Too Much Information

When Monroe Community College, in Rochester, N.Y., set out in September to find out why more students weren’t taking advantage of early registration, officials found an unexpected source for the problem: communication is good, but students had too much of a good thing.

The college had conducted research that showed students who registered earlier were more likely to succeed: they get financial aid earlier, they’re more likely to get courses at a convenient time, and they have time to buy books and prepare for the first day of class. But while “express enrollment days” for first-time students were a success, continuing students were much less likely to show up.

That wasn’t for lack of communication. In fact, college officials discovered, students were overwhelmed with e-mails, letters, phone calls and postcards about enrollment.

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