The effects of early, regular, and late registration on student success in community colleges
Street, Margaret Ann
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Student success is a critical issue in higher education. Using the input-environment outcomes assessment model of Astin (1993), the main problem of this study was to determine whether or not early, regular, and late registration students differed from each other in terms of their academic success. This study had three purposes. The first purpose was to determine the differences between students enrolling during the three phases of registration (early, regular, and late) in a two-year college. A second purpose was to suggest late registration policy and practices that might improve student success. The third purpose was to make research recommendations for further study in the area of late registration. Registration time, academic records, and demographic information were collected from a stratified random sample of students at one community college in the fall of 1998. Students were grouped according to type (new and returning) and registration time (early, regular, and late). The sample consisted of 86 new students (55 regular and 31 late registrants) and 165 returning students (55 from each phase of registration). Analysis of covariance and chi-square tests were used to analyze the data. The major findings were as follows. For both new and returning students, late registrants were shown to be much less likely to persist to the spring semester than were early (returning students only) or regular registrants. Of the new students, 80% of regular and 35% of late registrants were retained to the next semester. For returning students, 80% of early, 64% of regular, and 42% of late registrants were retained. Differences in withdrawal rates were also significant for both new and returning students. New students who registered on time (regular) withdrew from 10% of their course hours while those who registered late withdrew from 21%. For returning students, early registrants withdrew from 5% of their course hours, regular registrants withdrew from 4%, and late registrants withdrew from 13%. Returning students also differed significantly in their semester grade point average (GPA) and their successful completion rate based on their time of registration. Early registrants earned a fall semester GPA of 3.48 and successfully completed 96% of their course hours. Regular registrants earned a GPA of 3.33 and successfully completed 91 % of their course hours. Late registrants earned a GPA of 2.69 and successfully completed 74% of their course hours. Policy and practice recommendations were made based on these findings. The researcher concluded that the practice of late registration is a deterrent to both academic success and retention of students.