Late registration must put students first

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By  Andrew Paxton

Pima Community College is considering eliminating late registration. Students would need the instructor’s permission to enroll in classes after a cut-off date.

The college must remember that students will be the ones most affected by this change.

Faculty Senate has cited numerous statistics indicating that students who start class late have less chance of succeeding.

Less chance is better than no chance at all.

That’s what students will face if instructors prohibit them from joining a class.

Students are often forced to enroll late through no fault of their own. Courses are canceled last-minute, sometimes with little or no communication from the college or instructors.

Even if students are notified of a cancellation a week before the course begins, it can be difficult to find another class that fits their schedule or is applicable to their degree plan.

Other times, students show up the first day and realize the class isn’t what they thought it would be, or the instructor’s teaching style doesn’t work for them.

Why should students be punished because the college cancels classes? What is so wrong with attempting to switch to a different class after the enrollment deadline if it provides a better fit?

Any student will tell you the first day of class usually involves review of the syllabus and a brief introduction to course material.

A few instructors assign small, preliminary assignments.

Those who can’t make up that sort of work probably wouldn’t be successful in the class anyway.

It is unfair to punish every potential student just because a few people might have trouble catching up.

It’s admirable to seek ways to increase student success rates, but the solution is not to ban late enrollment.

Instead, instructors could allow students to make up initial assignments without point deductions. Teachers could mandate time in the Learning Center for those who missed classes or allow students to come in during office hours to discuss what was covered on the first days.

Another solution would be for the college to offer more late-start classes that begin a few weeks after traditional courses.

This would offer students a chance to change or add classes without danger of falling behind.

Pima has already attempted changes that altered its mission of open admittance, with disastrous results. Modifying late registration will again put Pima on a slippery slope at a time when the college is attempting to get off probation.

As the march toward changing late registration continues, administration and instructors must remember that students are the ones paying for classes.

Excluding students is not the way to increase success.

Written on behalf of the Aztec Press Editorial Board by Editor-in-Chief Andrew Paxton.

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