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How does your OLLI handle registration for extremely popular “ongoing” classes?

Posted on September 25th, 2013 by Anne Cardale, OLLI National Resource Center

Abbie Lawrence-Jacobson, OLLI at the University of Michigan, Asks OLLI:

How does your OLLI handle registration for extremely popular, full classes that are “ongoing” in nature in that they repeat each term? Such a class may be a writing class, or a discussion group and the participants find they really get to know one another well and form a deep bond.

Do you (a) give preference to the class members who have participated in the class already (thereby continuing to support the “like family/bonded group” nature of the class) and only allow new members in when spots become available? (b) Do you enforce a “first come first served” policy in which everyone, new or longtime members, has an equal shot at getting into the class each term? Or (c) do you have some other solution? Thanks for any input!

7 Responses to “How does your OLLI handle registration for extremely popular “ongoing” classes?”


  1. First come - first served, although sometimes it’s a challenge.

  2. #2 by: Anne Cardale

    Posted on behalf of Mary Kay Shartle Galotto. OLLI at Johns Hopkins

    We don’t really have this problem. Students register every semester, and it is first come, first served. When a class is filled, we start a waiting list. The more interactive classes, such as writing/memoirs/language have devoted followers, but are usually small and would welcome new members.


  3. We have this situation with several of our SIG’s. I asked the facilitators of the classes for their preferences. We decided to ask the current members of the classes first if they want to re-register for the next class, and then open up the remaining slots for new registrations. Members have been very accommodating and honestly have not re-registered unless they are actively attending and participating in the classes. It’s working so far! Fingers crossed….


  4. At UNF OLLI there are 3 classes for which we allow current students to enjoy early enrollment. They are skill building classes that benefit from a good mix of seasoned & new students: bridge, woodcarving & current events. In each case more seasoned students move out of those entry level classes & move into classes offering more depth & advanced experiences.


  5. I meant to add we usually have 50% early enrollers & plenty of seats for new students.


  6. Since we now offer online registration we have gone strictly to first come first served.


  7. We have first come, first served online registration as well, but we reward our members who buy packages of classes vs buying single courses by allowing them to register for classes two days earlier than the single course purchasers. These “core” members commit to a 6, 9 or 15 course package for the academic year and can use the courses throughout the three terms we offer. Buy being a loyal member, they can then register for the more popular courses and get in much easier than competing with all trying to register. This division also helps make registration run smoother in that we have half of the people registering on one day and others on another. All are invited to register for annual memberships and course packages prior to the official registration date when they can buy seats in the courses of their choice.

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