What Is the College Registrar?

From making class schedules to keeping transcripts to organizing grades and tuition payments, the college registrar does it all.

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Even before you arrive at your school you will begin hearing of the all-powerful registrar.

The college registrar takes care of everything from class schedules to financial aid. Because the registrar plays such an important role in college life, it’s wise to learn more about the person and her office.

As you graduate and move on, the office of the registrar will certify your completion of the college program to other institutions or companies that require it.

The registrar typically holds a master's degree in academic administration and has a great deal of experience in the scheduling, registration and other organizational requirements of a college.

Official Definition of a College Registrar

According to the Bureau of Labor Management, "Registrars are custodians of students' records. They register students, record grades, prepare student transcripts, evaluate academic records, assess and collect tuition and fees, plan and implement commencement, oversee the preparation of college catalogs and schedules of classes, and analyze enrollment and demographic statistics."

In short, any and all administrative work is done through the office of the registrar, and you will become familiar with the registrar’s office very quickly.

At most schools there is one official registrar and then a fully staffed office to help with the laundry list of duties. As a student you will likely interact with mostly the staff and the registrar only on special occasions.

Interaction With the Registrar

Your first interaction with the registrar will likely be when you register for classes. You will need to pick up a coursebook outlining the various classes offered by the college. Coursebooks are also available online, but a print version can come in handy and sometimes contains more detail.

Once you have chosen your courses, you will need to visit the registrar's office to make sure that you are eligible to enroll in those classes. The registrar can tell you whether you need to meet any prerequisites or do any petitions for your classes.

Each semester as you near graduation, change majors, add majors or minors or decide to participate in extracurricular activities, from internships to study abroad programs, you will find yourself in the office of the registrar, filling out the appropriate forms.

Because forms need to be filled out in a timely fashion, the registrar can also help keep you apprised of deadlines, from registering for classes to declaring a major and enrolling in programs.

Other Registrar Duties

At many universities, including Dartmouth, the registrar allows students to use their electronic system to do research and file certain paperwork, while other forms may require an in-office visit.

As you graduate and move on, the office of the registrar will certify your completion of the college program to other institutions or companies that require it.

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