Campus News

New course enrollment app to simplify enrollment process

Officials hope the new enrollment application will allow students to spend less time talking with advisors about how to use the tools and more time talking about their futures.

Officials hope the new enrollment application will allow students to spend less time talking with advisors about how to use the tools and more time talking about their futures.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

Having trouble registering for classes? There is now an app to help with that.

Course Search & Enroll, a new application found on Learn@UW, aims to make the course enrollment process simple and stress-free by allowing students to complete enrollment tasks like choosing classes, scheduling and enrolling all in one place.

Prior to the introduction of Course Search & Enroll, students used the Course Guide app to search for classes, the scheduling system to arrange a schedule and the Student Center to enroll. This was particularly challenging and stressful for first-year students, according to university officials.

Wren Singer, director of undergraduate advising at UW-Madison, said advisors were spending a lot of time helping students use the tools they needed to enroll in courses rather than actually advising students on courses and future plans.

In fact, an internal university survey found that advisors spent an average of 10 minutes of a 30-minute appointment explaining how to use the tools, according to University Registrar Scott Owczarek.

“We really determined that, in order for advising to improve, we needed to improve this enrollment tool so that our advisors can spend more time doing a better job advising,” Singer said.

While Singer said the university had been “talking seriously” about creating an application for two to three years, recent student input has played a major role in the development and design of the new tool. Those involved with the creation of the app met with students to understand the problems of the previous enrollment system, and the app was rolled out to students at orientation both last summer and this past January.

“The initial idea to refine the tool was sort of a no-brainer based on the amount of frustration observed,” Singer said. “We really involved students in the development and design of the new tool.”

According to Singer, new students who were introduced to the app at SOAR have been using it to enroll, and their feedback — gathered from surveys asking them about their enrollment experience — has been positive.

Cassie Doubek, a UW-Madison freshman, said she had no problem using the app to enroll in classes for both the current spring semester and next fall. Doubek said she visited her advisor to talk about which courses she needed to take and not about how to use the tool.

“I feel like it was pretty self-explanatory,” Doubek said. “The tabs were laid out pretty nicely, so I didn’t have any trouble with that. I pretty much did all my enrollment stuff on my own.”

The ease of use was a goal when creating the app, according to Owczarek. He said the app’s new features — like its ability to automatically validate whether or not a student is eligible for a class — make the enrollment process less stressful for students.

“This was one of the big frustration points for students,” he said. “They would take all this time to build their schedule, and then they’d go into Student Center ready to hit enroll and they [would find out they weren’t eligible for a class].”

If the new enrollment app is found to be successful, Singer said the university plans to no longer support the old enrollment tools, which have been updated to the point where they have become hard to use.

“We figured, let’s take a step back and take a holistic approach and look at the enrollment experience from a student perspective,” Owczarek said.

The enrollment application is now available to all students.

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