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Add, Drop, or Stay Put?

Advice on changing classes

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Students can add or drop a class on the WebReg program, found on the Student Link.

Daniel Conroy had always wanted to learn Russian. He registered to take it freshman year, but when he realized how much work was involved, he dropped the class. One year later, Conroy (CAS’13) says he’s glad he did. The workload of that one class could have resulted in dragging down his grade point average.

Classes started just last week, and many students are now trying to answer the first big question they face in every class: Should I stay or should I go? In fact, the question is trickier than it seems.

University registrar Florence Bergeron recommends that before adding or dropping, students attend at least the first class and review the syllabus. “They should go a few times if possible,” says Bergeron. “And they should talk to the professor. If you thought the course was about one thing, and it looks as if it’s going to be about something else, go talk to the instructor for more information.”

She also suggests that students talk to their advisor about the pros and cons of adding or dropping. Advisors can keep students on track about requirements for majors and minors.

Students can find deadlines for adding, dropping, and changing classes at the Registrar’s website and can adjust their schedules either on the Student Link’s WebReg program or by using an Add/Drop form. Requirements vary by school and college.

The deadline to add most classes is Thursday, September 16. To do this, students must logon to the Student Link’s WebReg program to see which classes still have open spots. Students are allowed a limited number of credits per semester, depending on their school or college, so, again, should check with their advisor.

Those who have made a decision to drop a course need to act promptly and should consider adding a class before dropping one to ensure keeping a full course load. It’s also wise to remember that many classes are required or are prerequisites for other classes. Falling below 12 credits can affect full-time status and financial aid. The last day to drop a class without a grade of W (Withdrawn) is Thursday, October 7.

Withdrawing from a class leaves a W on a student’s transcript. But while such Ws are permanent, they are relatively painless. Unlike Fs, they are not factored into a GPA. The last day to drop a class with a W is Friday, November 5.

Jessica Schaffel (SED’12), who has added and dropped several classes, recommends acting sooner rather than later. “If you think the class isn’t right for you, talk to your advisor,” she says. “It’s important to drop in the beginning of the semester so you can add another class.”

Finally, recent alum Lisa Rocco (SED’10) offers this advice: “I wouldn’t recommend dropping a class for a ‘better schedule.’ If you try, you really can make it through that 8 a.m.”

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @amlaskow.

Have advice on adding, dropping, or staying put? Leave it in the comments section below.

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