Recently, students at Central Oregon Community College have been finding it difficult to get into the classes they need. Registration for spring term has been no exception.
Wait list numbers on COCC’s registration website for spring term classes are climbing fast and many students are struggling to find alternate courses to take. According to their website, COCC allows registered students to wait up to two weeks into a term before dropping a class without paying any tuition, which can cause seats to go empty needlessly.
The reason behind allowing this ‘settling in period’ for students before tuition is due is to give students a little flexibility with their schedule and to ensure students are set in the classes they enrolled in before locking in their financial aid according to Aimee Metcalf, assistant director of admissions and records.
Spring registration launched on COCC’s website Friday, Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. and was closed two weeks early, on Monday, Feb. 15 due to massive enrollment numbers. Students are given a registration time slot based on how many credits they have accumulated. This time slot is adjusted for students in some certificate programs due to the short length of the programs.
“I can’t believe how quick classes are filling up this term,” said Carolyn Schroeder, a current COCC student. “I registered [on Saturday] at 1:30, as soon as I could, and I was already number nine on the waiting list for a class that I have to take.”
Less than 18 hours after the web registration was underway, numerous classes were full and wait list numbers had skyrocketed online. According to Aimee Metcalf, these wait list numbers help the admissions department determine the demand for a particular class. They then attempt to add classes as needed whenever possible.
Once the term begins, students who fail to attend a class during the first week without notifying their instructor are administratively withdrawn from that course according to COCC’s general policies and information online. Each absent student on the roster creates one space for a student on the wait list.
This allows students high enough on the wait list a chance to add the course, but others are not as lucky.
“I’ve seen a lot of students ask to add a class and be told that the roster is full,” said Phillip Browning, a COCC student. “And then the very next week more students drop the class.”
Beverly Adler, COCC Instructor, said even though one of her classes this term only allowed for 29 students to register online before they were placed on a waiting list she was able to admit all 39 students who were present for the course.
Adler was able do this because space allowed, but this is not always possible. Adequate space and/or equipment is not always available for extra students to be admitted.
Adler said that she has seen decrease in students dropping her classes in the past year. “The attrition rate has been pretty slow; it used to be a lot larger.”
More now than ever, registering as soon as possible is necessary for students if they want to get into the classes they need.
A number of classes are offered only one term per year and those classes usually have an even higher demand to get in. If a student misses out on those particular courses, they may have to wait until the next year for the course to come around again.
“I am not saying it’s the best system,” said Metcalf. “but so far it has worked for us.”
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