To drop or not to drop?

By Anne Dudley

It’s time to come back to school! Time to see friends you’ve missed over winter break and get settled back into your dorm or apartment. Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is finally over you can settle down into a new semester. Right?!

Wrong! (for some of us at least!) Now is also the time figure out where your classes are, how to get there on time, read the syllabus, test out the new schedule, and maybe, reconsider a few courses. All in one week!

Adding and Dropping can be a frantic practice. First, let’s talk about adding. If you decide to add a class mid-week of the first week of classes, you may have already missed the first class. So, you may feel a little behind when you show up on day 2 or 3.  Be sure to communicate with professors, advisors, etc. when adding classes.

And dropping. Have you ever had that eerie gut feeling on the first day of a class that this just isn’t going to be good? The room is packed and hot and the list of readings, assignments, projects, tests, etc. are just a little more than you think you can handle? Yeah. Who says this is the easiest week of the semester?!

What to do:

Breathe. This is a hectic time of the year. Why? Because you need to settle into your schedule. How? By calmly getting through the Add/Drop period.

Before you drop a course consider why you chose to take it. What does it fulfill for your graduation requirements? What will you need to do to make up for it? Do you need to be full-time (12 credits) for financial aid? Consider how much time you have until you expect to graduate. Can you be sure that putting this class off until next semester is OK? Will it be offered again and can you replace it now? Check out Nicole’s tips on scheduling.

Remind yourself that you have time. Exactly 3.75 months = 15 weeks = 105 days = 2,520 hours to complete everything on the syllabus. As much as it feels like the three 10-page papers are flying at lightning speed towards your face, they aren’t. So chill.


Know how much time you have to decide. The Registrar’s website lists all the dates for Adding/Dropping – Jan. 23, 2010 is the last day to drop a full-term class without getting a ‘W’ on your transcript. The website also tells you how to find the add/drop/withdrawal deadlines for a class that starts later than week 1 or ends before finals week.

Talk to an advisor. Drop in advising is available in CCI all day every day during the first week of classes and every Wednesday of the semester from 9-11:30 and 1:30-4. Drop an e-mail, make a phone call or stop by the office in person  to ask questions about advising. Or just click here. While we’re on the topic, remember to schedule an advising appointment ASAP. We all know how the semester flies by, so get on it!

Visit your instructors. Academic advising is not a substitute for visiting your instructors. Find office hours on your syllabi and make a commitment to visiting each of your instructors at least once before the end of January. Not sure what to say? You can start with this: introduce yourself, mention why you’re taking the class, and talk about your strategy for succeeding in the class. You’ll be surprised how much this will help you do well in the class!

Remember, this first week of classes really can be stressful! Take time to really think about your schedule, semester goals, and make a plan to fulfill them. Be smart about your schedule; let yourself settle in, and it’ll be smooth sailing from then on.

Anne Dudley is a master’s student in public relations and a graduate assistant in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication and Information.

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