The Tricks and Treats of Enrollment Season

by Olivia Miller

This week started our second week of priority registration, or enrollment season at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For two and a half weeks students are coming in to plan for the spring semester which brings many students (just over 80 so far for me, or how many students I have seen throughout this semester), many degree audits and various tricks or treats of academic advising. It is the busiest season for academic advisors, followed by the first week of each semester and New Student Enrollment, but also the season that brings mixed emotions.

The biggest trick for me during this priority registration is keeping a positive attitude, a bright outlook, patience and a clean state for each student. It can be easy to settle into a routine of running a degree audit and spouting off what a student has left – and sometimes that is all you have time for, but while you have been doing this up to 15-20 times a day, this is the student’s first advising session of the day (and possibly ever). Starting with a smile and building rapport, and being genuine is important, especially if the student brings concerns or doubts.

Which leads me to the sourest trick – students complaining. Whether it is about not being able to graduate, saying they weren’t told about a certain requirement (even if advising notes state otherwise), or my favorite – complaining about general eds., you have to stick with it. You will have those sour students, the ones who do not see the value in general education requirements, no matter how much you stress the value of a well-rounded education (especially when they throw the “it’s for the university to take more money from me). See the trick above and smile while continuing to dish out respect and understanding.

The biggest treat of advising that I have found so far is meeting and working with students on probation and completing their academic recovery plans. I have seen most of my probation students as I have the authority to lift their hold to enroll and many of them have made significant progress and are much happier and care-free than when I first saw them. Other treats of advising is meeting students that I have already built a relationship with and having them request to meet with me specifically. It is comforting to see after just 5 months that I have made a small impact for a few students.

So while this time is stressful, and you might get to lunch late after multiple students complaining (or not coming prepared at all), this is what you could call my favorite season of them all (that I have experienced so far). You see a variety of students with a variety of concerns and you get to play a small part in their college experience. So while you might get some students (or candy) that leave a bad taste in your mouth, treat yourself with your favorite candy at the end of the day. Happy enrollment season!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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