R.I.P. Late Registration

 Late registration is not an option at the College of Southern Nevada, reports Inside Higher Ed. Till this year, students could join a class within three weeks of its start date. Now they must sign up by the night before the first class.  

“Retention is far lower for students who register late,” said Rhonda Glover, national director of data coaching and data strategy for Achieving the Dream, a completion-oriented nonprofit group that works with the College of Southern Nevada and many other community colleges.

By preventing students from entering a class they’re unlikely to complete, Glover said “you’re actually supporting those students in more positive ways than you’re hurting them.”

“Students would wait until the last minute,” says Dennis Soukup, who chairs the college’s applied technology department. That made it hard to teach or to know how many instructors would be needed. 

Some fear the neediest students will be shut out. “The policy is going to block low-income students from enrolling,” said Sondra Cosgrove, a history professor. “They’re the students who have the most problems.”

Late registration hurts students, argues Glover at Achieving the Dream. Her former employer, Valencia College, improved retention by requiring on-time registration, along with other completion policies. Students adjusted, she said. “Once you make the rules, they abide by it.”

CSN added shorter-term courses, usually eight weeks long, with later start dates. A marketing campaign included a flier that read “R.I.P. Late Registration” and included a picture of a tombstone.

POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON March 6, 2014

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CSN student here!

Even though they’ve been telling us since late last Spring about “R.I.P. Late Registration”, we *still* had people show up the first day hoping to get in to *full* sections of science classes.

I agree that this blocks some students from enrolling. However, the problem isn’t really income: it’s time. The student who doesn’t have 15 minutes to complete enrollment online also doesn’t have time to study or go to class (or work more flexible hours, arrange child care, fill out financial aid paperwork, etc.).

The blessing and curse of being Vegas’s community college is that people can decide to go pretty much until the last minute. Opportunity is balanced with the potential to very quickly get in over one’s head. I’ve seen it every semester so far and I’ll be curious to see if it’s any better this semester.

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