During the week of Nov. 1 to Nov. 5, online registration for spring semester took place. First- year students registered for the first time since summer registration.
Winona State University provides a variety of resources for students registering for classes. TRIO Student Support Services is a federal grant program which provides students with academic support, including course selection.
Richard Kotovich is an academic advisor and TRIO tutor coordinator for student support services. Kotovich commented on how a lot of first-year students respond to the university style of registering for classes.
“First-year students sometimes have that anxiety of ‘Wait a minute, you’re not just telling me what to take. What if I pick the wrong thing?’ But that’s a part of a university experience because you do have a choice,” Kotovich said.
Regan Hathaway, a first-year secondary math education major and sociology minor, reflected this statement when describing her feelings toward registration this year.
“Registering for classes can be difficult because a lot of it is independent and you have to figure it out. It’s a lot of back and forth and it takes a lot of time,” Hathaway said.
The contrast between high school and college registration begets a learning curve. Kotovich commented on the support he provides for first generation students, and the gratitude he has to serve them. As an academic advisor with TRIO, he provides professional support and academic advice to first generation students and others to help them soar through their four years and receive a degree.
“TRIO serves 225 students,” Kotvitch said. “When you think of the thousands of students at Winona State, that’s a small number. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work so individually with students.”
Jensen Drake, a first-year communications major, specializing in leadership and advocacy with a criminal justice minor, reflected on her advisor meeting and the importance of academic advising during registration.
“So at the beginning of registration, I was very overwhelmed, but with help from my advisor, I have created a nice schedule, or at least a plan A and plan B going into spring semester,” Drake stated.
Kotovich reiterated the importance of first-year orientation classes, stating that they are very helpful in helping first-year students get registered and relieve anxiety over taking classes that may not be the correct ones for their major.
First-year students have spent the last year and a half in various circumstances because of COVID-19. Hannah Herman, a first-
year elementary education major, expressed their excitement regarding the potential decrease of COVID regulations in second semester.
“I’m very excited because school before COVID was my favorite thing to do, and I was, believe it or not, I was really good at it,” Herman said, “and I feel like leaving COVID behind can help build up those good habits again.”
Drake echoed this sentiment by adding that she had been quarantined five separate times in high school, so being vaccinated and in person is very important to them.
Hathaway explained that it would be much easier to go to one of her 9 a.m. classes if it weren’t online. She stated that online classes are known to decrease motivation in students in terms of participation and attendance.
Kotovich mentioned the fact he has heard from many students that they work better in a face-to-face environment. He also brought up familial situations that make it very important for many students to be able to stay on campus.
“We have to remember that there’s a lot of students from other family situations that it can be very relieving to be here on campus versus at home,” Kotovich said. “In a home situation where there might be other demands or responsibilities where here, there’s a lot more freedom.”
Moving forward, second semester for first-years is a really great opportunity to branch out and try new things. With the possibility of decreased regulations and new events, Kotovich expressed the importance of balancing academics and being social, as well as “spreading your wings.”
“Really take advantage of everything in your college experience and start seeing what that’s about for you,” Kotovich said.
Herman stated that she was excited for second semester because of the new classes she’ll be able to take and the people she’ll be able to meet. Having different classes each semester is much different than a high school setting where many classes are all year long.
Finally, Kotovich expressed his gratitude to be able to help students work through their first and other years of college. “So to be a part of that story and help explore whether it’s exploring careers or other things. It’s really kind of cool to be a part of that time,” Kotovich said.