By Kathryn Shenk
Elm Staff Writer
When registration for the spring semester begins, it will be different for some. On Sept. 18, all Washington College students received an email from Registrar Ashley Turlington, announcing the implementation of a new system for class registration. The website, called Student Planning, will open between Oct. 6 and 9 and will replace WebAdvisor for registration and degree audit review.
According to a statement released by Turlington, only freshmen will use it for registration on Nov. 10, but it will be available for all students starting Nov. 20 to add/drop classes.
Student Planning is actually part of a larger portal called Self-Service, Turlington said, which allows students to access information regarding finances, tax and banking, and a graduation overview. All scheduling functions — including registering for and dropping classes, and class schedule — will be removed from WebAdvisor and accessed instead via Student Planning through students’ school login.
“Most colleges who use WebAdvisor for registration have started the adaptation,” Turlington said. “The interface [on Student Planner] is a whole lot nicer.”
The actual scheduling process will remain remarkably similar, allowing students to search for classes by term, major, or instructor. Student Planning offers a number of other helpful features.
According to Turlington, Student Planning will place students’ selected classes on a calendar for easier scheduling, alert them if they don’t possess necessary prerequisites prior to registering for a course, and send them a confirmation notice once they have completed their final schedule.
Additionally, students will be able to view fulfilled distribution requirements and all options for classes they have yet to complete. Another distinctive feature is the ability to view a degree audit and an unofficial transcript exactly as it appears to the registrar. Although most students don’t currently use the degree audit feature, Turlington said she expects that the accessibility of Student Planning will increase its use.
Student Planning gives students the option to develop a plan for the rest of their college career. Students can select classes for future semesters to help them stay organized and fulfill distribution requirements, she said.
“I think this will be especially helpful for science majors and 3+2 programs,” she said.
This comes with a caveat. Just because a student selects a class for their plan doesn’t guarantee them a seat in that class when the semester rolls around, according to Turlington. It can be a valuable way for students of any major to stay on track with their future goals.
She expects the transition from WebAdvisor to Student Planning to be a smooth one.
“I’ve had students demo this for me, and they thought it would be easy to use,” she said.
There is also a PDF guide and a YouTube video detailing the registration process through the new system. Both guides will become available to freshmen in the beginning of October.
Turlington will be offering live sessions in Goldstein 101 on advising day, Nov. 8, for any freshmen having difficulty with the system. She also expressed a willingness to meet with students one-on-one to aid in the transition. Students can contact Turlington at email@example.com.
If the system operates successfully, it will be open for rising juniors and seniors in addition to current freshmen to select their classes for fall 2018.