Christine Halling
Academic Advisor Christine Halling (Photo by Lee Ferris, Mount Saint Mary College)

by Frank Tetler

It may seem like the spring semester just began, but assistant to the registrar Jessica Scheibling-Kelly and academic advisor Christine Halling agree the time to start planning for summer and fall registration is now.

Scheibling-Kelly said registration can present challenges to students that her office can help with, but it’s important to start planning early to prevent or to deal with problems that pop up during the process.

“Sometimes the solution we have to give the student isn’t exactly the quick fix they wanted,” she said, “but there is always a solution to any situation. Some things just take a little extra work to get sorted out.”

Halling agreed that early preparation is a must. “Try to stay on track with your course needs,” she advised. “Stay proactive in your research and know when classes are and aren’t given by checking the college catalog and make your course selections as early as possible.”

Academic advisement began March 1 and registration start dates vary by class. Seniors start registering on April 7, juniors on April 8, sophomores on April 9, and freshmen on April 10. Other and new students can register starting on April 11.

Scheibling-Kelly offered four tips to help keep students on track during the registration process.

First, students should print their advising worksheet. It’s the most important tool related to advisement and registration. “There are many wonderful tools online,” said Scheibling-Kelly, “which will help students track their graduation requirements.”

Halling agreed it’s important for students to know what courses are available to them to stay on track with their course needs.”Take ownership as a student.” she said. “Don’t expect your advisor to do everything for you.”

Second, students should see their advisor before registration begins. Scheibling-Kelly said meeting regularly before registration each semester ensures they are on the right track. “Even if you think that you know what you should take,” she said, “see your advisor first.”

Halling agreed. “Communicate with your advisor,” she said. “After all, that’s what they’re there for.”

Third, students should double check the course offerings online after meeting with their advisors before registration.

“Sometimes there are unexpected changes,” said Scheibling-Kelly, “and students may need to make adjustments because of this.”

Halling also encouraged students to check the college course catalog to see what courses they need and to check what prerequisites are required as well.

Lastly, students should register online. Though students can register in person and in some cases by email, Scheibling-Kelly recommended they register online on the student portal. This should give them immediate registration for the classes they want.

“You can do it from anywhere,” Scheibling-Kelly said, “and instructions are online.”

Scheibling-Kelly said if a chosen course is full, there are usually other sections or similar courses open, but if a student absolutely needs to be in a full class, the only person who can overbook a class is the division chairperson. “If you obtain the approval of the instructor first,” she added, “it will help the division chairperson make their decision.”

Halling said students should make sure their financial obligations are current. “I cannot submit your course registration unless your payments are up to date,” she said.

Scheibling-Kelly ┬áloves her job because there is nothing more rewarding than meeting a freshman and following them through their academic career. She recalled a commencement procession when a graduating student yelled out to her, “Jess, you are the reason I am here. Thank you.”

Despite its challenges, she said she finds many rewards in her position. “There is no way to describe the feeling that you did everything you could to help a student,” she said, “and it worked out exactly the way they needed it to. MSMC isn’t just a job; it’s a way of life.”