What is a Registrar? What do we do?

Kimberley Camasso

Lots! While the Registrar may seem mysterious or just the office where you sign up for classes or request a transcript, a Registrar’s Office does many things for students, their institution, and are connected to pretty much every department on campus!

The Registrar’s Office is the “Keeper of the Academic Record.” Our job is to ensure integrity and accuracy in anything involved with your academic history. At Emmanuel, we facilitate your registration, make updates to your record, evaluate transfer credit including for those studying abroad, and provide services, such as transcripts and enrollment verifications for scholarships. We provide reports to the College to assist decision making and departmental course planning, enrollment information to student loan lenders for deferrals, and confirm VA benefits and NCAA eligibility. At the end of your time in college, we audit your record, clear you for graduation and calculate honors.

Often students think we create academic policy, but really, we are more like the academic policy guardians; we’re tasked with upholding academic policy and applying it consistently. While we do have to enforce policy, we do our best to be flexible and accommodate when we can!

We work with students from orientation, teaching you how to register online, all the way through graduation day as we assist you across the stage! We truly work with students every step of the way.

Fun Fact: We have a super old profession. The first record of a Registrar goes back to the 1400s in England! It’s the second oldest position in higher education after faculty, of course!

TIPS to be successful from the Registrar’s Office

1. Check your Registrar’s website!

Need to request transcripts? Wondering about graduation requirements? Looking to add or drop a class? Many college Registrars have helpful websites that provide vast resources for students, faculty and staff, and where many common policy-related questions are answered and accessible 24 hours a day.

2. Always check your email from the Office of the Registrar!

We know students get a ton of emails—from many departments on campus and then from every last website you’ve ever purchased anything from; however, any emails you get from the Registrar are really important. We’ll alert you to specific deadlines or information about your registration or academic record which could impact your graduation!

3. Understand Dates and Deadlines

College and universities have a number of deadlines that are important to students, and the Registrar’s Office publishes all of this information in their Academic Calendar. These deadlines are important for registering, schedule changes, clearing any holds, taking advantage of new course opportunities and applying for graduation!

4. Understand FERPA

What is FERPA? FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.  FERPA is a federal law that protects your right as a student to privacy over your academic record. So it’s important for you to know how it impacts you.

FERPA has actually applied to you since you were in kindergarten, but a big change is that once you enrolled in a post-secondary institution (college), no matter how old you were, the access rights to your record transferred from your parents to you. You are now the one in control of access to your record (i.e. course schedule, grades, updates to your record, etc.) This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share information with your parents—we encourage open communication between students and their parents. However, parents will need to have the written approval from their student on file with the Registrar’s Office to access certain information regarding their student.

It’s important to know your rights under FERPA. These include:

  • The right to view your education record
  • The right to request an amendment to your record if you believe there is an error
  • The right to consent to disclosures of your information, except in cases where FERPA allows disclosure without consent, including to school officials with legitimate educational interest or verification of directory information
  • The right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education regarding a non-compliance of FERPA

5. PLAN for Registration in Advance:

  1. Plan Early: Work with your academic advising department to build out your 4-year plan and work on your goals. Then each term, specific course sections (day/time) become available two weeks prior to registration. This allows you register for courses stress free!
  2. Be Prepared: While a Registrar’s Office will do everything we can to help get you into the courses you need, have some back-ups ready for the sections (day/time) or electives you want. Then, registration becomes like online shopping. Add the specific sections to your schedule, and then “register” to check out!
  3. Understand Class Standing: At many institutions, class standing is based on COMPLETED credits, even though you are registering for an upcoming semester and may be the next class level by the time that semester starts.
  4. Use your resources! Your advisors and the Registrar staff are here to help you, before, during, and after registration. They are an invaluable resource to you—email, call, or stop by your Registrar’s Office if you need assistance!
Kimberley Camasso
Kimberley Camasso

Kimberley Camasso is the Registrar at Emmanuel College. She grew up in Haverhill, MA, and has a BA in History and Secondary Education and a Master of Science in Management, both from Emmanuel College. Between her degrees and work, Kimberley has spent just about half her life at Emmanuel. Kim currently lives in Haverhill with her husband and two daughters, enjoys yoga and is currently trying to find a way to enjoy running.