Harvard College will proceed with a plan of early registration for classes, the Harvard Crimson reported Thursday.

Under the new plan, Harvard students will still have a shopping period but they will need to complete study cards at the end of the preceding semester.

Harvard Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences William Kirby confirmed the preregistration plan at a meeting of the Committee on Undergraduate Education, or CUE. The goal is to have the preregistration system set up by fall 2003, so that students can register early for courses in spring 2004.

The preregistration system will probably have a trial period of at least three years, Dean of Undergraduate Education Benedict Gross said at the CUE meeting.

Jeffrey Wolcowitz, Harvard’s associate dean of undergraduate education, told the Crimson that preregistration would improve advising and course planning, including hiring teaching fellows, ordering course materials and deciding classroom size.

The Crimson reported that some members of the CUE were not convinced that the plan would improve issues of weak advising and unpredictable class sizes. The faculty will also need to make decisions earlier about new courses, course syllabi and leaves of absence.

Wolcowitz told the Crimson that other colleges used preregistration successfully to predict class sizes.

The meeting also focused on Harvard’s recently announced curricular review. Kirby called the preregistration change a “much smaller” issue.

–Martha Fulford