Natalie Deford, News Writer

With concerns for the time and costs spent on one’s Pacific Lutheran University experience, a 6-digit registration code is now required for all students regardless of class standing.

In order to register for classes, students must first receive their registration access code from their advisor.

This new policy will start to affect students this spring as they register for fall 2015.

The Admission and Retention of Students (ARTS) Committee asked the Advising Office to generate access codes for everyone.

The ARTS Committee consists of seven elected faculty members, several of whom are advisory members.

Professor Neal Yakelis, chemistry professor and chair to the ARTS Committee, said, “the committee seeks to develop ways to help students persist to complete degrees in a timely manner.”

Yakelis described the previous policy as a loophole in which upper division students did not need registration codes from their advisor in order to register.

He said such students could risk forgetting requirements and subsequently graduate late, which is not cost-effective.

“This was a big concern to us,” Yakelis said. “By expanding the requirement for access codes to everyone, we hope all students will have communication with their advisors.”

Ashley Connors, Associated Students of PLU Senator appointed to the ARTS Committee, emphasized that students are not required to meet with their advisor, but that they are required to communicate their plans.

“If your advisor feels that you have a solid plan for what you’re taking next semester and how you’re going to graduate on time, then they can simply email you your registration code,” Connors said.

Connors expressed a concern for graduation rates at PLU and the amount of students who do not graduate on time.

“This decision, made by the Admission and Retention of Students Committee with faculty support, is part of an ongoing conversation on how to improve retention and graduation rates at PLU,” she said. “Encouraging students to meet with their advisors and make a plan to graduation is one strategy we’re implementing to increase graduation rates, as well as reduce student debt.”

Connors said another major reason for the policy was transfer students who come in as juniors. Even though this would be their first year at PLU, BannerWeb would consider these students upperclassmen and allow them to register without ever having met an advisor.

“Regularly meeting with your advisor and talking about your plan will help you stay on track for graduation, and possibly reveal ways you could graduate early,” Connors said.

She said there are several additional benefits to meeting with an advisor.

“They can provide suggestions on what classes to take considering your interests, as well as suggest a strategic order in which to take those classes,” Connors said. “They also serve as a second set of eyes on your plan to graduation, making sure you’re not forgetting a GenEd or a major requirement. Major requirements aren’t always straightforward and do change from time to time, so your advisor can help you keep on top of that.”

She said advisors can also help with career exploration by suggesting internships and other opportunities.

Hal DeLaRosby, PLU Academic Advising director, explained how lucky PLU students are to have their advisors.

“This is a hallmark of PLU that students at other universities don’t receive: personalized guidance every semester from an academic advisor to ensure maximum opportunities and experiences in college all while focusing on an on-time graduation,” DeLaRosby said. “Advising is not just about class registration; advising is about the student getting the most out of their college involvement.”

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Samantha Lund was the Editor in Chief at The Mast, a student-run newsroom within Pacific Lutheran University, in 2015-16. Lund created Mast Magazine in 2015 to give students a forum for long form news pieces. She could be found writing for Pacific Lutheran University’s Marketing and Communication site plu.edu or interning at MOViN 92.9’s morning talk show in Seattle. Other places to find her content include: Alaska Airlines blog and website, The News Tribune and The Bremerton Harald.