Toia Conde Rodrigues da Cunha, Contributing Photographer

The Yale College Council academic policy team has proposed several policies to bring to the administration regarding course registration, advising and Credit/D/Fail reform.

The proposals span a variety of issues, but many seek to reform the current course registration process. Some key policies the YCC has put forward include expanding the permitted course load on Yale Course Search to 7.5 Credits from 5.5, improving academic advising for first years and extending the add/drop period.

Many students raised concerns not only with the course registration process but also with the advising system — both of which have remained a source of student ire in recent years. 

“There’s not a ton of guidance about course registration,” Irene Raich ’27 said. “Especially for [first years], no one tells you what you should do, and so I think it’s just super overwhelming.” 

In the past few years, the course registration process has undergone numerous reforms, including a recent add/drop period extension. This year, registration for the spring semester opens on Nov. 13 for the class of 2024, Nov. 14 for the class of 2025, Nov. 15 for the class of 2026 and Nov. 16 for the class of 2027. Organizing course registration by class year began last year. And prior to March 2021, Yale’s course registration took place during the weeks immediately preceding the semester — known as “shopping period” — but course registration now takes place a semester in advance. 

Echoing a similar sentiment to Raich, First-Year College Council representatives Carrie Lange ’27 and Paul Park ’27 both added that course registration for first years in particular was especially stressful this past fall because of its short timeline and a lack of University guidance. 

“I think Yale has the responsibility to support its students as much as possible,” Branford College Senator Birikti Kahsai ’27 said. “ It can be very stressful being in this environment. It’s very hard to navigate Yale, and so far, with the support that’s being offered, there’s a lot of room for improvement.”

In addition to course registration, students also expressed frustration with the lack of academic support through advising, particularly first-year advising, which has often been a source of discontent. First-year advisors are assigned through residential colleges and do not always match students’ academic interests. 

Raich and Kaylee Pierre ’27 both mentioned the need for more structured academic advising for freshmen — particularly the creation of more formal advising structures or more useful advising groups based on students’ intended majors and academic interests. 

“Academic advising could be great if, one, we had more time during add/drop to explore classes and, two, if we were able to choose our academic advisors,” Pierre said. “Because my advisor is not really tailored toward my interests, it’s not always the most helpful.”

Kyle Thomas Ramos ’26, the policy director of the academic policy team of the YCC, emphasized the need for greater flexibility in both the course registration process by extending add/drop period and allowing students to shop more classes on their course registration worksheet and throughout the semester by amending the Credit/D/Fail policy. 

Ramos was a lead on the proposals to extend the registration window for the class of 2027 in the fall and is a lead on a current proposal to expand the permitted course load on Yale Course Search. Although both of these proposals were approved unanimously by the Senate, he said that the former could not be implemented due to time constraints and implementation of the latter is in the discussion stage.

The YCC is currently working on an add/drop extension proposal, which has yet to be voted on by the senate, per their policy tracker. The current add/drop period lasts around eight days and takes place before the start of classes.

Lange also expressed an interest in the extended add/drop period. Pierre had a similar view about the course preference selection period this semester. The period ran from Wednesday, Nov. 1 to Friday, Nov. 3, compared to the six-day preference selection period over the summer, which ran from Aug. 8 to Aug. 14.  

He added that the proposal to expand the number of permitted credits on a student’s registration worksheet would enable students to shop more classes and explore their options before settling on a final schedule. 

Similarly, he said that allowing retroactive Credit/D/Fail, another current proposal approved by the YCC Senate, would better foster academic exploration compared to the current system. 

The YCC has long worked to reform the Credit/D/Fail policy. The current policy allows students to Credit/D/Fail classes until 5 p.m. on the last day of classes.

When asked about potential reforms presented previously by the YCC, Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis expressed concern that retroactive Credit/D/Fail would lead to students putting little effort into their coursework. 

“The proposal would allow an individual to see their final grade before deciding whether or not they’d like to Credit/D/Fail it because we realized that a lot of students, right before a final, will choose to Credit/D/Fail because they’re afraid of possibly not doing well on the final exam,” Ramos said. “We don’t think that credit to fail should be turned into essentially some sort of academic game.”

Although no policy changes have been made to course registration, Ramos underscored the importance of students making their voices heard by the YCC so their perspectives can be reflected in the policies the YCC develops. 

Whether students exercise their views by taking the YCC’s Fall Survey or by reaching out to individuals on the YCC, he emphasized the importance of cultivating a greater connection between the student body and the YCC.

“No big changes to report about registration, which is unchanged this semester,” Senior Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives and Communications Paul McKinley wrote in a statement to the News. “We want to let the current process settle before making any adjustments, although the goal is to fine-tune it so that it runs smoothly.” 

In addition to the YCC’s current proposals to reform course registration, they are also discussing the addition of certificates for Economics, Directed Studies, Geography and American Sign Language.

The YCC’s policy tracker can be accessed here.

Kenisha Mahajan covers Cops & Courts for the City desk. She is a first-year in Benjamin Franklin College from Queens, New York majoring in ethics, politics and economics.