Late registration is bad for students and their instructors, writes Terry O’Banion, president emeritus of the League for Innovation in the Community Colleges, in Community College Times. Community colleges should set a hard deadline for registration to boost student success, he argues.
. . . John Roueche, former director of the famed Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin, asked two questions: “What is the most important day of the semester?” and “What is the most important week of the semester?” His answer: The first day and the first week, respectively.
. . . All students—but especially first-generation, underprepared students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds—need to connect with other students, with instructors, and with course content as quickly as possible.
Late registration cuts the 16-week term to 15 weeks of instruction, O’Banion writes. Instructors can’t do any real teaching on day one or even day two, if half the class hasn’t shown up yet.
In addition, students learn a dangerous lesson: It’s OK to ignore deadlines. This won’t help them when they join the workforce.
Late registration undercuts student success, researchers have found. In a 2002 study, 80 percent of on-time students made it to the next semester, compared to 35 percent of late registrants. Among new students, late registrants withdrew from 21 percent of course hours, twice the rate of on-time registrants.
Some community colleges now offer short courses that start in mid-term, so students who aren’t ready to go at the beginning of the semester don’t have to wait months to start.