Students weigh in on add/drop periodBy Aaron Bonner | 01/16/2017 6:50pm
Each semester, students and professors alike struggle with the current add / drop system on myBama. CW / Peyton Shepard
The start of the spring semester brings its own challenges, but few are quite as stressful for students as the registration period to add and drop classes.
Currently, UA allows students to add or drop a course within seven days of classes starting without receiving a withdrawn status on their transcript. The add/drop period can cause minor issues for professors, said Maya Champion, a professor and advisor within the journalism and creative media department.
“[Late registration students] miss a lot of assignments,” Champion said. “I do allow them to catch up because that’s not really their fault, but I started thinking about it after my first experience with that, and I’ve kind of rearranged my syllabus so that things aren’t due within those first few weeks.”
As an advisor, however, her email inbox piles up with questions from students asking about class changes.
“It is extremely hectic,” Champion said. “Students are just figuring out if they like a class or not, so they’re dropping and then wanting to find something else, or they’re graduating. Maybe they don’t realize they needed a class and they’ve got to add it. It’s also difficult for them too because if they add it, they’ve missed some things and I think leads to some frustrations.”
Erin Callahan, a freshman majoring in psychology, dropped a Spanish course her first semester, but said the process was unclear. After transferring to a new class, she encountered more issues before finally settling in.
“I switched to Latin, so I actually didn’t even know my professor’s name because she didn’t introduce herself to me ever,” Callahan said. “I had to order a book online because the SupeStore was out of the book so then I was even more behind because I didn’t have a book to do the work that I had missed. Some of it had been assigned just in class and it wasn’t online so it was really hard to get caught up, even though I had only missed three classes.”
Andrea Pye, a freshman majoring in nursing, said she felt the add/drop registration period should be longer to allow students more time to determine if a class was right for them.
“I feel like it takes more than a week to get the professor’s teaching style and what the class is actually about,” Pye said. “In the first two or three classes, you don’t really get into what it’s really about, so I feel like it should be extended to get a better feel for everything.”
After the seven day period has passed, students have until March 29 to drop a course with a W being written on their transcript alongside the course. However, the withdrawn status comes with weight attached. James Cover, a professor in the economics department, said in the past, other professors have told him that they’ve graded essays and tests, only to have students drop when the grades come back less than desirable.
“I really do think that there’s some academic problems with allowing people to excel in the class and get a W,” Cover said. “The question is, what do you do about it?”
Students should understand the risks involved in dropping a class and attempt to reach out to an advisor to discuss their options, Cover said. Despite this, Callahan said that while an advisor helped her transfer into her Latin class, it didn’t feel like enough.
“I wish there would be more information about it, just because I had no idea what I was doing so I panicked and emailed my advisor,” Callahan said. “You can just drop something, but it just freaked me out because there’s just a drop button even though no one told me what would happen if I dropped it.”