What does a Registrar do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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A registrar is someone who maintains a database of official records. Many people think of this profession in terms of education, since all universities and other academic institutions rely on registrars to keep accurate and detailed records. Registrars may work in other industries as well, however. For example, in the financial field, registrars keep records of holders of stocks and bonds current, and registrars also handle the registration and databasing of domain names.

If you're interested in becoming a registrar, you should have a excellent memory in addition to the ability to handle input from multiple sources at once. Registrars routinely handle inquiries, information requests, and the processing of new information on a daily basis, sometimes all at once. You must also be able to work well under pressure; during periods of peak demand, a registrar may handle hundreds of complex registrations at once, and they all need to be rapidly processed while remaining correct. If a registrar fails in his or her duties, it can have serious consequences.


Typically, a registrar enrolls all new entries into a database, such as new students at a college. These entries may also need to be regularly updated, reflecting information like academic standing and outstanding debts. In the financial field, a registrar may be expected to reconcile lists as well, proving, for example, that all of the stock in a company is accounted for, and that there are no cases of double registration. Other people may ask for access to these records; students, for instance, may request transcripts from a registrar.

In academic fields, the office of the registrar may be bundled with admissions. This is common with smaller colleges and technical schools, in which a single office can handle both of these tasks. Keeping the offices together also cuts down on records redundancy, ensuring that information is streamlined and correct. The office of the registrar may also handle things like academic holds and routine student inquiries about school policies and academic status.

Many registrars work with computerized records, allowing them extensive access to a large, searchable database. A registrar may also handle paper records, such as physical copies of signed legal documents. These databases need to be kept in immaculate order for legal reasons, and in some cases a registrar may be expected to submit to oversight, ensuring that these records are in proper condition.


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The registrar's office at a college is always one of the busiest on campus. Not only do they have to keep up with the number of students enrolled, but they also keep up with grade transcripts, and keep copies to send to different places.

College registrars also have to know what classes constitute a finished degree, and you usually have to send your "matriculation request" form to the registrar's office, where they will count your hours against what your catalog requires, and will approve you to graduate or not. Suffice it to say, a registrar's job is a year-round one.

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