How Does Registration Work, Anyway? (Pt 1)

Now that we’ve had our “new registration” process in place for a little over a year, we wanted to take a minute to answer some questions you may have about the process and shed some light on what happens “behind the curtain” after you’ve filled out the registration interest list.

For starters, why do you do registration this way?

We used to have what might be a more traditional registration process. We would pick a day/time to open registration, set it live on the website, and then step back and watch registration happen.

But we often got feedback that some part of the process was less than optimal for many, especially when a particular program or title was really popular:

  • The day/time we picked meant that some people were not available.
  • The overall timing and urgency of registration were not optimal with regards to when people get paid.
  • So many registrations might come in so fast that our automations didn’t have time to finish one before the next one started.
  • Our website would not be able to withstand the number of people checking out and the pages were taking so long to load that they were timing out.

We especially didn’t like that a process we intended to be random was actually not – it was favoring people who had the type of job where they could be online and able to drop everything at a specific time during the day, and creating additional barriers for anyone who wasn’t using the fastest connection or device to register for a program.

So instead we came up with a process that allowed us to control for a lot of those variables by removing the urgency and the need for everyone to be accessing the website at the same time.

Now, we open the registration list at a specific day/time, but it’s open for about a week and whether you’re the first person on the list or the last person on the list has no impact on your likelihood to get a spot!

What happens when the list is closed? How are people selected to receive spots?

Once we’ve removed duplicate entries from the list and have sorted everyone so we can see how many people are interested in each program, we begin to offer spots. If there are more spots available than people on the list, then everyone is offered a spot, no lottery is needed, and any remaining available spots are put up on the website for anyone to register for.

What if there aren’t enough spots for everyone?

This is when the lottery begins!

  • We take everyone who has expressed interest in a particular program and we make a list. Then we use a random number generator to pull numbers to determine who is being offered a spot in that program during that round of registration.
  • Depending on the show or program, we may be looking to make sure there are some participants with a certain identity. In that case, we may do a lottery for some available spots from only people with that identity.
  • We also like to make sure that a good number of spots are made available to newbies, so for some spots we might only be selecting from newbies.
  • If we select someone in the lottery for their second choice show, we set that offer aside for the moment. We continue to keep them in the lottery for their first choice show as long as we can, and only offer them a spot in their second choice if they aren’t selected for their first choice.
  • We continue this process until either everyone on the list has been offered a spot in a program that they are interested in, or the only people left who have not been offered a spot are only interested in programs that have sold out.

Why does this process take so long? Why doesn’t everyone hear back on the first day?

Not everyone who is offered a spot accepts the spot and registers! Registration usually takes at least two to three rounds of offers per show, sometimes more.

What does this all mean for me?

When you fill out the registration list just answer the questions honestly and be patient! We’re trying to get as many people into programs they want to do as we are able to, so we’re always going to try our best to get you into your first choice program – it just takes a little longer!

If you’re truly happy with anything, great! It definitely increases your chances of getting something. And if you would register for program B but program A is your first choice, say that! You won’t be offered a spot in program B unless program A is sold out, so it doesn’t have any negative impact on your chances of getting a spot in your first choice!

Check out Part 2, which features commonly asked questions and their answers.