A closer look at class enrollment

Students navigate registration and advising. Graphic by Elizabeth Hein.

ALLIE MCKIBBEN | STAFF REPORTER | amckibben@butler.edu 

While another semester draws to a close, students complete the bi-annual task of registering for next semester’s classes. As part of this process, students sign up for a mandatory meeting with their academic advisor — which, according to Academic Services, is an opportunity for students to learn more than which classes they are required to take. 

After a student meets with their respective advisor, they are stuck waiting for their individual registration times which are determined by a multitude of factors. 

Sophomore biology major Mackenzie Yurchiak finds the process confusing. 

“No one knows how it works,” Yurchiak said. 

Enrollment times are approved and amended by the Registration and Records office. The office’s website provides a brief explanation as to how students are scheduled to register for their classes each semester. 

There are appointment times over the course of nine days. Students are separated by class and assigned a time based on what class they are in and how many credit hours they have already completed. Students may also be able to register early if they qualify for priority enrollment. From that time they are able to enroll, students may add and drop classes. 

Groups who qualify for priority enrollment include honors students, students with Student Disability Services, SDS, accommodations, intercollegiate athletes in season and members of the Reserve Officers Training Corps, ROTC. All prioritizing factors carry the same weight, and registration times are determined by the student’s projected course credit hours — the hours completed plus hours enrolled. Priority enrollment students are separated by class, so although they get to register ahead of others in their class, they do not register before more senior classes. 

Yurchiak has accommodations through SDS, which is supposed to allow her to enroll earlier than other sophomores. Despite this, Yurchiak said she believes her registration time this semester is later than her peers who do not have SDS accommodations. The Butler University website provides a step-by-step process of what students should do to register for classes. However, it does not provide insight into the order in which students are assigned times to register.

Yurchiak said she wants to see the breakdown of how the university decides when students get to enroll. 

“As someone that has SDS accommodations, this process is incredibly anxiety-inducing because if you don’t get the class that you need to take, you’re screwed for that semester,” Yurchiak said. 

Associate registrar Jenna Rayl said the registrar has organized enrollment times this way since before she began at Butler six years ago. She said Butler’s registration seems to be the fairest way for students to register without the system crashing. 

Beyond class registration, academic advising is established to help provide students with a roadmap to achieve their educational and career goals. Advisors are a guide to help students access campus resources, as well as to provide insight on career paths. 

Chris Clendenen is an academic advisor for exploratory studies who works in the Center for Academic Success and Exploration, CASE, office. He said he cannot stress the significance of advisors enough as they are a constant presence in a student’s career at Butler. 

“The academic advisor relationship is the most important relationship you have on campus because it is the only person you see every semester your entire time,” Clendenen said. “If there’s a big change … or something’s going on that’s good or bad, only one person will know that, right?” 

Students with declared majors are assigned advisors within their field of study, while students who are exploratory or in the process of switching majors meet with advisors in the CASE office. Clendenen said most advisors have between five and 25 advisees each semester. This number fluctuates depending on how many advisees each professor can handle; if a professor is engaged with other commitments, such as research, they are given fewer students to advise. 

Unlike some other universities that hire staff for the sole purpose of advising, Clendenen said he prefers the academic advisor model that Butler uses where professors are the ones directly advising students. 

Lauren Geerts, a junior elementary education major, agrees since she has gotten closer with her advisor — one of her professors — as the semesters drew on. Geerts sees her advisor weekly to work on her independent study, as well as to catch up and talk about each other’s days; she said they even text often. 

“I feel like rather than just going to her for academic issues, I also feel like I can rely on her if there’s an emotional issue happening in my life, or anything beyond just academics,” Geerts said. “It’s nice to have someone in your corner who has some authority in the school.”



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