WEB EXTRA: Fewer students getting priority registration since 2002

GW has cut back on the number of students getting priority registration in order to create a fairer system for students who are not eligible to select classes early.

With the new addition of about 60 Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps students, the total number of GW students eligible for priority registration for spring 2006 classes is about 1,540. But in 2002 nearly 2,000 students – almost 26 percent of the student population – had priority registration. Regular registration begins Nov. 10 for students with 90 or more credit hours, while priority registration begins Nov. 7.

Students who received priority registration in 2002 included members of the Cherry Tree yearbook staff, The Hatchet editorial staff, the Pep Band, the debate team, the spirit team, presidential arts scholars, “STAR” tour guides and AmeriCorp participants, University Registrar Elizabeth Amundson said.

None of those groups receive priority registration, and the privilege is being phased out for honors students as well. The last group of honors students who retain priority registration are those who entered GW in fall 2003; spring 2007 will be the last time any honors students have priority registration.

“The primary reason for substantially reducing the number of students with priority registration is that allowing some students to register ahead of the general undergraduate population makes it more difficult for students who do not have priority registration to take required or elective courses at the times of their choice,” said Craig Linebaugh associate vice president of Academic Planning.

Linebaugh said giving too many groups priority registration may impede some students’ progress toward their degrees, so GW has decided to give the privilege only to students “who can demonstrate a need that cannot be otherwise accommodated.”

“Priority registration is provided only to those students who have significant programmatic or GW obligations that create otherwise insurmountable difficulties in scheduling classes,” Linebaugh said. “These obligations require extended travel obligations or other major time commitments and constraints related directly to University functions.”

Early registration for spring 2006 classes is available to athletes; honors students admitted to the program prior to fall 2004; EMeRG members; students participating in study abroad programs during the fall 2005 semester; students identified by Disabled Student Services as requiring privileged registration; students participating in the University’s collegiate learning assessment surveys; and, now, NROTC participants.

The advantage to priority registration is that students are able to fit required classes into their schedules around the major time constraints, Linebaugh said. This allows students to take courses in an appropriate sequence and maintain progress toward their undergraduate degrees.

Sophomore Casey Chenoweth, a marine option in the NROTC program, said she was relived to learn on Friday that she would be eligible for priority registration.

“NROTC is like having a varsity sport. You have to work your schedule around it,” Chenoweth said. “It’s such a blessing because we can really all work better now.”

NROTC students are required to take naval science classes and participate in early morning physical training exercises, weekly drill training and mandatory meetings. NROTC students petitioned for early registration by outlining reasons they needed it in a presentation to the University.

“Academic achievement is the first mission of any NROTC midshipman,” said NROTC Battalion Commanding Officer Christopher Peters, a senior. “Early registration will help us to achieve that goal while continuing to prepare for the challenges of military service.”

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