Making sure students meet the deadlines

Students are sometimes faced with making quick decisions in university, and that includes making decisions regarding the courses they take — which may also have a direct effect on their wallet.

While nothing has changed this year for deadlines to drop and add courses, students still have to be aware of these dates to avoid unnecessary losses.

If a student were to drop a class last week, they would receive the full tuition of the course back, but if they were to drop a course this week — up until Sept. 25 — then they will only receive 90 per cent tuition back and still have to give up the remaining ten to the university.

When asked whether this was fair for students, Ray Darling, the registrar and commissioner of oaths at Wilfrid Laurier University, responded, “I would hope so. They’ve been to the introductory class, they’ve received the outline, and they’ve met the professor. They know the work that is ahead of them.”

Darling also noted that students have up to the 40th day of classes to drop a course without incurring an academic penalty, but will still lose up to 55 per cent of the cost of the course.

While some students may feel like one or two weeks is not nearly enough time to determine whether or not they should stay in a course, Darling stated that this is the common approach for most universities.

“I think that’s a pretty standard approach, like I’ve looked at other models across the province and they vary but there are a number that are like us,” continued Darling. “There are some that go down incrementally throughout the whole term. But a lot of them actually would be hitting you with some type of money after the first week.”

Sometimes the issue is that students are unaware of these dates, so the focus of the university has been to find better ways to communicate this information.

“For me the most important thing is that the information is communicated and articulated in a way that students understand,” said Leanne Holland-Brown, the dean of students at WLU. “At the end of the day there’s always going to be deadlines and parameters.”

This year, the registrar office has been using e-mail to communicate with students but that hasn’t always been an effective approach since many of the emails from the university may not be read or noticed.

“We know that there is an issue with students not reading e-mails and not reading the information that is on the website,” continued Darling. “I think students think we’re spamming them as well.”

Darling also predicted that on average only a third of the e-mails the university sends out get read by students.

By switching to a G-mail based e-mail system last year, Darling hopes that students will be more inclined to check to it.

With the rapid shift to more technological and digital ways of communication, the university is focused on finding more effective methods to communicate with students.

“It’s an on-going question in post-secondary and the reality is we can be a little bit archaic, and we need to do a better job at being where the students are,” added Holland-Brown. “I think students would prefer we texted it to them, realistically.”

Darling noted that the responsibility weighs heavily on the students to keep informed, but there’s always going to be issues with the way they communicate with students.

“I don’t think there is any perfect method, you just need to try one and stick with it and be consistent with it.”

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