WRITTEN BY JADE LIU
How waitlists are processed
A waitlist can be processed either automatically or manually. In the Online Schedule of Classes (OSOC), pull up a course to see what type of waitlist the course is using -- you can see this information by clicking on the link "click here for current enrollment information and course restrictions," just below the course enrollment limit. Note, however, that a department can change a waiting list from automatic to manual (or vice versa) at any time.
Automatic waiting lists are processed each weekend during Phases I and II and nightly from the start of the Adjustment Period through the end of the 3rd week of instruction. Students on automatic waiting lists are enrolled sequentially, provided there is space available.
Manual waiting lists are processed directly online by the instructor or department. Students are selectively chosen for enrollment, with enrollment criteria determined by the instructor or department. Note that the instructor or department may not necessarily adhere to the sequential order of students on the waiting list. Departments may enroll students from a manual waiting list beginning the first day of Phase I through the end of the 5th week of instruction. The $5 add fee is not charged to students added from a manual waiting list.
"Waitlist means wait"
Unfortunately, there is little (and in most cases nothing) your major advisor can do to get you into a class from a waitlist. Here are some strategies to increase your likelihood of getting into a course from the waitlist:
- If the course has a discussion section, put yourself on the waitlist for the section with the shortest waitlist. In order to be enrolled in the lecture class you must be enrolled in a discussion section -- once you are in the section, you are in the class. Example: If you are #72 on a lecture waitlist, but #1 on the discussion section waitlist, all it will take is for one student in your section to drop in order for you to be moved into the course.
- Attend the first class meeting, and every meeting thereafter, until you are enrolled in the course. Instructors may drop students from the course (and waitlist) who do not show up to class in the first two weeks of classes.
- For manual waitlists, find out from the instructor how the waitlist will be processed. In some cases, priority will be given to senior students, in other cases, to students who express a deep interest in the course.
- You are only enrolled in a course when your Tele-BEARS/Bearfacts schedule says you are enrolled. If a professor says that s/he will add you to a course, followup with him/her until you are actually enrolled in the course. Do not assume that just because a professor says that you are in the course that you are in fact enrolled.
- Enroll (don't waitlist) in a back-up course, and attend this course until you are enrolled in your waitlisted course. Once you are in your waitlisted course, it is safe to drop your back-up course.
Ever wonder why a course is showing available seats in OSOC, but when you try to add the course in Tele-BEARS you are automatically put on the waitlist? It's likely then that the department/instructor has set course restrictions on the course, meaning that seats have been reserved for certain student populations. To find out if a course you are interested in has enrollment restrictions, click on the link "click here for current enrollment information and course restrictions," just below the course enrollment limit in OSOC. Here are a few examples of course restrictions:
- "Instructor Approval; a Class Entry Code [CEC] is required to enroll in these seats" - CECs can be obtained from the instructor/department, and can be issued to students however the instructor/department wishes.
- "Students with a major of [Math]" - In this case, seats have been reserved for Math majors.
- "Students in the College of Natural Resources and Students with a class level of Freshman" - In this case, seats have been reserved for freshmen students in CNR.
- "Open seating" - These are seats set aside for students that do not fit into any of the other course restriction categories -- in many cases, this is the first category to fill up.
How likely is it that I will get into a course from waitlist?
The "10% Rule" is a good rule of thumb. Take 10% of the enrollment total -- if your waitlist position is within that number, you have a good shot of getting into the course. So for instance, if a class has 100 seats and you are one of the first 10 students on the waitlist, you have a fairly good chance of getting into the course. Remember, for courses with a discussion section it is required that you get into a section in order to be enrolled in the lecture. Therefore, the 10% Rule applies to your section, not to the overall lecture.
Since the 10% Rule is not a guarantee, it is always recommended that you sign up for a back-up course, just in case. Also, if you are no longer attending a waitlisted course, make sure to drop yourself from the waitlist in Tele-BEARS -- you don't want to wind-up in a course that you never attended and receive an "F" at the end of the semester.
What if I don't get into my waitlisted course(s)?
Given the popularity of many of our gateway courses (ie: math, sciences, languages, etc.), some students will have to consider other course options if they are not moved into a course from a waitlist. Here are some suggestions:
Freshmen/Sophomore students can enroll in outstanding required courses like Reading & Composition (R&C), American Cultures (AC), breadth (see your major requirements), DeCals, and/or non-major electives, as appropriate. After Phase I of telebears, it is unlikely that other math/science courses will be open, but it is worth checking their enrollments to see if there are available seats. Always check course prerequisites before signing up for a class -- you can check them out by clicking on "catalog description" next to the course title in OSOC.
Junior/Senior students should can enroll in any outstanding lower division requirements and/or an upper division major requirement that 1) you have met the course prerequisites for (you can check them out by clicking on "catalog description" next to the course title in OSOC), and 2) it makes sense with your schedule (consider current course load, balance, etc.).
When does my schedule have to be finalized?
The college requires that students are enrolled in a minimum of 13 units each semester, unless you are approved for an exception. CNR and financial aid require that you finalize your schedule by the end of the 5th week of classes.
A few last thoughts
Sign-up for more units than you intend to keep. This will allow you to enroll in back-up courses for courses that you are currently waitlisted for, and these extra units will also act as a safety net in case you need to drop a course. Whatever you do, make sure that you drop courses that you are not attending and do not plan to complete no later than the end of the 5th week. Be courteous to your fellow classmates and do not hold onto courses you are enrolled in that you know you will eventually drop. Waitlists are stressful enough, so the sooner people settle on their schedules, the happier everyone will be. Good luck this semester, and despite the headache that enrolling in classes can be, take a moment to enjoy the first few weeks of classes.