You vs. Drop/Add: Top Tips from Your Peer Advisors
It’s the start of a new semester and students now find themselves smack-dab in the middle of the Drop/Add period on campus. Those of you who are not familiar with how to negotiate this potentially trying time should seek advice from your appointed peer advisors.
I know how it is: you forget, you can’t find their name, you don’t have time, they are scary upperclassmen. Whatever the reason, for those of you out there who just want some fast tips, read on: several Wesleyan peer advisors disclosed to The Argus their top tips for surviving some of the stressful situations in which you might find yourself.
Hypothetical case scenario #1: There is a class that you really want to take, but you have been closed out of it. Or, there is a course that you absolutely need as a prerequisite, major fulfillment, or general expectations requirement, but the slots are all filled. We’ve all been there. So the question remains: what should be your modus operandi?
Gabrielle Bruney ’14 advises that you first email the professor to your interest in the course, and then show up.
“Show up for the class on the first day of drop/add, even if the professor hasn’t let you in yet,” Bruney said. “Sit up in class, make thoughtful comments, take notes, and look interested—show the professor that you’re a great addition to the class. After class that first day, go up to the professor and introduce yourself again, mentioning that you emailed, and repeat what you said in the email. Remind them how much the class means to you!”
To increase your chances in the case of a pending enrollment request, Alex Persky-Stern ’13 suggests you use the “note to professor” field:
“For classes where you have a pending enrollment request, there is an option to write a short note to the professor explaining why you want to get into the class,” said Persky-Stern. “Whether or not you have an amazing reason, saying that you’re really excited about the course can set you apart from the other students on the waiting list.”
Hypothetical case scenario #2: You think you might be able to squeeze in an extra class or lab that is not being offered until next year. Basically, the “Add now, drop later” method.
Greer Dent ’12 explained how to best manage your course load.
“Use Drop/Add to make sure your course load is balanced and manageable,” said Dent. “If you’re thinking of taking an extra class or lab, try it for the first two weeks and if you’re overwhelmed or already behind by the end of Drop/Add, it’s probably a sign you’ve taken on too much. Drop/Add is also helpful for determining whether your course load is balanced or overly reading or writing intensive.”
If you are equally interested in two courses, but are not sure which one is more suitable for you, Gabriella De Golia ’13 suggests that you sign up for extra classes.
“I always suggest to students that even if they are already set with four classes at the start of Drop/Add they should still sit in on a couple other courses,” said De Golia. “This is so that if one of the original four doesn’t end up being what they hoped for, they have other options to choose from and a better chance of getting into another class.”
Hypothetical case scenario #3: You have to choose between two courses and are unsure how to evaluate them.
Adam Rashkoff ’13 suggests that you plan out a potential schedule.
“A student who is deciding between courses should collect all the syllabi ze receives at the first meetings of courses ze attends,” said Rashkoff. “Then, ze should draw up hypothetical semester calendars for each possible course combination ze might have, entering in tests, assignment due dates, etc. If one calendar has a ton of work due in the same week, perhaps ze should decide against that course combination. If, due to other factors, the student decides to opt for that course combination anyway, at least ze will be cognizant of work-intensive periods in the semester and can plan accordingly.”
Finally, hypothetical case scenario #4: you have two courses you want to take. You have to choose between them, but you can’t enroll in both because they share the same time slot. Without attending the classes, you can’t decide which would be more beneficial or more to your liking. If this is you, Francesca Jones ’12 has a suggestion:
“If you have more than one class during a time slot and you can’t decide between them,” said Jones, “go talk to the professor of one of the classes for a little while before class and explain your situation. Email is okay, but going to talk to the professor in person ups your chances of getting a slot/remaining in the class drastically—it shows the professor that you are serious about your interest in the course and allows you to talk to the professor alone before the craziness of the first class.”
There may be other scenarios not mentioned in this article, but all the advisors agreed that things generally work out for the best, and that they are there to guide you. So take a deep breath, plan your course of action, and take those extra steps to ensure that you secure the best possible schedule for yourself.