Add/Drop = Stress

You wake up to realize that the add/drop period is over. Let’s face it, the beginning of the semester can be hectic. Who is actually paying attention to deadlines?

Suppose that a class is uninteresting and/or you are doing poorly in it. Not to worry, you are not stuck in the class for the rest of the semester destined for misery and failure. There is always the option to withdraw, placing a W on your transcript.

The add/drop period at UVM is the first 10 instruction days of each semester. Individual instructors can make the decision to cut the add period to 5 instruction days if the material being covered cannot be made up, or if it would be detrimental to a student’s experience in the class, according to the 2005-06 online catalogue.

According to university registrar Keith P. Williams, students can petition to the registrar’s office for a late add or drop. But there is no clear and accessible mention of this in the online catalogue under general policies and information.

It is stated in the 2006-2007 online catalogue that a student may drop a class after the 10th instruction day only if they were enrolled by an error and did not attend any classes. In this case, students can go through the registrar’s office and the instructor to drop the class.

Last year, according to the UVM Faculty Senate minutes, several faculty members suggested the add period should be shortened but the drop period remain the same or even lengthened by a week. Nothing was resolved at that meeting.

According to Williams, shortening the add period while either lengthening or keeping the drop period would be damaging to those students who could not get into the class.

If students could drop a class but the seats could not be filled because of the shortened add period, there would be classes with empty seats and students without the opportunity to fulfill their requirements.

From the 11th day of classes through the ninth week, students may withdraw from a class, according to the online catalogue.

In this case, the instructor assigns the student a grade of W and it is recorded on their transcript. But what exactly is a W and what does it say to those viewing a student’s transcript, including potential graduate schools?

Lisa Schnell, an associate professor and acting director in the English Department at UVM, is involved in the application process for students applying to graduate school at the University.

Schnell said if it is just one W on the student’s transcript and the other grades are good, “I simply assume that there were extenuating circumstances for a brief period and overlook it.”

If it is a pattern, it is usually viewed as an indication of a student’s inability to follow through, said Schnell. When advising a student to withdraw from a class, Schnell said that it is one W and it is going to take the place of a D or an F on an otherwise good transcript, she would advise the student to withdraw, as long as it is not a pattern.

So do not feel stuck, a W may not be as bad as it sounds.