Not User-Friendly

And now it’s time for my annual Re-Registration Rant.

It’s time to sign up Middle Sister for her senior year of high school. (All together now:  “She’s a senior ALREADY?”)

When registration time comes around, the school emails me a link to her account. (Full disclosure:  This account is not maintained by the school, but by the tuition-management service contracted by the diocese. None of the issues I encountered were things the school could have remedied or prevented.) In the email, it said that that if I signed in using this link, it would display my student’s information. So I signed in at the link, fortunately remembering my username and password.

I should have known I was in for it when I was asked to enter my returning student’s name, despite what the email from the school told me. After filling in that form, I came to a screen that instructed me to click the button labeled “Add Student”–this despite the fact that I’d already filled in the student’s name, and that a little link labeled “Start” was next to my daughter’s name. I followed the directions, though. Doing so took me back to the ADD screen, which I did not want.

Trying again, I clicked that “Start” link and continued registration.

The form remembers none of the information from previous registrations. Everything must be entered again.

Although I checked the box for “Married” after “Parents’ Marital Status” and then the box for “Child lives with both parents” I still could not go on until I filled in Custodial Parent Information. The form is set up so that I would have to designate one of us as Custodial and one as Non-custodial.

I called the customer-service number of the management company that handles the registration website, but I’d have had to wait 12 minutes to (maybe) speak to a person. That’s way too long to listen to cheesy “on-hold” music punctuated by smarmy messages reminding me how important my call is to them, so I bailed. I considered calling the school, as I’ve had to do at least once before when filling out this form and reaching this step. The whole process comes to a screeching halt because the system cannot deal with a child in a traditional two-parent household.

Then I noticed that underneath the boxed for “Name of Custodial Parent” and “Name of Non-custodial Parent” there was a check-box labeled “Not applicable.” The same was true for the addresses (and phone numbers) of the custodial and non-custodial parent. Several checked boxes later, I was able to proceed with the next step.

I’m quite sure that it’s not very hard to have those “Not applicable” boxes automatically fill in when the box “Child lives with both parents” is checked.

I was asked to fill in my student’s religion in two separate places. Similarly, I had to fill in the names of both parents, and our address, several times throughout the process.

If all this is tied to an account that I created years ago, why doesn’t it remember any of that information?

I did notice at the end, however, that it had my bank account number on file so it could easily and automatically deduct the registration deposit of $490. That was the only convenient part of the whole process.

That’s right:  it doesn’t remember my kid, my address, my phone number, my religion, or what to do when both parents live in the same house, but it’s got access to my checking account. That’s more than a little unsettling.

6 thoughts on “Not User-Friendly

  1. When John went there, everything was done the old fashioned way – paper and ink! And there were none of these problems. Will forward this "complaint" on to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees – I know him pretty well! We need to do breakfast soon.

  2. Haha, Colleen–I have learned better than to ask for patience!Ellen, this system just started while Middle Sister was at school. Again, it's not the school's fault. I contacted the Diocese and the company. And yes–breakfast soon would be great.

  3. I was excited when our local school finally got registration computerized, but it still required filling in so much repeat information that it would seem they should already have on file. Our youngest graduated last spring, and let me tell you when I went to registration for her senior year I was as happy as a lark because I knew it was the LAST time I would have to do it!Bean

  4. I hate School. πŸ™‚ I don't know that we've had that problem, but the company that takes payments for The School charges a ridiculous fee for monthly payments. Once, my husband's CC was lost and we got the new one on *the day* that the monthly payment was processed. Naturally, they used the old card since we hadn't had the chance to change the account to the new one, and the service charge for "non-payment" was crazy expensive. Neither the school nor the tuition co. would hear our case and waive the fee. The school people weren't even sympathetic. Bureaucracy. πŸ˜›

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