For many students who aren’t lucky enough to get into all their desired classes during PreRegistration and Adjustment, Drop/Add may appear as a gladiator’s match. The arena is classrooms that are filled beyond capacity with desperate students who are fighting tooth and nail to make their way to the top of the waiting list. Though there are no wild animals or condemned criminals fighting to get into classes, many people can change in the second week of Drop/Add.
First-year students are probably most likely to be confused by the course selection process as they select their classes in the summer before they arrive on campus. Yet, email reminders from the University can make the process less complicated.
“I spent so much time stressing out and laboring over adjustment that when it got to Drop/Add, I don’t wanna deal with this again,” Jack Warren ’20 said.
Warren was one of the lucky first-years who understood how to Drop/Add to a certain extent, and entered the adjustment period with two classes. Yet, there have also been some cases where first-years who did not understand how the system worked, dropped all their classes and had to select new classes during Drop/Add.
But as frustrating as preregistration is, Drop/Add may leave some students feeling hopeless about getting into the classes they want. Aleyda Robles ’18 attempted to take Intro to Environmental Studies this semester, which has an 80-person waiting list, but decided not to for other reasons.
“I gave an example of an NS/M, but this is across the board,” Robles said. “Race and Medicine with [Assistant] Professor [of American Studies Megan] Glick is a really popular class. I think that we shouldn’t have to ask professors to teach more sections because they are already overworked, but we should be hiring more people.”
Generally speaking, it is easier for juniors and seniors to get into classes in comparison to freshmen and sophomores due to priority given after declaring majors.
“The algorithm works such that seniors get preference,” Asad Hassanali ’17 said. “I am a double major, so I get preference for my double major.”
Students in the sciences have a much easier time entering their major due to the large class sizes at the introductory level.
“It’s actually been easy all of the years because I think science classes are kinda easy to move around,” Will Speiser ’17 said. “English majors have more trouble than I do.”
English and Film Studies courses are very difficult to get into for freshmen and seniors alike, simply because there are not enough seats available.
AJ Abrams ’17, an English and Film major, explains the bind seniors find themselves in during their final year.
“It was kinda stressful because there were certain classes I needed to be in for my English and Film major, and I didn’t get in on my first go,” Abrams said. “All the people competing to get into the class were also seniors because this is a specific requirement that we need to get before we get to complete the major. So basically everyone that hadn’t done it yet was kinda fighting to take that class, and it really helps to take that requirement.”
Jessie Abdow ’17, a senior with experience dealing with the process, offers compelling advice to not just freshmen, but the entire student body.
“Just go to as many classes as possible in the beginning, because I have had moments when I was like, ‘Hmm, I don’t really like this class that much but I have been in it for only two weeks and I haven’t tried out any other classes,” she said. “So try to go to as many classes as you can the first two days of school, which is a bummer on those days but is better in the long run.”
Arnelle Williams ’17, who primarily takes classes in the social and natural sciences, also offered advice about when the right time to select the classes is.
“I think the natural sciences are easier to get into when it comes to introductory level courses,” Williams said. “But once they are past intro courses, it is an easier process getting into that class.”
While the process can be difficult to navigate, faculty members at the University are trained to encourage students to expand their horizons to take advantage of a liberal arts education, while motivating them to be cognizant of the direction in which they are going.
Class of 2019 Dean Jennifer Wood reminds us that the Drop/Add period is not an option at all colleges and that the flexibility it offers comes at the cost of a hectic first two weeks of classes.
“I think there is a great deal of opportunity in the three-part system, as many institutions only feature a one-part process, if you can imagine it, without very much flexibility,” Wood said. “I think students need to use pre-registration to their advantage in a very mindful and strategic way, ranking highly those courses that are essential to their path, as they see it, at Wesleyan. Adjustment also needs to be entered into with a full slate of refined options; neither of these should be done haphazardly.”
Perhaps no other department knows more about the intricacies of the course selection process than the Registrar’s office, which oversees student enrollment, course registration, academic history and transcript maintenance, services to faculty, the Honors program, and other related activities.
Senior Associate at the Registrar Paul Turenne suggests a reasonable goal for all students in the upcoming spring semester.
“Always remember that course registration consists of many phases and there is high fluidity with course enrollments, so there are many opportunities to find a great schedule,” Turenne wrote in an email to The Argus. “Ultimately, the goal is to have a great schedule after the first week of Drop/Add, not necessarily after scheduling, adjustment, or the first day of classes.”