Tuesday I got the opportunity to listen to Amy Siegel, the First-Generation Advisor in the ARC, speak to a wide-eyed Freshman Focus class about registration. As a fairly new member of the ARC, and not so much focused on registration (I’m the Director of the Writing Center and Parent Communications), I learned a thing or two I thought I’d pass on to you all.
The first question about registration is one that has been asked by countless university students probably since universities began—the concern has been amplified in recent years by the “innovation” of real-time online course enrollment updates. What happens if your son/daughter doesn’t “get” or “thinks” he/she “won’t get the classes” he/she needs? It sounds like a terrible, terrible problem, especially when your student convinces you there’s no way out of the dilemma. You have no choice but to believe Johnny when he says he’s going to be part-time for a semester and move back home because he can’t get “his” classes for the Spring. I will repeat my earlier response to this very question on our Parent Facebook page (the ARC advisors make me do things like this!): If students have or anticipate having problems with registration, they should come to the ARC. The advisors will help them get signed up for the classes they need to stay on their four year graduation plan. Sometimes that means requesting permission from a professor to enroll in a class that has already been “closed;” sometimes that means taking a different Gen Ed course; sometimes that means taking a Gen Ed instead of a course in one’s major. Each case is a little different. On the bright side, for freshmen, there are still many more classes they need.
The second question has to do with resources and figuring out why your student might be panicky and approximately what your students’ schedules should be like. Amy showed the FF class how to use the online Course Catalog. From there, anyone can see what a four-year plan template looks like for any undergraduate major at Bellarmine. Advisors can help when students are double majoring (usually those courses fill up any electives in the primary major), changing majors, or have a minor.
With this information, you should be better equipped to respond to “registration unhappy” students. Remember, too, that as upset as they are today, the moment will pass. I’ve heard the story about parents getting a desperate call (or text— there are variations of this story) from their son/daughter, proceeding to spend the next day/week/hours anxious themselves, only to find out later that the issue blew over after the conversation. Your sons and daughters are pretty smart—they might even know how to deal with the problem of the week already—sometimes the best way you can help is to let them vent!