Even as Yale undergraduates slog through their end-of-term coursework, the spring semester is already rearing its head with the first stages of spring-term bluebooking, preregistration deadlines and applications for next semester’s courses.
With less than two weeks of class left in the current semester, many Yale students must juggle both the work of this semester and the planning of the next. The process of sifting through Yale’s extensive course catalog, or Blue Book, starts early for many students interviewed, as they must maneuver through various preregistration deadlines, lotteries and applications to be able to draw up schedules.
For example, the Political Science Department offers preregistration for all its seminars — an option restricted to declared political science majors — as early as the second week of November, with allotments announced in mid-December. However, according to political science major Peter Rothpletz ’19, most students in the major do not preregister in this way unless they have a specific course preference.
Creative writing and journalism classes in the English Department have a similar timeline with applications due the first week of December. Applications for these classes usually include a statement of purpose, an informational form and a writing sample.
“I have a good idea of what the application requires and started gathering the necessities over Thanksgiving break,” said Alex Lance ’20, who hopes to take either the workshop “Writing about Oneself” or the course “Advanced Poetry Writing.”
As some scramble through deadlines and scheduling, students in STEM fields feel there is little reason to worry about spring courses at this point in the semester. STEM students interviewed said there was no need for science majors to plan schedules this far ahead for the spring due to the nature of STEM course paths. Because spring semester courses are largely populated by students who took fall courses and retained interest in the subject, many science courses that require preregistration in the fall do not require preregistration in the spring.
Still, some students outside STEM fields are not worried about the upcoming semester because, like Alan Chiang ’20, none of the classes they plan to take require preregistration.
Not only are these students at greater ease because they do not have to preregister or apply for any classes, many have also decided what courses they want to take in the spring. Out of 30 freshmen surveyed, all of them said they had a vague idea of what courses they plan to take next semester. Still, 10 of these 30 students stated they had not started bluebooking.
“I am focused almost entirely on current class work. Bluebooking is not really on my radar as it would probably overwhelm me, plus I have winter break to figure that out,” said Tom Battles ’20.
For upperclassmen, course selection is a slightly different process. Out of 20 upperclassmen surveyed, 17 said they had started bluebooking, and all of them said they had a concrete idea of what their spring-term classes are going to be.
“I haven’t started looking, but I also already know what I’m taking because I saw a class I wanted to take in the spring when I was shopping for fall courses, I have some major requirements for junior spring and I’m doing an independent study which is something you kind of have to arrange in advance,” Rebecca Young ’18 said.
Spring-term classes begin on Jan. 17, 2017.