Fall semester brings registration changes

The end is near for one of Sinclair’s paramount transformations—converting from quarters to semesters. Starting May 23, fall registration will begin for the first semester of Sinclair’s 125-year existence since 1968.

“I want students to know that registration is similar to registering on a quarter system…everything is the same,” said Project Director for the semester transition Allison Rhea. “But I want to stress that students should register as early as possible.”

Online registration for Fall Semester will begin at 6 a.m., not the 12 a.m. timeframe that many students are accustomed to.

In case students have difficulty registering for prerequisite courses, the call center will be available for students at 6 a.m. In-person registration will begin at 8 a.m.

“If we determine, after talking with a student, that there is a systemic problem then we can fix it,” she said. “Between six and eight the only problems we [the call center] will be dealing with, is if we coded the system [student information database] wrong in some sort of way.”

Rhea expects that students will be able to register for fall semester without any glitches in the database.

“We believe that we have the system set up correctly, but there are going to be some bumps in the road,” she said. “We are trying to make sure that there is somebody here, if students have problems registering for the prerequisites.”

For students that are worried about semester conversion, Rhea said that they should contact an academic advisor.

“They don’t have to figure it out on their own,” she said. “We have people here to help them figure it out.”

Semester conversion

Fall 2012 is the beginning of the year when 17 public universities in Ohio, including Sinclair, will make their switch from quarters to semester. A common calendar will facilitate shared academic programs, ease of transfer between institutions and students’ ability to undertake internships and co-ops, Rhea said.

While Rhea and the Registration office will no longer be “swarming” students to inform them of the conversion, Rhea said that her door is always open if students want to ask questions, but speaking with an academic advisor is essential for the success of the student during this conversion.

“It is not too late for students to go see an adviser,” she said. “If they haven’t, they really, really need to do that especially before they register for Fall Semester. We just want to make sure that they are taking the courses that they need to take.”

Student  bills under semesters will be one-third higher than during quarters because they will be paying for 15 weeks of classes, followed by a week of testing and evaluation. Quarters involve students paying for only 10 weeks of courses, but overall the annual cost of tuition will remain the same.

“It is a significant chunk of money for students to come up with at one time,” Rhea said. “But annually they are not paying more money.”

For students receiving financial aid, the amount will be larger, but financial aid will be distributed two times during the semester as opposed to three. The biggest difference is that students will purchase textbooks and pay for their tuition only twice a year.

“Our number one priority is making sure that our students aren’t harmed during this conversion,” Rhea said. “We know that that there are going to be tiny, tiny bumps in the road, but we need to work through them together. I really need students to advocate for themselves.”

The 10 percent drop in enrollment

Some quarters, Sinclair has seen an increase in student enrollment. Because of the semester conversion, Sinclair is planning for the possibility of a 10 percent drop in student enrollment.

“We had an extreme, extreme rise in enrollment two years prior,” Rhea said. “The increase was unprecedented at the institution, so it is not at all surprising that our enrollment has come down.”

The boom in the economy, fewer displaced workers and students registering for the quarter are the reasons Rhea said that Sinclair has planned for a 10 percent drop in student enrollment for Fall Semester.

Two years ago, Sinclair had roughly 17,000 students, and now the college has increased to about 26,000 students.

“Particularly there are less students registering for Spring Quarter because they did what we told them to do, which was do not get stuck in the middle,” Rhea said. “If what they had to take was a series course, we told them to wait or try to finish the series before the semester conversion.”

To be fiscally responsible, Sinclair is planning for the possibility of being down 10 percent, Rhea said.

“You have to do that or you will be spending money that you don’t have to spend or making plans or adding classes for enrollment that you’re not going to have,” she said. “It’s not that the institution wants to or expects to be down 10 percent, we are just being cautious.”

A decrease in student enrollment affects Sinclair’s budget because the institution receives money from the state based on the number of students enrolled and how many students graduate. A decrease in enrollment also causes fewer courses to be offered for students.

“The institution is more affected when enrollment goes up because we don’t add staff, we just keep doing more with what we have,” Rhea said. “However, we want every student that wants to come here…here.”

For more information visit sinclair.edu/semesters or contact the call center at 512-3000. Rhea can be reached at 512-4515.

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