Early registration groups defined

Jessica Chia


Even Bruiser gets to register early.

More than 6,245 undergraduate students are eligible to register before their classification’s normal registration date as members of early registration priority groups.

That number is close to half of the 12,918 total undergraduate students enrolled at Baylor for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The early registration priority group list was created before Dr. Wesley Null, vice provost for undergraduate education, and registrar Jonathan Helm were in charge of registration.

“We inherited priority registration,” Null said. “I’m in the position of sort of imagining how certain groups got on there.”

Null said several early registration priority groups reward high-achieving students, like those on the dean’s list or in Baylor Business Fellows.

The early registration priority system also includes students who participate in groups that require them to travel for university-sponsored reasons, like student athletes, debate team members and yell leaders.

Null and Helm said student athletes must satisfy NCAA requirements like being registered full-time, and meeting satisfactory academic yearly progress in addition to accommodating practice and travel schedules, which makes creating their schedules more complex.

Null said debate team members, like athletes, must frequently travel to competitions on behalf of the university.

Null said supplemental instruction leaders have obligations to the university as well, and must be registered in certain classes so they can attend the freshman classes they are assisting with in addition to their own courses.

Null said other early registration priority groups help students who might be adversely affected by the structure of the institution, like students with learning disabilities or pre-nursing students, who are required to transfer to the Dallas campus after two years.

Null said the priority given to faculty, staff and their dependents benefits all students by providing well-qualified potential faculty and staff members incentives to choose Baylor.

Null said no new early registration priority groups have been proposed since he took his position as vice provost two years ago, but that a committee including Null, Registrar Jonathan Helm, Director of Academic Advisement Joyce Miller, a member of faculty senate and a member of student government would consider new proposals from groups with motivations related to university obligations or academic excellence.

Null and Helm have increased the level of prioritization in the registration system, however, by reducing the number of students who are released for registration at a given time to 300 students.

Null confirmed that students with earlier registration times within their groups have an advantage in class selection. Ultimately, Null said he was open to examining the current system.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to reviewing the full list and learning more from each of these programs when they were put on the list and what the thinking was,” Null said.

Travis Taylor contributed to this story.