SGA hotline to help students register

Ethan Summers

Every weekday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Student Government Association will host a help hotline for students looking for clarification about how to register for classes. To access the hotline, students should call 348-8401.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Aaron Zucker said the hotline made its debut last year and its success encouraged the SGA to try again.

“In the pilot year, we saw some success and are looking to build on it even further,” he said.

The program began on Oct. 26, the first day undergraduate students were allowed to register for classes, and will run through Nov. 9. The hotline will not be in operation Oct. 29 due to fall break.

“The SGA will handle the questions from students on a case-to-case basis,” he said. “We anticipate that DegreeWorks will offer a high majority of solutions to student concerns. However, the trained SGA member on the phone will be ready for problems students have. If for some reason SGA cannot assist a particular student’s problem, we will direct the caller to the right people to handle the issue,” he said.

With the largest freshman class in the University’s history and sophomore and junior classes of near-comparable size, the SGA may face more challenges with registration than they have in the past.

“The SGA anticipates a higher volume of calls for this year because the publicity and marketing for this initiative has improved, along with the increase in student enrollment at the University,” Zucker said. “Confusion is not something that we anticipate too much of, but we are, of course, prepared for it. “

Throughout many students’ academic careers, the first fall registration is the most intimidating. However, freshmen received in-depth help and walkthroughs at orientation. For spring registration, though, students must plan mostly by themselves and make appointments with advisors.

Michael Mills, a freshman majoring in communications studies, said his registration day is Wednesday. He said he’s relied heavily on DegreeWorks to help him sort through requirements and class offerings.

“I spent several hours last semester going through the course catalog and playing with DegreeWorks in order to get an idea of what my four years will probably be like,” Mills said. “DegreeWorks was helpful in knowing exactly what requirements I had left and what classes are provided to fulfill those requirements.”

Mills said he faced a challenge when he tried to apply the credit he got from taking Advanced Placement classes in high school to course credit at the University.

“The biggest problem I’ve encountered is the lack of classes provided,” Mills said. “Especially this first semester, I had enough AP credits that I needed to take classes that sophomores usually take. However, because I had to register as a freshman, I had difficulties finding classes that would fulfill my requirements.”

Mills said he’s mostly figured out the system now, but could see how the SGA’s hotline would have been useful during orientation, especially for out-of-state freshmen.

“I think the hotline would have been helpful for my first semester, especially if I did not have friends that attend Alabama,” Mills said.  “If I had questions, I asked my college friends, and their answers were usually reliable.”

Michael Allen, a freshman majoring in physical education, said registration is tricky due to the way advisors offer help.

“They told me what classes to take, but not when to take it,” Allen said. “I’m taking public speaking and biology, and both classes have labs but they never explained how that works—how I sign up for a class and a lab.”

Allen said the hotline is a good idea, but it might have been more helpful if it had been offered sooner.

“I’m sure it’d help a lot of people,” Allen said. “Before people start registering for next semester, [the SGA] could already be answering calls.”