Add/Drop: if you’re like me, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for all summer. The chance to finally snag a couple of classes that you’ve been dying to take. Waiting for those discouraged few to web drop that 400-level seminar because it’s intimidating and it makes them feel dumb. You want that class; you like to feel dumb.
It’s hard coming back to school without really knowing what your schedule is going to be like. All of your friends had their scheduling issues settled months ago, but you’re locked out of classes you need for your major. Registration can be sickeningly difficult, even if you have priority standing. I have so many credits that I get alumni emails and I’m still finding that the classes I need are inaccessible to me for one reason or another. Since switching my major from biochemistry to business administration last year, I’ve been stuck in a bureaucratic hell of closed-course petitions, wait-lists and button-mashing CTRL+R on BU Brain. It hasn’t felt much like an education, but rather a cutthroat, broken system that plays out like Russian roulette, adding stress and uncertainty to what is otherwise the easiest week of the year.
This isn’t to say that there is no hope. Now that advising is open, you can finally stand in line for a few hours in hopes of having a professional tell you that you’re out of luck. It’s not that they won’t help you, they’re just working with barely fewer restrictions than you are. If you’re one of the lucky ones, they’ll screw up your paperwork so badly that they’ll give you everything that you need out of pity. Can they be helpful? Yes. Should you expect miracles? No. Success at getting the classes you want is heavily reliant on how much effort you’re willing to put into it.
As someone who has played this game before, I’ve found that you should attend the classes you’d like to enroll in. Send an email to the professor explaining your situation and try to snag a copy of the syllabus. That way, if you do wind up in the class, you’re not hit with any surprises. Plus, you know that at least one person is probably going to drop the class, so make yourself known and, hopefully, pick up their spot.
For those looking to overload their schedule, Add/Drop gets even hairier. If you have over a 3.30 GPA in Harpur College, you’re automatically eligible to overload starting September 4 — the requirements are different among the schools. Any lower than that, and you’ll have to submit a petition to advising. This means that you can’t join a class until week two at the earliest, so attending those lectures as a guest will definitely be in your best interest.
What makes Add/Drop such a stressful time is that it has consequences not only for the rest of your semester, but the rest of your college career. I’m a senior with two majors and a minor. I don’t have any more time left for fun “filler” classes. To graduate by May, I’m looking at two more 22-credit semesters which must be scheduled so ideally and tightly that, provided I pull this off, they might actually be living proof of intelligent design.
This time is stressful and requires heart. Be patient, yet tactful. Freaking out will get you nowhere. Now is the time you need to be putting in the effort. Checking BU Brain can be tedious for sure, but it’s one of the only things you can do to try to fix your schedule before the registration window closes again. Remember, the more you check, the better your chances are. Also, try not to be picky. You’ll be wishing you sat through those classes at 8:30 a.m. while you watch your friends receive their diplomas without you. You might not get the perfect schedule, but if you get one that works, it’s a success.