Admin. looks to improve registration

By Nicole D. McGovern

Julie Brennfleck dreads registration.

“I feel our registration system is the most unorthodox method of registration I have ever encountered,” the sophomore physical therapy major said. “Every time I attempt to sign up for classes, I can never get through via the computer. If for some miraculous reason I get through on the phone, it disconnects me halfway through, leaving me wondering whether or not I actually got the classes I needed.”

Repeatedly pressing redial only to hear a busy signal while reading the “system failure” message on their computer screens is a scenario many Northeastern students face when they attempt to register for classes each semester. These frustrated students, like Brennfleck, feel the registration system needs to be updated, and sooner rather than later.

Problems with registration occur when too many students attempt to access the system at once, despite a process called Primary Access Schedules (the PASS system). PASS phases students into registration over two days, depending on their years of graduation and the last two digits of their student IDs.

Despite the staggered system, students in the Facebook groups devoted to problems with registration say the system still doesn’t work.

The description of one group reads: “This group is for people who woke up at 8 a.m., skipped class and waited for hours on end trying desperately to register for classes, only to have both phone and online registration blow up in your face.”

The Office of the University Registrar is working to change the registration procedure so it runs more smoothly for students. Nina Ledoyt, senior associate registrar, said the office is trying to expand the PASS system, giving each class a full day to register in the hope that this will relieve some of the traffic.

Ledoyt said Information Services is also working on solutions to make the Web site better able to handle the volume of users.

Janice Swindlehurst, coordinator of student services, said she sympathizes with students and understands their frustrations. She assists many students who come to her during registration time because the system is down and they can’t get into the classes they need.

Swindlehurst said the online registration is a “mixed blessing.” Although there are difficulties, she said the site is fairly easy to navigate.

“A few years back students had to physically line up to register,” Swindlehurst said. “It was very inconvenient and time-consuming, having to come to the campus to register. With the online registration, students can do it from anywhere.”

Christine Letzeiser, assistant dean of enrollment and student services, said she tries to prepare students for the pitfalls of registration.

“We educate students on what they need to know,” Letzeiser said. “I usually give students a heads-up that the system will get jam-packed and tell them not to get stressed out about it.”

Despite these efforts, Rebecca Wildenger, a sophomore psychology major and early elementary education minor, said registration makes her want to “throw the computer out a window.”

“Registration day is possibly the worst day at Northeastern,” she said. “You have to wake up early to try to log in and get the classes you want before they’re all taken, but you end up sitting in front of the damn computer for hours because there is too much traffic on the Web site.”

By the time many students get through on the Web site or phone, some of the classes they wish to take are filled. In Wildenger’s case, this landed her in a class she didn’t need.

“I’m taking a course called Peoples and Cultures this semester, which fulfills the social world requirement,” Wildenger said. “I’ve already fulfilled this requirement, but I couldn’t get into a class I needed and this was the only thing that fit into my schedule without having to rearrange all my other classes.”

Although Northeastern staff are working toward a solution, Brennfleck said it can’t come soon enough.

“When you have everyone signing up at once, inevitably the Campus Pipeline is not going to be large enough to hold us all on there,” Brennfleck said. “If the Northeastern University faculty has not yet understood that, there is little hope for what we are actually learning from them.”

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