Section: archive

Kenyon Moves to Web Registration 10 Years After It Became Available

By Marika Garland

Next week, Kenyon will join most other colleges in the nation in switching to online course registration. “I think it is the right decision in the end,” Registrar Ellen Harbourt said. “I think we’ll have growing pains, but we’ll figure it out. I think in a year or two, everyone’s going to be like, ‘Wow, we did that on paper?'”

The decision to make the change came from Provost Nayef Samhat, according to Harbourt. “The provost told me that he would like us to move to online registration last fall, and I decided that we may as well get started rather than putting it off for longer,” she said.

“Online registration permits integration into new and existing paperless systems and improved administration of the process,” Samhat said.

The new online system will utilize Banner computer software, which students already use to check registration status. The College has had access to Banner’s online registration abilities for 10 years but simply has not chosen to utilize the feature until now.

“A lot of schools started doing it 10 years ago. For the first three or four or five years, you kept hearing how it would lock up and there were all these problems, but they’ve upgraded the way the system worked a lot. Those problems just disappeared,” Harbourt said. “The encouragement from the provost to do it was very helpful.”

Harbourt said she has concerns about the switch to online registration but is working to combat possible issues. “One thing that we’re concerned about is that students will … kind of lose that the registrar’s office is the place to go to ask questions,” she said. “A lot of people asked those questions when they came in to pick up and drop off forms.”

Students will still have to visit the registrar’s office, however, to turn in forms for courses that require permission of the instructor and to drop and/or add courses after the initial online registration period.

“We’re not trying to push students away by doing [online registration],” Harbourt said. “I don’t want to push too much online. I think the face-to-face interactions of talking to advisors is really important.” Students will still have to meet with their advisors to receive codes necessary for online registration.

The registrar’s office is also planning to begin holding office hours to further encourage student visits, according to Harbourt. “There are a lot of things we can answer questions about that aren’t just signing up for a class,” she said, listing graduation requirements, summer school and study abroad programs as examples. Student Council’s Academic Affairs Committee, which has also helped to advertise the change, proposed the office hours. “They have been really helpful,” Harbourt said.

“I’m excited for the change,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Hannah Stewart ’12 said. “We’re one of the last schools that was still using paper registration, and I think, in the long run, it will be a lot more efficient for students.”

Academic Affairs worked with Harbourt on this week’s online registration forums as well. Approximately 75 students attended each of two forums on Tuesday, Oct. 18 in the Gund Gallery auditorium.

Harbourt gave a summary of the new registration preocess and directed students to the Office of the Registrar’s “Web Registration Information” webpage, where students can learn how the process works. There will be an additional forum specifically for first-year students on Thursday, Oct. 27 in Gund Commons.

Each class year will have a different day to register, beginning with seniors on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 11:15 a.m. Students can access online registration through their Personal Access Pages. They will simply need to enter course registration numbers (CRNs) for the classes they want and click “submit.”

Students will be able to change any classes they choose up until 4:30 p.m. on the day following the beginning of their registration periods. The drop/add period will then work as it has in the past.

Students will benefit from registering as soon as they possibly can, as they will receive classes on a first-come-first-serve basis, according to Harbourt.

One benefit of the system will be that students will be able to see instantly which classes they receive. “We won’t be madly doing data entries and staring at a screen for four days straight,” Harbourt said.

Students’ majors will no longer necessarily influence their ability to receive admission to classes. The computer software will not recognize a student’s major unless the department has specifically reserved seats in the class for majors, according to Harbourt. Few departments have designated seats in this way for the upcoming semester.

Harbourt said she will send several emails with more information for students in the near future. “The thing that stresses me out the most is that people won’t read the information and then they’ll be frustrated,” she said.

“There was a quaintness to the way Kenyon did it, and it was the right thing for a long time,” Harbourt added. “We’re special in a lot of ways, but it’s the people that are special, not necessarily our processes.”

Visit for more information.

Registration Times:


Thursday, Oct. 27 11:15 a.m.


Thursday, Nov. 3

11:15 a.m.


Tuesday, Nov. 8

11:15 a.m.

First Years

Thursday, Nov. 10 11:15 a.m.

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