1650 First-Years to Register Today
Students to Receive 'Bubble Form' Study Cards, Inaugural Invitations
First-year registration is always a little bit unique, according to Assistant Registrar for Scheduling Joseph D. Maruca.
First-year students tend to show up early on registration morning. Really early.
"They're all wicked excited to be here," Maruca said, adding that the registration staff will probably be ready to process students well before the official opening time of 7:45 a.m. "I don't want them to have to wait in long lines."
By 10:45 a.m. this morning, when first-year registration ends, approximately 1650 first-years will have entered Memorial Hall to take the final step towards officially becoming Harvard students.
The essence of registration, said Maruca, is "the moment where you actually sign the little form saying that you're here."
"It means the clock has started on the academic year," he said.
First-year registration, which is usually held on the Monday after Orientation Week, is a day early this year because Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, falls on Monday and Tuesday.
"You can't ask observant students to do things like register on a holy day," Maruca said.
But he acknowledges that shifting it back by a day is less than an ideal solution, since holding it on a Sunday creates a problem for some Christian students.
The actual process of registration is the same this year as it has been in the past, Maruca said. The one notable change is that the registration packets are bigger than ever this year.
"They're huge, they're fat, they're enormous," he said of the envelopes, estimating that each one weighs more than a pound.
Maruca explained that he invited student groups to contribute materials to the packet this year and was surprised by the enthusiastic response. The envelopes will contain leaflets from a number of different student groups as well as a new booklet published by University Health Services.
In fact, Maruca said, in the future he may have to modify his invitation, since the registrar's office has had to hire people to stuff all the extra material into the envelopes.
"It's getting pretty expensive," he said.
The packets will also contain study cards, which will be "bubble forms," to be filled out with a number-two pencils, rather than handwritten forms, for the first time ever this year. The cards are due for all undergraduates on Sept. 23 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., at the Union for first-years and at Memorial Hall for upperclass students.
All students will also receive small pieces of red paper in their packets--invitations to President Neil L. Rudenstine's inauguration, scheduled for October 17 and 18. Maruca said that inaugural organizers have told him that the event will be "loosely ticketed" but that students will probably be allowed in without their invitations.
First-year students whose bills are not paid up are not "red-dotted"--prevented from registering until their accounts are settled--as upperclass students are. Instead they receive a warning letter from the billing office in their packets, but are allowed to go ahead and register anyway. Maruca said that fewer than 100 first-years are expected to receive such letters this year.