Zach Maher/Mustang News

“If you’re closer to graduation, you should have priority for getting courses,” Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong said.

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Cal Poly is working toward giving students a registration time slot based on how many units they’ve earned and dropping priority registration altogether.

The same system that runs PolyProfile — a degree progress gauge — will allow the Office of the Registrar to design the registration appointment system based on degree progress, Cal Poly Registrar Cem Sunata said.

Because the system is complicated to put together, it will take a year or two to start implementing a registration system based on class standing, Sunata said. In the meantime, the Office of Registrar is doing it manually.

“The president wanted us to be able to do something in order to facilitate graduation of all the seniors who are planning to graduate in spring and summer,” Sunata said.

Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong weighed in on the issue in November, when he said there are students who began at Cal Poly five or more years ago who he believes should have priority to register for the final classes they need to graduate.

“If you’re closer to graduation, you should have priority for getting courses,” Armstrong said. “We’re working toward that.”

The Office of Registrar has already begun the process; it conducted a survey and identified students who could potentially graduate in Spring or Summer 2014, and they will be eligible for priority registration in spring. Cal Poly has asked those students to indicate when they plan to graduate and what classes they need to make their graduation possible, Sunata said. Those students who fill out the survey and turn in their request for graduation evaluation form for Spring or Summer 2014 will be given priority registration for spring quarter, Sunata said.

With the introduction of a new registration appointment system, students have expressed concern of not taking advantage of their priorities earlier. But with the implementation of the new system, Cal Poly will phase out priorities.

“Current unused priorities will not be taken away and still can be used when desired even after the new system is implemented,” Sunata said. “We will merely stop the priority system with the incoming class of the year when the new system is implemented.”

Sunata clarified reasons for the current enrollment process.

“I don’t know if students know this, but the reason why the priorities were introduced in the past were for seniors,” he said. “The priorities weren’t meant to be used earlier than the senior year.”

Registration appointments are now determined by a rotation constructed by the Office of Registrar, without taking students’ class standings into account.

With the implementation of priorities, Cal Poly was originally trying its best to have seniors graduate on time and get the classes they want, Associate Vice Provost Kimi Ikeda said.

“We had a far higher number of seniors, and they still couldn’t get the classes they needed,” Ikeda said. “So they decided that students could pick the three terms to use priorities for the courses they needed to graduate.”

But because students are sometimes interested in hard-to-get classes — such as some general education courses — before they are seniors, they end up using priorities earlier than intended, Sunata said.

Currently the Office of the Registrar is working to redesign the registration appointment system to a more traditional one — but with one key difference, Sunata said.

In a majority of schools, including other schools in the CSU system, registration appointments are based on class standing.

But Sunata pointed out a problem with that system.

“If someone comes in with a bunch of transfer or AP (advanced placement) units that are higher education units, and if some or all of those units don’t apply to their major at Cal Poly, their standing may not be accurate from a degree progress standpoint,” Sunata said.

In order to avoid that scenario, Cal Poly will use the system that runs PolyProfile to determine class standings.

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