University curbs student hassles with Internet adviser
January 15, 1999
GAINESVILLE, Florida (CNN) -- Did you have to "camp" outside the registrar's office, or stand in line for hours in the gym to register for college courses?
Those days of long waits and costly mistakes in class choices are disappearing at the University of Florida, where a new computer program not only streamlines the process -- it helps more students stay on track to graduate on time.
The computer system, called ISIS (Integrated Student Information System), gives students a little less to get stressed about.
"It's just really convenient," says student Rusty Haskell. "It cuts down on a lot of busy work sitting in line, or sitting around a building waiting for someone to talk to you."
During the registration process, it can tell them instantly if a class is full.
The information is accessible on the Internet to students who enter their Social Security and pin numbers.
Convenience is a huge selling point, but there's also a "reality check" -- every semester, a feature called "universal tracking" lets students know exactly what courses they need to graduate, and it alerts them when they start to fall behind.
"The worst thing a student can do is spend a year or two of their lives in a program that ultimately they can graduate from," says Albert Matheny, director of the university's advising system.
Advisers say ISIS is even cutting back on the number of dropouts.
"Our retention rates are getting up into the 90 percent range," Matheny says. "That's tremendously good by any large state university standards."
During registration, students are assigned staggered times when they can begin to log on and choose classes.
The software even fulfills such basic student needs as showing them what building to look for when classes start. And as the numbers suggest, less stress means more success.
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