September 15, 2020

Students can benefit from longer drop/add periods

By Catherine Brown–

The drop/add period for classes only lasts from the first day of the fall semester to the last weekday of that same week. University of Louisville administration should extend this period for students.

This period is too short for students. With such a short time to get to know classes, it can be difficult to know whether a professor is right for the student’s learning needs. Students also have to determine whether the class is even necessary in the first place.

With only a week to drop or add classes, students might not get a full view into how the class is run and how their professor can help them. If given more time, students can actually meet the professor. This way, they can determine if the professor will be accommodating and understanding of each student’s needs. 

Students would also have the opportunity to understand the workload. Many professors have outlined the class schedule in their syllabus. Students, particularly those in general education courses, can benefit from knowing the expectations for the course and deciding if they should swap out. 

For freshmen, this can help to ease them into the college course load.

With only a week to drop or add classes, it’s impossible to judge the class fairly. For a class that meets twice a week for 50 minutes, the total meeting time in that first week would be less than two hours. A class that costs $500 per credit hours and can impact GPA only meets for less than two hours and we’re supposed to determine whether we want to stay in it. Most professors seem to only review the syllabus during the first week, anyway.

After the first week, U of L refunds 0% of course fees.

Sometimes, the time of the class doesn’t fit with the student’s schedule. It’s not fair to punish students who can’t fit a particular class into their schedule. We’re busy with sports, clubs, jobs, religious groups, and our social lives that we already have to plan into our schedules. 

Sure, we sign up for classes in spring/summer. But we can’t guarantee that the classes we signed up for 5 months prior to the start of the semester are the same ones we’re going to stay in. Some students change or add majors and minors. Many join new on-campus or off-campus groups. Others need fewer credit hours.

For students who have to drop a class after this deadline, U of L assigns them with a ‘W’ meaning the student withdrew from the course.

Having one or two ‘W’s on a transcript doesn’t impact a student’s academic record very much and ‘W’s don’t affect GPA. However, if continuous withdraws pile on, it can look bad to future employers or graduate schools. If U of L were to extend the drop/add period even a week more, students could avoid this problem entirely.

The administration needs to take students into account when considering how to help them transition into the new year.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

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