Banner pre-registration begins today with rising seniors

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

After months of anticipation, training and protests, pre-registration with the electronic Banner system begins today at 8 a.m. as rising seniors are given access to the system’s registration module. Rising juniors will be able to register Wednesday at 8 a.m., and rising sophomores Thursday.

The beginning of pre-registration arrives on the heels of a two-week advising period, during which freshmen were to get their authorization PINs from advisers, sophomores would declare concentrations and all students could browse Banner’s online course catalogs to identify courses for next semester.

Now that the advising period is over, University officials say the success of pre-registration will depend largely on the cooperation of students and how they handle the new system.

“Right now, students have the lion’s share of the work,” said Associate Provost Nancy Dunbar, who leads the Banner project.

Though the University has hosted discussion forums and information sessions, many students still seem ill-informed about how Banner is going to function.

“I haven’t read any of the e-mails about Banner,” said Candice Chu ’10. “I wish I had read the materials they sent out.”

Though Chu said she plans to find out more about Banner before it is time to register, she said she has not yet familiarized herself with the system or received her PIN from her freshman adviser.

“I guess I’ll do that this week,” she said.

But Chu added that she has looked at courses to take next semester and plans to obtain a copy of the student-designed Course Announcement Bulletin, of which the University ordered hundreds of copies and plans to order more after students grabbed every available copy in a matter of hours.

Finn Yarbrough ’09, who designed this year’s CAB and originally planned to sell copies through Allega Print & Imaging, said the University used money from President Simmons’ discretionary fund – reserved for uses deemed especially appropriate by the president’s office – to order 740 copies of his CAB, 520 of which were removed from the Post Office in a span of 45 minutes.

“The president’s office has been really generous,” Yarbrough said, adding that the president’s office plans to purchase between 600 and 1,000 more copies.

For students like Chu, the timely printing of the CAB should prove convenient.

“I like to have something tangible when I look for courses,” she said.

Other students said they were unaware of this week’s start of pre-registration.

“I know it’s some time next week,” Theo Frechette ‘09.5 said Sunday. “But I’m not sure when.”

Frechette said he had looked at courses online but doesn’t know how to register for them.

“To be honest, it’s something I’m sort of dreading,” he said.

Frechette is not alone in his lack of information about course registration. Even Sara Mann ’10, who said she has been preparing for Banner for weeks, still feels she doesn’t quite know how registration will work.

“I did the online tutorials and everything,” Mann said. “But I don’t feel like I know how to register.”

Mann said she plans to wake up early on Thursday and hopes her preparation will make for a smooth registration process.

“For the classes I want to take, I think I’ll be okay,” she said.

Dunbar said students like Mann who feel unprepared may actually know more than they think about the process of registration.

“Once you get in there, the registration process is very intuitive,” she said. “If you’ve done the tutorials and taken the appropriate steps, you’ll be fine.”

Dunbar also offered some advice to students anxious about pre-registration.

“Don’t make the first time you log in to Banner the morning of pre-registration,” she said. “Give it a few test runs and take the tutorial first.”

Dunbar said the flexibility of pre-registration won’t be lost under Banner, so students shouldn’t be discouraged if a course is full.

“If you can’t register for a course, register your interest in it,” she said, recommending students contact professors if they are locked out of a course. “Don’t assume that no means no.”

The pre-registration period ends May 1 at 5 p.m. Students not registered by then will have to wait until the next registration period this fall.

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