Add-Drop Period: When changing your mind is just fine

November 1, 2023 College Life
College student laying on bench with a spiral bound book over their face, contemplating whether to add or drop a class.

College can feel like its own little universe. If you’re a first-year student, a parent of a student, or a prospective student, you might be wondering what to expect throughout the year. One of the first question marks you may confront on the college calendar is add-drop period — the period at the beginning of each semester when students can change the classes they registered for. Here are some tips for navigating this opportunity.

  • Add before you drop. Not too thrilled about your 8 a.m. calculus class? Fine, but register for a class to replace it first, unless you’ve got enough credits without it. Otherwise, you may end up scrambling.
  • Seek advice. Always talk to your advisor before dropping a class you need for your major (or the major you’re considering). Some classes don’t run every semester. It may also be a good idea to chat with the professor of the class you’re dropping. They might have some insights that could affect your decision.
  • Know when to walk away. Quitting a class that isn’t a good fit doesn’t make you a quitter. Keep your larger goals in mind. On the other hand, think twice before quitting a class just because it’s difficult. If you’re going to have to take it eventually, it might make sense to get it over with, depending on your workload and how sure you are about your major.
  • Get ready to sprint. If you’re adding a class that has already met a few times, it’s up to you to make up the work you missed.
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