Potential Griffons registered just under the wire at Thursday’s walk-in registration, held only four days prior to the first day of the spring 2014 semester.
Tyson Schank, Western’s associate dean of enrollment management and director of admissions, said that 187 potential students came through the admission office’s doors on Thursday.
However, this figure doesn’t guarantee that these potential students completed the process. Between Tuesday, Jan. 7, and Friday, Jan. 10, Western’s enrollment headcount grew by 250 Griffons.
Junior Jacob Dowell worked as a registration leader throughout the day. He estimated personally helping between 15 to 20 students, from transfer students to members of the military.
“Walk-in registration is simpler,” Dowell said. “Students come in, get accepted and go to their advisor. Then, if they have problems, the come to the computer lab and we help them. It’s a condensed day.”
The typical students registering late for the Spring semester are not new freshmen.
“We saw quite a few transfer students, as well as non-degree seeking students,” Schank said.
Brandy McClure registered for classes at Western, but only as a precaution. She spent a year at North Central Missouri College while working towards a career in dental hygiene.
“This is my Plan B,” McClure said. “I’m applying for the dental hygiene program at North Central, but I don’t know if I’ll get in, so I want to be in school no matter what.”
While some students breeze through the registration process, others have difficulties signing up for classes that have been picked over by returning or early enrolled students.
“We never know what late registration students expect. We try to manage those expectations so they’re not disappointed,” Schank said. “The struggle of enrollment management is to try to get students to apply and enroll early.”
Early enrollment helps faculty predict the classes needed for the upcoming semester, meaning fewer students have issues finding spots in necessary classes.
“We had one student who had all six of his classes full,” Dowell said. “He couldn’t get registered for any that he needed. He had to go back to his advisor for more help.”
McClure had a positive experience during her registration process.
“Today was great. Registering was really easy,” McClure said.
Some late registration students have big obstacles to overcome in order to start their semesters, especially when financial aid becomes an issue.
“Students will sometimes have a problem getting in the right frame of mind and getting their ducks in a row,” Schank said. “The financial aid problem is the biggest part. We try to have honest conversations with them to show them the reality of the situation financially.”
Western’s student body tends to mirror a national trend: the longer students wait to start the registration process, the higher risk they are in regard to degree completion.
“Also, spring semester students tend to be at a higher risk,” Schank said. “They have to navigate a new school, while students who started in the fall have already adjusted.”
All in all, Dowell considered the day a success. “Nobody cried. Nobody yelled.”