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The early bird gets confused?

Advanced registration for classes can cause issues

Advanced registration too early for students who do not know class grades for planning of the next semester.

Planning in advance is a useful skill — practicing it means students are more prepared, and can make more practical decisions. However, advance planning without appropriate knowledge is useless. For UMBC students, this nightmare is cyclical, occurring every semester when the time comes to sign up for classes – and it’s made more difficult by how early registration takes place.

Registration for the next semester takes place a little more than halfway through the semester. Many students have just barely taken the second exam in many of their classes. They more than likely don’t have a good idea of the grade they will get in the class, nor do they know what their next semester’s extra-curricular commitments are going to be.

The registrar’s office at UMBC sends out the mass reminders to sign up for classes very early on in the semester, way before students can actually sign up for classes. All these registration reminders and the signing up for classes take place too early in the semester, leaving students nervous and still unprepared.

This semester, the reminders were sent out at the very beginning of March. Students are not allowed to register until the end of March or the beginning of April. This reminder is too far before the time that is necessary to talk to advisors.

This uncertainty makes it extremely difficult to predict what classes the student will need for the next semester. This means that all the advance planning in the world does not do much for the students beyond engendering frustration.

According to Steven Smith, university registrar, these policies are in place because, “there are things that students must do prior to the actual first registration date. For example, contacting the advisor, reviewing the degree audit, meeting with the advisor to get registration clearance, and reviewing the published course schedule prior to your registration appointment.”

These things do not take a month. It seems like an allotted time span of a week or two would not only remedy some issues with student frustration, but by placing more rigid time constraints on students, it could help them remember to get all of these tasks done.

Smith said, “Registration at this time of the year allows students to deal with creating their schedules prior to the time-crunch that students face at the end of the term.” And yet, students get annoyed with these policies more than they seem to help.

Rivka Arno, a freshman computer science major said, “it’s really annoying. The signing up really early just makes things frustrating because it’s so far in advance; your other plans for the next semester aren’t yet in place. You don’t know whether you’ll have a different job, an internship or anything.”

Advance planning is useful. It helps students manage their time better. However, too far in advance, it is unrealistic to expect students to predict classes and time management for the next semester. UMBC should consider pushing off registration, as well as delaying the reminders for registration.