Empowering students: the need for an extended add/drop deadline

Students deserve more time to make decisions about their courses and financial situations

For university students, juggling deadlines is nothing new. Yet there are some deadlines — like the add/drop deadline — that should not be a hassle. Adding or dropping courses can have big implications for our course credits and finances. Because of that, we should have a sufficient amount of time to consider these choices. As of right now, we don’t. The add/drop deadline for the fall and winter terms should be extended, so that students can worry a little less about yet another thing on their plate.

Currently, the add/drop deadline for the winter 2024 term is January 19. With the first day of classes being January 8, students only have 11 days to decide whether or not they want to drop a class. This quick turnaround can make it difficult for students to plan accordingly in terms of credits, course requirements, and financial planning. 

The deadline should be pushed to the same day as tuition payments are due: January 31. This would allow students enough time to adequately consider these decisions, and their consequences. Everything would land on the same day. We wouldn’t have to worry about planning for multiple crucial dates — it would be one and done. 

Some courses only happen twice, or even once, a week. That means that for some courses, you might only attend one or two classes before the add/drop deadline. At the most, you would attend six. This is still not that many, especially if you account for the first day typically being syllabus day. Students cannot get an adequate feel for the course content, or the instructor, in six days or less.

Additionally, the list of available spring courses is usually released in February, after the deadline has passed. This means that if students are thinking about swapping a winter course for one in the spring, they won’t know if that course, or something similar, will even be available until after the add/drop deadline. 

Because of this, students cannot plan their winter or spring semesters accordingly. Additionally, this makes it difficult for those students who need specific courses, such as upper level classes. If they don’t have much time to look for alternatives, or cannot plan accordingly for the spring semester, they are left in limbo. In the fall semester, we have the ability to plan for the winter semester, since these courses are released at the same time. However, having only 11 days to make a decision regarding courses for two semesters is not enough time. This could leave students in the lurch, forcing them to make a rushed decision. 

On top of potentially making planning complex, a short turnaround could complicate students’ financial situations. Students that receive grant money toward their tuition have to consider the courses they choose wisely. In most cases, grant money can only be given to students who are enrolled full-time. 

Yet, if their status changes to part-time, this money will turn into a loan. This could be detrimental to students who aren’t as financially flexible. With so little time to switch courses around, this may pose a problem to students that might not get into certain courses in time for the add/drop deadline. 

Allowing people more time to add or drop classes can benefit many when it comes to loans and grants. This is especially important during the current cost of living crisis — where there is little room for students to make adjustments to their funds.  

Students should not have to make decisions about their courses in a time crunch. They should be given a sufficient amount of time — longer than 11 days — to change their schedule without the stress of a fast-approaching deadline. By extending the winter add/drop deadline, students can have more time to make decisions that suit their degree requirements and financial needs. 

We value our time. The university should too.

Brooklyn Hollinger

Brooklyn is the 2024-25 Arts & Culture Editor at The Gateway. She previously served as the 2023-24 Deputy Opinion Editor. She is a Classics major and Creative Writing minor. She is a lover of fantasy books, peach iced tea, and can usually be found obsessing over pictures of her dog Zoey.

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