Academics may not be your first priority during syllabus week, but it’s the best time to take a second look at the classes you picked back in March.
Students prepare extensively for class registration but typically end up making last-minute adjustments when it doesn’t go as planned. The first week is your time to figure out what you really signed up for during a split-second, 7 a.m. decision at registration.
If you’re still hoping to get off the waitlist for that dream class, or realize on the first day that you’re going to dread attending class every week, then here’s some tips to save your schedule.
Wait it out
Whether it’s a course you need to graduate or an elective you’ve been dying to take, there was likely at least one class you couldn’t register for this semester. If you’re still on the waitlist, take a chance and stick around for the first two weeks. Most students change around their schedules up until the end of the second week of classes when the add/drop period ends, so you might just score a spot.
Go straight to the source
Another way to slip into a class you need is by emailing the professor. Occasionally professors manually add students to their courses, even if they’ve reached the maximum enrollment online, as long as the classroom is large enough. Introduce yourself and ask to sit in on one of the first classes. Showing determination and initiative could bolster your chances of getting in.
Run like the wind
Even after checking Rate My Professor and asking former students for opinions, the first day might still scare you away. Those few days are a trial run and it’s perfectly fine to switch out of a class and into a new one. Asking questions on the first day can inform you more than a syllabus can, and doing so will give you an idea of a professor’s personality. It’s best to figure out after the first week if you need to run like the wind before it’s too late.
Avoid getting stuck after a swap
Once you’ve decided you want out, be sure you have another class lined up so you don’t end up without a replacement. Ending up with fewer credits than you intended to take could leave you with a larger problem down the road. If you can’t find a replacement that covers your major, minor or school requirements, consider taking a class strictly for fun. It’ll count toward graduation and, as long as you don’t add too many of those, it won’t derail your four-year plan.
Don’t sneak in
If you switch into a class late and missed the first day, email the professor after you switch to let them know you’ve transferred into the class. They can catch you up on anything you may have missed so you don’t walk into a surprise quiz or assignment being collected. This is especially true for classes that keep attendance grades. Save the emails as receipts for when your professor forgets that you switched in and gives you a low grade for participation. Blackboard may not be updated immediately, leaving you without the materials other students have, so ask for a syllabus in the meantime.