Vaibhav Sharma, Photography Editor

After announcing a new course registration process for undergraduates that will require students to register for fall 2021 classes at the end of this current term, Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun shared updates to the early registration timeline.

In an April 1 email to undergraduates, Chun announced changes to the preliminary registration plans that were shared with students three weeks ago. The changes include an extended period of time to apply to many limited-enrollment classes, a streamlined way to apply to limited-enrollment courses through Yale Course Search and an additional week added for students to complete their early registration at the end of term. According to Chun, these changes were made in response to student feedback and as a way to simplify the registration process.

“Over the last several weeks, the YCC has solicited and presented student feedback on the original preregistration timeline to Dean Chun,” YCC Vice President Reilly Johnson ’22 wrote in an email to the News. “We believe that the primary student objection to the original timeline was the students would be participating in the important and time-consuming process of registering for classes during the semester, which is already busy and stressful. Many students proposed doing the preregistration process over the summer, instead, which is what Dean Chun’s updated preregistration system intends to do.”

As Johnson alluded to, the first major change made to the timeline is that the early registration deadline has been extended from its original date of May 28 to a new date of June 4 — more than two weeks after the end of finals period, as opposed to an original 11 days. Now, except for applying to limited-enrollment courses, students can wait until finals are over to participate in early registration for fall 2021 courses.

This change is complemented by an extension of the timeline to apply to limited-enrollment courses. While the original early registration timeline required students to apply to limited enrollment courses between April 6 and April 21, because of student feedback and the new capabilities of YCS — the software that previously allowed Yalies to browse courses and will now be enhanced to become a one-stop shop for course browsing and enrollment — students will now have until May 24 to sign up for “many” limited enrollment courses.

But many departments have stuck to the original timeline for pre-registration, including departments such as Political Science, Economics, English, many language courses and residential college seminars. Other departments including Global Affairs and Ethics, Politics, and Economics similarly plan to keep April pre-registration for some classes, according to emails from their department registrars to students in the majors. 

For classes that do not require an outside preregistration application, students need only add courses to their worksheet on YCS to sign up for most limited-enrollment courses, which previously required individual approval from professors, whether through application or email. And while some professors may ask for additional information such as relevant coursework, that information can also be shared through YCS, eliminating the need for students and faculty to email back and forth regarding a student’s enrollment status.

“I am hopeful that YCS, with its intuitive interface, will make the entire process simpler and more efficient for both students and faculty,” Chun wrote to the News. “The new features of YCS enable a more streamlined process that can happen after finals are over, easing the burden that students were reporting to me.”

In an interview with the News, Chun explained that it may take “a round or two for faculty and students to adjust” to the new registration system. However, Chun believes the community will see an improvement even after the first round. He said that trying to explain how the new YCS system works is like trying to explain how an iPhone works — it is hard to articulate, but once it is live on May 3, it should be intuitive and user-friendly.

According to Chun, some departments and individual faculty may keep their preregistration deadlines on April 21, as was previously announced. Students can view the courses that will use Preference Selection for preregistration and will maintain the April 21 deadline on the University Registrar’s Office Preference Selection webpage.

However, the University Registrar reminded students that not all courses with the earlier deadline will show up on that webpage.

“Some courses may not appear on the Preference Selection page because they use a paper form or other departmental [registration] system, and some courses may not run their application or Preference Selection processes until August,” reads an April 5 email to undergraduates from the University Registrar’s Office. “Check course descriptions and departmental websites for details about specific course enrollment procedures.”

After the April 21 deadline, the next deadline students should be aware of is May 3 — when YCS will officially launch and manage the rest of early registration until it closes for the summer on June 4. Registration will then reopen in August for students to continue shopping for classes prior to the fall 2021 semester. Incoming first-year students will also be able to register for classes at that point.

Chun emphasized that students will be provided with reminders for the three main deadlines — April 21 to apply for some courses during the departmental round of preregistration, May 24 to register for most other courses with limited enrollment by adding them to YCS and June 4 to add all other courses, including limited-enrollment classes that still have open spots, to YCS before the system closes for the summer.

Johnson told the News that although she views these changes as “a step in the right direction,” if professors do not elect to have all of their preregistration processes after finals end and instead opt to hold them during the semester, this update to the early registration process “will not meaningfully reduce student stress.”

“We are continuing to encourage Dean Chun and professors to limit the student contributions necessary to apply for courses and to use the later deadline in order to further the standardization, simplification, and stress mitigation that the new May timeline could bring,” Johnson wrote to the News.

Similarly, YCC Academics Policy Director Saket Malhotra ’23 told the News that he appreciates the extended timeline for students to register for courses and hopes that having time past finals will allow students to better prepare their schedules while also having the option to consult with deans and advisers. However, Malhotra stated that he is disappointed that some of the departmental preregistration deadlines have not changed.

Finals period for the spring 2021 term ends on May 19.

Julia Bialek |

Julia Bialek currently serves as a public editor for the Yale Daily News. Previously, she covered the student policy & affairs beat as a reporter on the university desk. Originally from Chappaqua, New York, Julia is a junior in Saybrook College studying political science and history.