Nicole Romero

Now’s the best time to enroll at UNM-Taos

By Bill Knief

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The closer we get to the first day of class—and it’s early this year: January 12, barely a month away—the “zooier” it can become in the enrollment office, according to Patricia Gonzales, Director of Student Affairs.

Those of you who have taken classes at UNM-Taos in the past and waited until the last minute to enroll know exactly what she means: a lot of people packed into a small space, each with their own set of needs; a finite number of computers and printers to use; phones ringing off the hook and children crying; your class getting cancelled due to low enrollment just as you are about to sign up for it, so you decide on another, only to find that it has also been closed out, this time because its student limit has been exceeded. It can be a frustrating way to start the semester.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

More than 500 students have already signed up for spring semester classes without having to endure any of the zooy hassles. The campus is in the midst of finals week, and has quieted down considerably, now that regularly scheduled classes have ended. The full enrollment team, including support staff, academic advisors, financial aid advisor, the business office and the help desk is on hand 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday in Pueblo Hall on Klauer campus, and they can be reached by calling 575 737-6215.

In addition, this year, they’ve decided to extend hours and walk in times to make it even easier to enroll. Tuesday, December 16, they will be staying open at Pueblo Hall until 7pm so that people can stop in after work to enroll. Then on Monday December 15 through Thursday December 18, and again Monday and Tuesday December 22 and 23 of the week after that, you can walk in any time between 9am and 4pm for financial aid and academic advising without an appointment.

In the afternoon on Tuesday, December 23 we will be shutting down for winter break, and the campus will be closed until January 5. During that time you will still be able to enroll online at taos.unm.edu, but only if you are a returning student who is already in our system.

Nicole Romero, the Senior Student Success Associate for the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), also let me know that, as of last week, there were still a few slots open in the spring semester CAMP program headed by Juan Montes. Its purpose is simply to give students “the support they need to succeed in college, in a career, and in life,” Romero said.

“In order to apply they first have to fill out an application,” she said, “and they can contact me at 575 252-3014 or at the office at 737-3721. To qualify they or their parents have to have done 75 days of paid agricultural work in the last two years, and if they have gone to college, they must have less than 24 credit hours. So it is not difficult to qualify.

“Agriculture can be many things: planting, gardening, weeding, thinning. Then we provide a full package of academic and financial support along with experiential learning trips to places like the Sand Dunes, Bandelier National Monument and a great tour of Taos Plaza with Larry Torres.

“We’ll pay for tuition and books, and a gas stipend if they are from out of town. We can even pay a portion of childcare costs. Our youngest student is sixteen, and the oldest is about 39, so there is no age requirement.

“We’re looking for underprivileged students who wouldn’t necessarily get through the college system without the help and support of the program and the other students that make up the team.

“We get ‘em and try to perform miracles,” she laughed. “We have a high percentage of students that continue on in college.”

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