semester

John Immerwahr (jimmerwa@email.villanova.edu)
Fri, 12 Nov 1999 16:09:24 -0500

This is the ninth posting for Fresh@News, Villanova's e-mail news
service for parents and friends of the class of 2003. New subscribers
can see the previous postings at: http://news.villanova.edu/fresh/

Interview with Ms. Catherine Connor, Registrar.

Fresh@News: Next week, the class of 2003 will be registering for classes
for the spring semester. Is that different from what happened to them in
the fall?

Ms. Connor: For their fall semester, most first year students had their
schedules made up for them by our office. Now they will be making up
their own schedule for the first time. Obviously the choice of what
courses they will take, with which teachers and at what times, is very
important to them.

Fresh@News: How do students find out what courses they need to take?

Ms. Connor: At Villanova, we take very seriously the role of the
academic advisor. Each college has its own system of advisement, but
all of our first year students start the process by meeting with an
advisor. The advisor and the student determine what courses the student
should take, and then the advisor gives the student a PIN number. No
student can register without a PIN number. It is our way of making sure
that the student has been advised.

Fresh@News: Once they have the PIN number, how do they make up their
schedule?

Ms. Connor: We set aside several days for first year students to
register, and within those days each student is randomly assigned a time
to register. Once that time arrives, the students go into the system
through the World Wide Web and select the classes they want to take.
Each class has a maximum enrollment, so when that maximum is reached the
class becomes closed and students must select some other class that is
still open. If the student doesn't have access to a computer, he or she
can do the process on a computer in our office, or in the library. We
also have a special hotline for students who are having problems.

Fresh@News: What are some of the concerns that come up?

Ms. Connor: Most of the classes we offer at Villanova are small in
size. Our average class size is about 23 students, and we offer very
few large lecture classes. While we pride ourselves on our small
classes, it also means that the classes with the most popular professors
(and at the most popular times) can close out quickly. As a result,
students may find that they can't enroll for the course or the teacher
that they want, at the time that they want. This will be especially
true for students who are given later times to register. (We do have a
system, by the way, to insure that students who register on the last day
in one semester, will be higher on the list for other semesters).

Fresh@News: What can they do if the classes they want are closed?

Ms. Connor: Students sometimes start with a dream schedule and then find
that it just won't work out. They should be prepared to be flexible,
especially about the times that they take courses. They may have to take
some classes at 8:30 AM or at 3:30 PM. If the students are having
scheduling problems, the advisor may be able to recommend a different
course, or if they have an especially strong case, they can sometimes
get permission from a department chair to sign up for a section that is
already closed. Students who can't get a course during the day can
sometimes find that the same course is available in the evening. Many
of the people who enroll in evening courses are working people from the
surrounding area, so many students say that they enjoy the different
perspectives that come up in class discussion.

Fresh@News: Can students change their schedule after registration is
over?

Ms. Connor: One of the best things about web-based registration is that
students can go into the system anytime after their assigned
registration time to change their schedule. If a student really wants a
particular course, he or she should use the web to check that course
periodically to see if a seat opens up. Some of the classes that are
closed in November will have empty seats by the time the semester
actually starts.

Fresh@News: What other services does your office perform?

Ms. Connor: We are responsible for maintaining the student data base,
which includes scheduling and also transcripts. We are also the office
that produces the letters of verification that many parents need for
things like health insurance.

Fresh@News: What advice do you have for parents?

Ms. Connor: It is probably a good idea for parents to have at least a
general familiarity with the various interactions students have with our
office, such as registration, receiving grades (which are also on the
web), and eventually preparing for graduation. Parents can check our
home page at WWW.Registrar.Villanova.edu, where they will find a
calendar. Parents should also be aware of the federal regulations
which govern what kind of information institutions can and cannot
divulge. Generally speaking, our office is not permitted to give out
any information about individual student grades or progress. For that
information, parents should contact the Office of the Dean of the
student's College. If the student signed the FERPA release form (which
was included in the booklet the students received over the summer) then
the Dean may be able to discuss with you how your student is doing.
While we cannot discuss individual students with parents, parents can
always call us for advice on our policies and procedures.

--
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edited by Dr. John Immerwahr, Associate Vice President for Academic
Affairs, Jimmerwa@email.villanova.edu