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What does a College Registrar do?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A college registrar is responsible for maintaining the registration and matriculation requirements at a college or university. This entails a number of different duties on a day to day basis, in addition to working with and typically supervising the other employees in the registration department. A college registrar typically holds a master's degree in academic administration, along with having a great deal of experience working in the registration and scheduling departments of a college.

One of the duties of a college registrar is to work with the deans in various academic departments within the college to determine the educational course requirements for graduation within each degree program. The registrar also develops course scheduling, along with other members of the registration department. He or she also develops procedures to be used in the registration department, and ensures that those procedures are being successfully followed. A registrar may also help to determine requirements for students wishing to enter the college.

With the assistance of the other employees, the registrar supervises new course registration for each semester at the college. This involves the selection of the classes that will be offered during each semester. The registrar, along with the department, might then make room and location assignments for classes to ensure the most efficient use of space.

When a student has completed the course work, and requests to be allowed to graduate and receive his or her degree, it is the responsibility of the college registrar to check the student's records and ensure that he or she has completed all of the requirements. This includes course requirements, university requirements, grades achieved, and monetary responsibilities. It is important for a registrar at a university to be honest and ethical, and to only allow those students who have earned it to graduate.

The department of the college registrar is also responsible for preparing transcripts and verifying matriculation after a student leaves the university. The student may request this information when applying to a graduate school or a job, and it is important that these records be accurate and readily available. For that reason, a registrar may often work to develop new systems of efficient record-keeping at the university. In addition, the college registrar may provide statistical data regarding student entry and matriculation to other colleges and universities, as well as government and educational boards. A college registrar is a high-level, demanding job that requires a great deal of responsibility and attention to detail.

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Discussion Comments
By anon329616 — On Apr 10, 2013

While I can see there is frustration here, let me tell you that it is not the Registrar who controls all of these things all of the time. The problem is that the functions of the Registrar's Office are misunderstood. A student should be guided and directed by their adviser, not the Registrar.

If colleges would decide to have one contact person for each student, they would find that this confusion is because students don't want to take responsibility for their education. They want someone to give them everything they want without having to work for it. Grow up!

By anon148732 — On Feb 02, 2011

My friend went to a community college like 20 years ago. he wants to pursue further studies at this time and needs his academic record. The college cannot locate his record and does not get back to him. Does anybody know what are the legal responsibilities of an institution in this regard? Thanks.

By panda2006 — On Jan 13, 2011

My university had a huge number of registrars. While there was one main person who fit the "college registrar" job description and was in charge of everyone, it could be very confusing to go into the registrar's office, because there were so many people and it could be difficult to figure out who could help with what sort of problem.

By watson42 — On Jan 11, 2011

@elizabeth23, I definitely had negative experiences when my school switched to electronic registration. Suddenly no one could get into all the classes they needed for their majors, seniors suddenly had almost no preferential treatment for getting the last classes they needed or wanted before graduating, and deadlines kept getting changed because no one filled out their electronic choices on time. Some things don't need to be modernized, they work just fine the old fashioned way.

By elizabeth23 — On Jan 09, 2011

In many schools in recent years, college and university registrars have tried to modernize registration procedures, usually in terms of putting paper registration systems online. In some cases, though, the people in charge are not very informed about technology or the internet, and the end result is not good. I have heard many horror stories.

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