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RegFest helps students prepare for next semester despite uncertainties

Christalyn Barker
First-year film students Chaise Lawson and Henry MacDonald attend RegFest on Tuesday, April 10, 2024 at the Student Center. This event helps students prepare ahead of registration for the upcoming semester.

In anticipation of the Fall 2024 schedule going live on April 15, students attended RegFest, an event that offers academic advising for students selecting classes for the next semester, before the time comes to register. 

With a variety of tables such as academic advising, student organizations and specific departments, the event offered students a “one-stop shop” to receive the help that they need, according to Greg Foster-Rice, associate provost for Student Retention Initiatives. 

Foster-Rice worked at the checkout table, where students verified they had done all of the necessary steps to prepare for registration, and in return received a free lunch voucher and entered into a raffle for six $500 scholarships.

Though this event, which took place at the Student Center on Tuesday, April 9 and Wednesday, April 10, isn’t required for students to register, Monika Jaiswal-Oliver, academic manager in business and entrepreneurship, highlighted the importance of going, rather than preparing to register alone.

“It gives them an assurance to be ready,” she said. “So when they are ready, they know what to take. We also provide them with several other options, so that if one course is full, [they know] what other courses they can register for.” 

Though RegFest targets first-year students, it is a resource to students of any year, like Nelly Castellanos. The sophomore film and television major finds the event helpful in organizing the classes she wants and needs to take, given where she’s at in her program.

“[It] makes things easier to go through,” she said. “I usually make my schedule way quicker when I go to it.” 

Ronald Hearns, first-year graduate student of the arts, entertainment and media management program, found the in-person aspect of the event to be helpful for him to adjust to a new registration system, as it’s his first year at Columbia.

“The website, I feel like, is a little bit outdated, at least compared to what it was like at my undergraduate school,” Hearns said. “Registering for classes can be a bit confusing. So it is helpful to be able to ask some questions in person and have some guidance.”

As President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim’s Presidential Advisory Report will not be finalized until May 2, some students have found it stressful to see which classes to register for, prior to any changes. Castellanos found the undetermined changes to conflict with her process of selecting classes.

“There are so many things affecting the departments, and there’s a good chance that classes I currently want won’t be [available] in the future,” she said. “I think that’s been the most frustrating part, just trying to work around that.”

Foster-Rice wants to reassure students feeling uncertain about their classes in the fall; he said students will graduate from the same program they came in with, regardless of other changes.

“That’s a guarantee,” he said. “We’re also going to figure out that the classes that you need to graduate, that we have seats in those classes, in order for you to be able to graduate in a timely manner. We want to provide support so that you can get access [to] that.” 

While working at the event, Foster-Rice said building community, preparing and getting excited for the semester ahead is an opportunity offered especially at RegFest, but not limited to the two-day event.

“Whether it’s RegFest or not, they should come to our department and talk to us,” Foster-Rice said. “That’s why we’re here.”

Copy edited by Lily Thomas

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About the Contributors
Sofía Oyarzún
Sofía Oyarzún, Bilingual Reporter
soyarzun@columbichronicle.com   Sofia Oyarzún is a sophomore photojournalism and journalism double major. Oyarzún joined the Chronicle in January 2024.   Hometown: Glenview, Illinois
Christalyn Barker
Christalyn Barker, Former Photojournalist
cbarker@columbiachronicle.com   Christalyn Barker is a senior photojournalism major, minoring in music business. Barker has covered campus events such as Convocation, Acoustic Kitchen performances, and metro events. She worked for the Chronicle from August 2023 through May 2024.   Hometown: Dearborn, Michigan