Program helps students manage registration woes

Sarah King
Contributing Writer

Juggling school, work and internships when picking a class schedule just became easier with a new VCU program called “College Scheduler.” The program generates hypothetical schedules based on the student’s time constraints.

“College Scheduler” went liveMonday, Nov. 4, said Luke Schultheis, Ph.D., vice provost for strategic enrollment and student affairs. despite a quiet launch, more than 1,000 students used the program and more than 200 students registered for schedules generated by the program, Shultheis said.

“The system generates every possible schedule with the classes that you want, holding the anchors you want, blocking the times you don’t want,” Schultheis said. “We think this will show students that there are way more schedules available than they thought were available.”

The program, found under the registration tab on eServices, allows students to create their  class schedule around specific times, professors or classes. For example, if a student works Monday nights and cannot attend class at that time, the program takes it into account when generating potential schedules. Schultheis also said the program could  also help students graduate on time.

“This will relieve a lot of pressure on the regular system because it’s based in the Cloud.  It’ll really speed things up and take all the pressure off our internal servers.  Then, since there are more things available, it will be more convenient for students to take those 15 credits, and be able to get out of here in four years,” Schultheis added.

The program falls in line with VCU’s “Do the math 15/4” campaign launched earlier this semester, which encourages students to take a 15 credits each semester to graduate in four years.

Schultheis said an advertising campaign for the program is planned for fall 2014 registration. The campaign will feature emails, web presence, tutorials, links and ad space devoted to making sure students are aware and able to use the program.

Katie Forsythe, a forensic science major, used the program during Honor’s College registration.

“It’s great that VCU has made this program available to students,” Forsythe said. “The program allows you to actually see all the options for how your days could be laid out instead of just seeing which sections of a class are available.”

Jada Carpenter, a communication arts major, said she agreed enrollment was much easier with the program.

“This definitely relieved a lot of stress with registration,” Carpenter said. “I wish the school had advertised it a little more, or that advisers were a little more knowledgeable about the system because it’s definitely a really useful tool. It ran smoothly and I was done with signing up for classes in under ten minutes.”

Schultheis said the Department of Strategic Enrollment works closely with VCU Tech Services to ensure maximum efficiency.  He said it is likely that, by fall 2014, the program will be solely facilitate the registration process.

“We didn’t want to put any confusion out there, so it’s been kind of a soft opening,” Schultheis said. “We just want to make sure we have both options while we implement this new one.  We’ve had people looking at the system every few minutes just to make sure things are running smoothly.”

College Scheduler isn’t just new to VCU, but also to Virginia. Schultheis said Ohio State University and Duke University use a similar program, but to his knowledge, VCU is the first Virginia school to adopt it.

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