26 Jan 2021 Lepapaigalagala, Apia Samoa. Hundreds of students walked the hallways of the National University of Samoa (NUS) during Day 1 of enrollments for the 2021 academic year.
Faculty and support staff guided students and parents along the 7-Step enrollment process and although some queues were long, they did flow steadily throughout the day.
Samoa Global News caught up with National University of Samoa Vice Chancellor Professor Aiono Dr Alec Ekeroma, walking through the crowd of students on Day 1 of enrollments.
“We aim to be customer-focused by designing an enrolment process that minimises long delays, maximises comfort and clarity of programme requirements for parents and students”, said Professor Aiono.
The Vice Chancellor says NUS is expecting approximately 500 to 600 students to enroll in Foundation Year, with a further 200 to 300 students in TVET courses.
“Students should think of a job they want to do as a guide rather than thinking of a degree,” advises the Vice Chancellor.
“If they can’t get in because of course requirements, then consider another or a bridging course,” says Dr Ekeroma.
Steps in the enrollment process were well labeled with NUS faculty and support staff set up under faculty-named banners to make themselves available to parents and students.
“It was most satisfying to witness the student’s excitement, heightened expectations and parental support,” said Professor Aiono.
Step 1 of the process is a check of relevant original documents such as birth certificates or passports, proof of immunisation and results showing minimum entry requirements.
Step 2 seeks approval for students’ preferred course of study, a necessary step before payment of the $322 tala enrollment fee in Step 3 and selection of course papers in Step 4.
The first three steps were available during pre-enrollment so those who pre-enrolled were able to go straight to Step 4 this week.
For Step 4, students are now having to decide what papers to take in the first semester. Samoan is compulsory, and some papers are only offered in the second semester so a bit of planning ahead is required.
Faculty staff were seen giving advice on courses available and encouraging students as they made decisions on which papers to enrol in for 2021.
Step 5 then requires students to visit the division or Faculty that delivers each course paper of their choice. Faculty staff will make an assessment of eligibility into each subject, and add a signature if a student is OK to enrol.
The final step 6 requires a line-up to have everything officially endorsed by Deans of various Faculty.
Once complete, the Step 7 line-up is to receive student invoices for course costs of Semester 1. The cost for five Semester 1 course papers for a Foundation year student comes to over $2,500 tala.
Professor Aiono says NUS fees are low in comparison to other tertiary institutions, and payment schedules can be set for students who may need help.
“One of the key advantages of NUS over other Universities is that we have managed to keep fees low to maximise access…
“The fees are due within a month but this is negotiable with Finance for those students who are finding it hard to meet this deadline,” assures the Vice Chancellor.
The final step is exciting for students, and that is the processing of student Photo IDs!
Throughout the various steps, staff of NUS were seen patiently engaging with students and parents, offering advice, and directing them to next steps of the process.
“As the VC of the National University, I am filled with pride in the efficient work our staff were performing at enrolment today (Monday) that promises the provision of a responsive academic environment that meets the needs of our parents and students,” adds Professor Aiono.
Enrollment continues into Day 2 with Orientation next week, and classes beginning the week after.
Foundation Science students, however, are off to an early start, with their first official day of classes starting today.