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Countywide : A Hectic First Day of Spring Semester

There were lines everywhere Tuesday for the first day of the spring semester at many community colleges.

Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges were jampacked with students--as were Rancho Santiago and Orange Coast.

“Oh, it’s been very, very busy,” said Betty Gregory, the college information operator for Saddleback College. “First day of classes are always that way.”

At Orange Coast College, there were lines for class registration, lines at the bookstore, lines at the admissions office, lines at the public telephones--even lines to get into the restrooms.

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But the biggest line, about three blocks long, was for class registration, where hundreds of students waited for about two hours to sign up for classes.

So far, an estimated 20,000 students have registered for the 3,000 classes that are offered at Orange Coast--just below the 20,747 students who enrolled last year during the same semester, said Sue Brown, the administrative dean of admissions.

“But we still have time to pick up a couple hundred students,” she said. “At the rate we’re going, we’ll be ahead of last year.” She said the most popular courses were general education and English as a second language.

An average 150 students have signed up each day since registration began in November last year. The last day to add or drop classes is Jan. 30, but Brown does not advise waiting until the last moment.

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“That’s when the line is going to be terrible,” she said. “I guarantee any student will be waiting in line for at least an hour or two.”

At the Rancho Santiago College campuses in Santa Ana and Orange, the first day of class got off to a rough start after the central computer system broke down in the early morning. But the glitch did not cause too many problems, and students were still able to register, said Hal Bateman, dean of admissions.

“We worked around it,” he said. “We had students sign their add cards, and when the computer came back up, it was business as usual.”


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