WILLISTON, N.D. - Finals have been taken and the 2010 fall semester is one for the record books at Williston State College. The halls are empty of students and most faculty are home for the holidays. But in the Student Services office, employees are working hard to finish up preparations for the spring semester, for which classes begin Jan. 11.
The Student Services office is busy year-round, dealing with housing, student activities, admission, records, financial aid, disability support, advising students, recruitment of students, and more.
"Basically, Student Services encompasses everything that goes on outside the classroom in a student's life," said Jan Solem, Vice President of Student Services. "It gets to be a large area to cover."
There are no summers off for the Student Services employees, either. "Summer is a very very busy time for us," Solem said. "A lot of reporting and a lot of planning for the next year happens during the summer months. And, as we increase course offerings in the summer schedule, we have students who need our services then as well."
Right now, the three employees in the admissions and records department of the student services office are busy processing information from the Dec. 17 registration session, and are gearing up for the Jan. 10 registration session, which is the final session before classes begin on Jan. 11.
According to Lacey Madison, director for admissions and records, registration sessions are for new students who plan to attend classes on-campus and are seeking a degree.
"The intent of these sessions is to give future students an on-campus experience, get them in touch with their advisor to help them select their classes," she said. "We don't want them registering for classes without meeting with their advisor, which will help keep them on track for graduation, whether they're getting a certificate or an associate's degree. An advisor will help them make sure that they get the classes they need to make that happen."
Students who are taking classes on-line or via distance education also are required to visit with their advisor before registering for classes on-line.
For those attending the registration session on Jan. 10, which is scheduled from 2 to 4:15 p.m., there are six mini-sessions set up for them, including financial aid information, setting up a WSC email account, meeting with their advisor, a trip to the computer lab and walk through the on-line registration process; a visit to the academic success center to learn about tutoring and other services available to help them succeed academically; and then they will be able to visit with representatives of various student organizations and student life events.
"We have tried to streamline the process so there is not a lot of down time for the students while they are here," Madison said.
She emphasized that if they are required to take the Compass test, which is a placement test taken when students have not taken the ACT or SAT placement tests, they need to arrive by 1 p.m.
She added that after the registration session, they can take part in a tour of the campus and a question and answer session.
After registration is complete, the student services office keeps busy with, among a myriad of other tasks, monitoring students, processing drops (those who wish to drop a class for which they signed up) and processing no shows, or those who do not attend classes for which they registered. "We also have to do all the enrollment reporting, etc.," Madison said. "There are many many things we track for the students."