Updated Sept. 16, 2021 at 11:22 P.M. to include information from University Registrar and Assistant Vice President Rodney Parks.

In many Elon 101 classes, an entire class is devoted to understanding and making a color-coded Excel spreadsheet called a “four year plan.” A staple on most Elon University desktops, a four year plan is changed, shifted and reevaluated as students move throughout their college career. But heading into spring 2022 for fall 2022 registration, students will now be able to connect their four-year plan to their degree audit and the course database. 

“It's going to create the ability for students to have in-depth discussions about more information than just selecting classes,” University Registrar and Assistant Vice President Rodney Parks said. “Let's talk about why you take these classes, let's talk about your career, what you plan to do for your internship. And faculty will be able to have more time to dedicate to better discussions with the students.”

What’s changing?

The Office of the Registrar partnered with the Office of Academic Advising to launch a new technology system to help with academic planning and registration. The new technology, called Student Planning, replaces what students and faculty currently use for degree audits and registration. Student Planning will be implemented for winter and spring registration.

The new system will allow students to build their academic plans in the student system, request review by their advisers and view a timeline of their academic record. Parks said he hopes this change will benefit students and advisers alike, once they learn the system and become familiar with it.

“You'll be able to drag and drop courses, you'll be able to see [pre-requisites] and [co-requisites], you'll be able to register directly from this system, you'll be able to communicate more effectively with advisers,” Parks said. 

Student Planning will also show when a course is being offered, such as if it’s only available as one section a semester, or is only offered in the spring semester. It will also allow students to put in placeholders into their four-year plans, indicating when they want to study abroad or take a certain credit. The system will not indicate where the student will study abroad or what specific course they will take.

The degree audit will now be known as ‘my progress’ and will be a more interactive interface, including linked degree course requirements. The update will allow students to find the course they need to graduate all in one place. According to Parks, the changes to registration will “enhance the registration experience.”

Beginning with registration for Winter Term, the university will also expand the use of waitlists to all undergraduate courses, except first-year foundational courses. The waitlist processes will be the same as those already in use in the Love School of Business, the School of Communications and upper-level core seminars. 

Because students are notified via email when their waitlist status changes, it is incumbent on a student to check their email regularly to ensure they do not miss the notification. The current waitlist process also does not show students where they are on the waitlist, which has led to frustration, Parks said. 

“Having an opportunity to have those discussions with students and waitlisting, it's just long overdue,” Parks said. 

Additionally, there is a new repeat course policy. Excluding winter and summer courses, courses repeated within a students’ four semesters of attendance following the first time a student takes the course will count only once in computing the cumulative GPA. The most recent grade earned will be counted now, rather than any previous grades a student earns. Failed courses repeated due to a violation of the honor code, however, will remain on transcripts. 

Debuting the new systems

The Student Planner is being trialed during the fall by some students, and the system will launch for the entire student body during spring semester. While seniors will not be impacted by the new system, Parks said he thinks juniors will have the biggest reaction to the change, as they have used the previous system throughout their entire careers.

“It is a big shift culturally, both for advisers and for students,” Parks said. “Sometimes change is a little hard but students adapt very quickly … I think that once they get the chance to see what its true capabilities are, they'll love it.”