Registrar discusses spring enrollment

With just a few weeks left before Indiana University flips to a virtual-only schedule through February, many within the university have already begun to look toward the spring semester.

Inside IU talked with IU Registrar Jeff Johnston about this fall, the upcoming spring enrollment, and what staff and faculty should know as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Question: What does spring enrollment look like so far?

Answer: The Bloomington campus began registering professional and graduate students for spring semester on Oct. 22. Regional campuses began registering their students on Nov. 2, while IUPUI began Oct. 26. So, the next few weeks are going to be pretty telling.

Obviously, there's some anxiety about spring, given that the pandemic is still ongoing. But we're here, and we have in-person classes. There are some universities across the U.S. that went virtual this entire year. We had a plan for some in-person classes, and we're meeting that plan, and we'll be in person until Thanksgiving.

I believe our university has positioned itself to show that we can have in-person activities. We've proven that this fall. And with our game plan for spring, coupled with the flu vaccine, I think that we'll have a very successful spring semester.

Q: What should staff and faculty let students know about spring enrollment?

A: Registering early gives our students the best opportunity for their preferred schedule. Whether they want more virtual courses or prefer in-person courses, registering early gives you the best chance to get what you want. The longer you wait, the more classes will fill up and less choices will be available.

Q: What about winter session? What should staff and faculty let students know about that choice?

A: First of all, winter session isn't new. Several campuses have offered one for a couple of years, but they were typically much smaller. This year, we're offering about 140 classes across all campuses, a different format that is intended to give our students a lot of flexibility.

Some students might have had to drop a class this fall, so they're trying to play catch-up or just get ahead a bit for another semester. For example, my son took a heavy load for two semesters so he could have a light academic schedule the year he did his student teaching.

It's also part of the banded tuition for all campuses, so that extra credit can be taken for the same price.

Q: What will you be doing in the next few weeks?

A: We'll be tracking our enrollments pretty closely, and we'll be following up with students who don't register in the first few weeks. All campuses have a process to check in with students who haven't registered, to follow up, to see what's holding them back.

We're having a successful fall, thanks to a lot of hard work from our university, and I'm confident we'll have a successful spring.