By Bill Knief
Even though winter has barely begun, it’s already time to set our sights on spring. Spring semester at UNM-Taos, that is. Schedules are in the racks around town, and 10,000 of them have been inserted in this week’s Taos News. I thought it would be a good time to talk with some of the folks in the enrollment and student success departments.
Amie Chavez-Aguilar is the director of the Department of Student Success, and she had a few things to say about waiting till the last minute to enroll.
“Actually it’s a recipe for disaster,” she said. “During the last couple of weeks before the semester starts we reach a saturation point. If everyone waits to register until January 3 when the campus reopens, we’re going to have big problems. It’ll take two to three weeks just to get in to see someone, and by then classes will have started. When you get into that second week of classes you’ve already missed quite a bit of material, and we have found a correlation between this and lowered performance throughout the semester.
“So when you finish with Thanksgiving dinner, get up from the table, get online and figure out what you want to take. Seriously, you don’t have to wait for us. If you go to the website at taos.unm.edu you’ll find out what classes are being offered and when they’re offered. Using Loboweb you’ll find course descriptions. Using the online catalogue you can find out what your program requires. All the information is out there; you just need to go and find it and utilize it. Then, by the time you make an appointment to see an advisor, you’re half way there. You can go one step at a time—you don’t have to do the whole process in one sitting. And if you need help, just call us at 737-6200 to connect to the phone tree, or 737-6202 for the front desk.”
Patricia Gonzales is in charge of the Enrollment Office. She has seen a sizeable shift to online registration in the past few semesters.
“ This fall I’d say at least 75 percent of our students registered online, and it’s helping across the board. It’s a much faster process and students can easily check their financial status, track wait lists for filled classes, and just become more comfortable with the online process. But the biggest reason for enrolling early is that it gives students a lot more choices. They have a much better chance of getting the classes they need at the times they want them.
“Registration starts Monday November 28 and classes start Tuesday January 17. We will be here from eight to five from now until December 22, but remember, the campus will be closed December 23 and not reopen until January 3. It’s important to know that main campus shuts everything down including online enrollment during that period because there will be no one around to help in case there is a problem. That’s another good reason to enroll early.
“If you have never enrolled online or if you don’t have a computer at home, just be aware that we have a computer pod set up in our department at Pueblo Hall on the Klauer campus and our staff can walk you through the enrollment process. We’ll help you set up your Net ID and password which you will need to access Loboweb to get enrolled, and we will bring in on-call staff when we get really busy.”
Damon Montclare is a longtime UNM-Taos academic advisor, and he emphasized that new students are required to see an advisor before they can complete the registration process, but that it is a good idea for every student to check in with an advisor on a regular basis.
“It’s in the student’s best interest to come see us early in the enrollment process,” he said, “because it’s a lot less stressful then and the advisors can devote the time needed to really help students. We’ll be able to do an in-depth degree audit where we can identify exactly what courses you need, help to define a major, see what courses can transfer to or from another institution, and since there is more course availability you have a better chance of making a schedule that is a good fit with your work routine and home life. We can also help network with faculty members that can serve as mentors. We can work with the whole student and identify their individualized needs. We even have walk-in advising appointments the first week after Thanksgiving—just come by Pueblo Hall. We’re a one stop shop.
“What it comes down to is that the sooner you enroll, the more individualized service you will get.”