Throwback Post: Deciding Whether to Add or Drop Courses

Hi everyone! I still haven’t started fall semester yet so here’s some advice to tide you over!

[The following post first appeared on Monty’s Mayhem (Blogspot) on Feb. 1, 2014]

Hey, all!

Sorry for being MIA for the past couple weeks. School just started back and I’ve been desperately trying to get my schedule under control.

In college, there’s pre-registration where you select classes you think you’re interested in and pre-register for them, but sometimes if they’re over enrolled or you didn’t reach the pre-requisites, you get dropped from them.

Such was the class with me this year. I pre-registered for a foreign language at another school and was dropped (it was over enrolled), and therefore spent last week and the week before scrambling for a fourth course.

The week(s) that classes begin is called Add/Drop (aka Shopping Week, a horrible misnomer), meaning that you can go to various courses, ones you’re not even pre-registered for, and see how you like them. For the classes that you’re pre-registered for but don’t like, you can drop these courses, and then add a new one that you do like. Add/Drop was particularly difficult this year, since for some reason, tons of classes were over enrolled, and professors liked to inform us that if you didn’t go to first class, you definitely weren’t getting a spot (well, professors, I’d like to point out that there are a lot of classes that meet at the same time as yours, and if I don’t like your class, I’m wasting my time).

Well, Add/Drop is finally over, and while I sit in the dark and cope with my decisions (an eight-thirty class Monday through Thursday), here are some tips to help you decide when to add or drop a class (you may want to bookmark this post for future reference).

  • Add classes that you know you can get into (no cap/cap is not filled) and are interesting to you!
  • Drop classes that are led by crazies (this includes the Astronomy class I was pre-registered for, in which the professor had no office hours and repeated the phrase “I don’t care” with a non-joking demeanor more times within that hour than a sullen teenager has in their life).
  • Add classes that are required for your major that you have the pre-requisites for. (You’re going to have to take them sometime, right?)
  • Drop classes that seem way too difficult/time-consuming (ex. the aforementioned “intro” Astronomy class in which, the professor said we would be learning basic physics, math, and chemistry as well as getting quizzed on them everyday without a calculator…I’m an English major, for crying out loud!)
  • Add classes if you like the professor’s teaching style and know that they’re available outside of class

(*Bonus Tip* If I need to find one more spot, before classes start, I look through the course catalog and look at courses I find interesting, I then email the professor of that course, asking for more information about the class, the typical workload, and whether someone with a “heavy course load” or “little to none prior coursework in that department” would do well in the course. Not only do you get first-hand, honest info from the professor, you also look at fast they reply, how much information they give, and their tone. It’s a big indicator of contact will be like if you take their course.)

Drop classes that will give you unnecessary stress. This means if you know you’re going to have a quiz everyday and you have testing anxiety, if this course is not required, find a new one. If you know you have work in the afternoons, don’t pack in classes every other day of the week. Find a balance–you’re going to need time to relax and study. Scheduling is very important.

Basic Tips on How to Pick the right classes for you include:

  • Knowing what the requirements for your major are. Depending on how many courses you need, you may take two to three courses within that department every semester.
  • See how classes would look in a schedule. Do you have time to study? To sleep? To party? What about extracurriculars? Be realistic.
  • Email prospective professors. Be polite, make sure you’ve researched their course and them (ratemyprofessor.com–take every review with a grain of salt) thoroughly before reaching out. Also, remember that some professors will be very blunt or sometimes rude. If you don’t like that, don’t take their class. Remember to thank all professors after they’ve gotten back to you, especially the rude ones; they’ve actually done you a favor.
  • Meet with your adviser. Whether they’re within your major department or not, they are a worthy resource to have since they may actually work with some of the professors you’re considering shopping and can give you the inside scoop. Plus, they tend to know to your personality, and can appropriately advise you on which courses would be best for your schedule, skills, and mental stability.
  • During Add/Drop, shop prospective classes, even if you think you’re in love with your current course load. Pay careful attention to how the course is set up, the requirements and books needed in the syllabus, and the typical homework assignments.
  • Don’t forget to shop the classes you’re registered for! Just in case, you don’t get in to a class you wanted to, always have a backup.

After all that, I can only say good luck! Also, if you do get stuck in a course you don’t want to be in, find some benefits to the course like there are no tests or you only have to buy one book, etc. Or that a semester goes a lot quicker than you’d think…hopefully.

Book of the Week: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (don’t let the title fool you, it’s actually a really fantastic book. Seriously, it’s in my top three. You read my review on it here)

[InsertCleverPhraseHere],

Ash M. Monty

[Imported from http://www.montysmayhem.blogspot.com ]

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