UC Berkeley aims to enroll students on waitlists with updated add/drop deadline

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Ariel Hayat/File

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With the newly shortened undergraduate add/drop deadline approaching, students have two days to finalize their schedules, reflecting the first policy change of its kind the campus has seen in 10 years.

The Council of Undergraduate Deans decided in spring to shorten the amount of time students have to add or drop classes by one week. The new deadline is Wednesday at 11:59 p.m., which is during the fourth week of classes.

Bob Jacobsen, dean of undergraduate studies at the College of Letters and Science, cited enrolling waitlisted students as motivation for implementing the new deadline. He added that the new deadline is an attempt to give students adequate time to decide on their schedules, while also allowing waitlisted students to fill available seats.

“In a campus that is so full, getting students off the waitlist is really important,” Jacobsen said. “We encourage students who are in classes they don’t want to drop them soon, so other students can get off the waitlist.”

The new deadline will also allow faculty members to organize classes and form study groups, especially in project-based courses, according to Jacobsen.

Campus has received mixed responses to the new policy, with many students expressing concern over the shortened amount of time they have to finalize their schedules.

Lydia Wang, academic division director of the ASUC Student Advocate’s Office, said in an email that though she thinks the new deadline is beneficial for professors, it does not provide students with adequate time to explore the classes they are enrolled in.

Many students use their first significant exam grade as a major factor when deciding whether or or not to drop a course, Wang said in an email. With the new deadline, however, professors may have to administer midterms earlier in the semester, or students may have to drop classes without knowing how they are performing in them, according to Wang.

“It may also cause some students to use their Late Action simply because they were unable or forgot to add, but especially drop, classes by the required deadline,” Wang said in an email.

Jacobsen said though the new deadline requires students to finalize their schedules earlier, it is beneficial for waitlisted students trying to enroll in classes. He added that students who miss the add/drop deadline can still take advantage of the pass/no pass grading option.

Campus junior Jessica Mar called the new deadline a “well-meaning but ineffective” change.

“With the earlier deadline, the issue is less that students do not have enough time to get a feel for the class, but rather that it is difficult to get schedules settled in such a short amount of time,” Mar said in an email.

Other students, however, expressed appreciation for the increased sense of urgency instilled by the new deadline.

“It gets things moving so people have an actual chance to understand what courses they are taking and get involved earlier,” campus senior Cristina Ghirardo said in an email.

Contact Amber Tang at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ambertang_dc.