USD Students Want to Shop Around

Diving back into the new semester can be both exciting and stressful as students at the University of San Diego prepare to tackle their new classes. Students anxiously attend each class hoping that they’ve picked a good professor, the class is interesting, and the amount of work seems reasonable.

For a select lucky few, their schedules work out perfectly, and they are pleased with their classes. However, for the majority of students, schedules take some reorganization to achieve the desired result.

For many students at USD, a vital component of crafting the perfect schedule is taking a chance with the waitlist system and lobbying for a highly coveted spot in a popular class.

USD’s waitlist system is an excellent resource for students that desperately need a certain class. However, often times students overload themselves with waitlist options hoping to improve their schedule, and potential classes conflict. Then students find themselves having to make a tough decision about which class to actually enroll in when the opportunity presents itself.

This leaves students in a predicament: some students are able to crash the courses they are on the waitlist for, while other students cannot.  The latter of which are instead forced to attend classes they are currently enrolled in that are scheduled in the same time slot as their desired waitlisted courses.

As a result, when the add/drop period comes to a close, these students have to blindly finalize their schedules, sometimes without having even attended the class or getting a feel for how the semester might go.

Senior Maddy Platt notes that designing a schedule can be especially hard when professors adopt a no crashing policy.

“Adding and dropping [classes] is especially difficult in the business school because they have a strict ‘no crashing’ rule,” Platt said. “If you are on a waitlist, and you do get in, sometimes it’s not even worth it because you’ve already missed the first week or so of class. I think having a more lenient add/drop period would be extremely beneficial because it would [help students] avoid this issue.”

One strategy some schools employ to combat this problem, and ensure students feel confident in their scheduling choices, is allowing students to sample several classes before deciding upon their course list for the semester.

This concept, known as a shopping period, allows students to shop around before picking which classes they would like to take for the semester. This period allows students to freely attend classes the first week of school, with no penalty for missing a class, leaving early, or showing up late. The concept, in theory, makes it so that students can attend every class they are interested in before deciding whether to enroll or not.

Senior Sophia Gaffney said that she thinks this type of system could be a nice alternative to the current way USD’s add/drop period operates.

“Generally speaking I really like the idea [of a shopping period],” Gaffney said. “I think students need a time to figure out if they like the class or vibe with the professor. Sometimes the workload scares someone out of a class that they actually could’ve really enjoyed had they had time to feel it out.”

On the other hand she  added that  sometimes students realize too late that a class is not right for them.

“Students get stuck in a class that they would have avoided had they had a longer period to drop it,” Gaffney said. “I’m not sure how [a class shopping system] would work, but, if it happened, it’d be super chill.”

Since we preregister for classes, this exact idea of a shopping period might not work at USD. Adopting a similar policy; however, may really help those students that are trying to decide between several classes.

Simply creating a blanket policy allowing students on the waitlist to crash a course within the first week, and asking professors not to assign anything or take attendance until the add/drop period is over is one solution.

By making a few minor policy changes, USD could allow students the necessary leeway they need to figure out their scheduling needs, improve student satisfaction with the classes, and greatly simplify the add/drop process.

Written by Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor