The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Students try their best to register for spring quarter through new system

Isabel Borchers and Samuel Watson Staff Reporters Mar 18, 2021

With technical difficulties and confusion surrounding the new ctcLink software system, Highline students are doing their best to register for Spring Quarter, with varying success.

This time last year, college officials were considering whether to halt in-person instruction ahead of Gov. Inslee’s announcement mandating school closures statewide. Now, most classes are still remote and will remain so through June. 

College officials are currently working to devise a plan in which some in-person instruction may be offered in the fall.

This quarter’s registration comes on the heels of Highline’s switch to ctcLink, a new software system that has changed how students pay tuition, manage financial aid, and register for classes, among other things.

The switch got off to a rough start, but through informational Zoom sessions, instructional videos, and word of mouth, more students learned of the change and have been able to adjust, though not all has gone smoothly. 

In the last few weeks, both the default ctcLink website as well as the mobile version have crashed several times, which may have caused issues for some students. And confusion with the system has impacted the number of students who have been able to enroll for Spring Quarter overall, college officials said.

In an email this week, Highline’s Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Emily Lardner said she was recommending faculty keep their classes on the schedule for students to enroll until March 31. This is meant to accommodate students who have had trouble registering and need more time to do so, she said.

That day, an enrollment meeting will take place where college officials will “review enrollments for all classes with fewer than 15 students on a case-by-case basis and determine whether to let them run,” Dr. Lardner said in the email. “While we hope most classes will meet the target of 18, the transition to ctcLink has thrown us all for a loop.”

She said she remains hopeful that with continued support and the extended registration window, students will be able to successfully enroll for Spring Quarter.

One Highline student, Melissa Schacher, said she was able to register somewhat smoothly thanks to preparation she had done in the days leading up to her enrollment date.

“I luckily had all my classes ready to go in my shopping cart so right as my registration time started I just clicked and enrolled,” Schacher said. “It was pretty easy since I planned quite a bit ahead knowing that the sign-up time would make the site and app slow.”

She said if not for planning in advance, she would likely have had a much harder time. 

Another student, Mary Belay, had a little bit more trouble, but was also eventually able to register successfully. 

“It was definitely confusing, and I had to rely on help from my friends in order to figure it out,” Belay said. “Although there were some similarities to the old system, this new registration process was something that I needed to take time to familiarize myself with.”

Both Belay and Schacher said they had friends who had a tougher time figuring out the new system and registering for Spring Quarter.

“Some of my friends have also expressed frustration with learning to navigate the new system,” Belay said. “I think on top of managing remote learning, this additional obstacle pushed some students over the edge.”

“All my friends had a hard time,” Schacher said. “Many of them FaceTimed me to have me help them through it. I don’t think many people enjoyed the new system.”

Highline student Erin Fredrickson said they had a tough time registering with the new system.

“I found classes and already registered,” Fredrickson said, “The app was super slow and very glitchy so it took a while to be able to search for classes.” 

“I had no idea how the layout of the new website worked and it was very confusing to work with,” said another Highline student who wished to remain anonymous. “I didn’t like how it gave a completely new login username and password.”

Some students have said they appreciate the additional resources Highline has provided in the form of video tutorials and Zooms. 

“I found the step-by-step videos to be the most helpful considering they provided actual visuals instead of just written instructions,” Belay said. 

Schacher said she found the resources just “OK.”

“The Zooms weren’t that helpful since all they did was show videos to us, so I guess if anything it was the videos that were most helpful for me,” she said. 

Though both Schacher and Belay said they felt the system rollout could’ve gone more smoothly and may have been better if introduced at the start of a new school year, they were able to register successfully.

And Fredrickson said though they had a difficult time mastering ctcLink, they can see why the system will be beneficial in the long run.

“I liked the old version better, but the new version combined everything from academic progress to managing classes and so much more all on one platform making it easy to access everything,” they said. 

If you require assistance with registering or need additional resources, click here.

All students, current and new, should now be able to register for Spring Quarter using ctcLink. Classes will begin on April 5.