Pain in the Pre Reg: The course selection struggle continues

With the end of Easter break and pre-registration colliding, the Georgetown community has put the course-choosing process under a microscope. Each semester, for one week, the campus scrambles to put its intellectual meanderings into the little boxes of MyAccess.com. This decidedly impersonal process could have large impact over the course of a Hoya’s education, making the figureheads that guide academic decisions important.

“The Deans have come to the College Academic Council to look over pamphlets and instructional videos on pre-registration, as they definitely realize incoming first years and transfers face the greatest confusion in this process. The conversation is ongoing as pre-registration continues to be a challenge,” Parnia Zahedi (COL ’15), the President of the College Academic Council wrote in an email to The Voice.

With 11 deans in the College overseeing approximately 3,800 students, the academic advising hub of the ICC can become a bottleneck during pre-registration time. Zahedi argues, however, that the Deans are equipped to help every student and confused underclassman may not be taking enough advantage of their resources.

“I don’t often see confused students in my office because if they’re savvy enough to come seek us out for help, they’re not overwhelmed,” said Dean Joseph Napolitano, an advisor to 350 freshmen and sophomores in the College. “My bigger concern is about students who feel the lost and don’t take advantage of the resources available to them.”

Some students argue, however, that they know about the resources the Deans have to offer yet still feel inundated when it comes time to choose their classes.

“I have a lot of friends who feel like the deans haven’t really helped them pick their classes, just approved classes they picked themselves,” says Katie Steininger (MSB ’16). “I personally choose all of my classes almost a year in advance so that I don’t need to worry about getting counseling.”

To supplement the Dean’s advising, Georgetown provides incoming students with the option of a Peer Advisor. Caroline James (COL ’16) feels the Peer Advisor program provides adequate support during academic decision-making.

“I have not received a panicked registration email during my two years as a peer advisor. I actually think Georgetown does a very good job at making the class choosing process easy for students. I know at other schools registration is first-come, first-served and that makes it incredibly stressful. At Georgetown, it is pretty much up to the student to begin the class selection process in plenty of time so as to get any questions answered,” she wrote in an email to The Voice.

Some students, however, disagree.

“I’ve never met my Peer Advisor and all of my friends say they aren’t helpful,” comments Amanda Webb (COL ’18).
To reconcile students’ murmurs of discontent with administrator’s positive outlook on the academic advising programs, the College Deans’ Office and the Peer Advisor program work to improve the pre-registration process.

“This spring we held a series of focus groups with first year students to get their ideas on how we can improve the materials we provide new students the summer before they enter Georgetown,” Dean Erin Force, the head of the Peer Advisor program wrote.

“This summer, we are considering supplementing the materials we send with a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter which will contain additional tips and FAQs.”

Photo: Georgetown University

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