Spring 2023 course registration to have longer add/drop, staggered by class year
In an email sent to the student body on Monday, the timeline for course registration for Spring 2023 was announced and includes a lengthened add/drop period which starts the week before classes start in January.
Yasmine Halmane, Photo Editor
Yale College is once again changing its course registration timeline.
Registration will also now be staggered by class year, with seniors gaining access first on Nov. 14.
Add/drop period, meanwhile, will be lengthened to include one week before the start of classes in addition to the first week of classes.
The changes were made with the aim of a smoother start to the semester, Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis said, while also preserving some flexibility. Students still have one week of classes to finalize their schedules, but the additional week to make changes before the beginning of the semester should make class rosters more manageable, he added.
“When students show up on the first day, we have more accurate rosters and hopefully we’re able to better deal with waiting lists,” Lewis said.
The changes, announced to the student body on Monday, are the latest iteration of the College’s yearslong effort to retool registration. Shopping period, once a hallmark of the College’s academic strategy, was eliminated in favor of early registration in the prior semester and a shorter and more controlled add/drop period.
Last year’s spring course registration also took place in two phases. The first phase — known as early registration — began on Nov. 18 for all students and closed on Dec. 15. The second phase — add/drop period – lasted from Jan. 19 until Jan. 31, delayed from the initial schedule to the delay of the start to classes last spring.
Lewis told the News that the changes were made after consulting with the Yale College Council, the residential college deans and the Committee on Teaching, Learning and Advising. He added that the staggered start is designed to help seniors get into classes they may need to graduate and to put “less strain” on the system.
Yale College Council Academic Director Ted Shepherd ’25 wrote to the News that the YCC Academics Team composed a pre-registration report that identified problems with the previous registration system and suggested solutions which incorporated student input. Shepherd also added that the YCC supported the change to a staggered registration schedule and “largely supported” the proposed dates and deadlines and advocated for the two-week add/drop period.
Yet, Shepherd explained the YCC is still advocating for other changes regarding registration.
“Owing to widespread discontent with the complexity of the registration process, we are pushing for a streamlining of the different pre-registration periods, preference selection sites, and major-specific registration systems, and a concurrent centralization of online registration resources,” Shepherd wrote in an email to the News, “These changes address the unnecessary complexity that we believe besets the current registration process and leaves many in a state of bewilderment.”
Satia Hatami ’25 wrote to the News that while she appreciates that the staggered registration gives seniors priority to take the classes they need or want to take, she finds that the need to do this is indicative of a larger problem.
“The fact that Yale needs to do this in the first place seems like a warning sign that [the student body is] getting too big since, for the most part, only large schools have to stagger registration dates to ensure upper level students can enroll in their desire[d] classes,” Hatami told the News.
Other students were also appreciative of the staggered start to registration, but expressed concern over how it may limit the abilities of non-seniors to take certain classes .
“Speaking from experience last semester, I wasn’t one of the people to start registering earlier, and because of that I feel like I lost out on a lot of classes I need for my major to underclassmen and people not in the major,” Shen-vey Lai ’24 told the News, “ I feel like this new system is a lot more fair.”
However, Lai also expressed concern that popular classes might end up being filled by upperclassmen, preventing underclassmen from taking them, a “concerning” possibility.
Nati Tesfaye ’26 wrote to the News that the staggered start, while it is “understandable, may end up limiting the flexibility to take certain classes,” and he added he may not be able to take certain courses as a first-year student.
Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences Tamar Szabó Gendler wrote to the News that the lengthened add/drop period, which is the other major change in addition to the staggered start, is designed to give students a “clearer advance sense” of their spring schedules and give faculty a “better sense of the level of student interest” in their courses.
Finalizing schedules by the first week of classes is “desirable,” Lewis said.
An email sent to faculty on Oct. 12 confirmed that the deadline for faculty to post their expanded course descriptions in Canvas is Oct. 31, and that preference selection for Yale College students will open on Nov. 1 and close on Nov. 4. Gendler wrote to the News that this schedule is “fairly similar” to the schedule for course descriptions last year.
The spring semester’s add/drop period lasts from Jan. 9 to Jan. 23, and the first day of spring classes is on Jan. 17.