The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

UMW’s add/drop period needs to be extended

3 min read

Students need a longer add/drop period in order to maximize their academic success. Jenny Thompson | The Blue & Gray Press


Staff Writer

Students should be given more time to add or drop a course during the semester. Currently, UMW gives students one week to add and three weeks to drop a 16-week course without a withdrawal notation, and that deadline is even shorter for eight-week classes. The add/drop period needs to be longer so that students can experience a holistic view of the class before they make a decision about which classes to continue. 

The current add/drop period can be stressful for students.

“It can be a hard transition period for some students, as they really have to consider if they want to continue taking a certain class or not,” said senior biology major Kaitlin Smyth. “Having a short time for the add/drop period puts a lot of pressure on students to try to make a class work for them when, in reality, they might not enjoy it.” 

If a student were to drop a class after the deadline, they would receive a withdrawal notation that is permanently recorded in their academic transcript, and they could not add another course.

After choosing their courses at the end of the previous semester, students walk in blindly to these classes on the first day not knowing what to expect. The instructor provides a syllabus to give students a general idea about the course schedule and future assignments; however, sometimes the syllabus is vague or doesn’t accurately reflect the course’s workload.

Syllabi vary from class to class, with some professors offering detailed schedules and others providing a general idea of the class’s content and expectations. Some professors only list important due dates of exams but not assignments, and other professors plan out other assignments as the semester goes along and expect students to adjust to them. 

During the first few weeks of classes, there are often fewer assignments, which makes it harder for students to predict how the course will flow and decide whether or not they should drop it.

“Personally, I think the first exam for any class is a good way to detect whether the class is a good fit, but since we have such a short period, the first exam is likely to be after the deadline, which leaves me with one option, that is to withdraw from the class, in case if I don’t perform well in the first exam,” said senior biology major Aishah Wahedi. 

According to a College Parent Central article, professors should encourage students to utilize the add/drop period as needed, but the short deadline makes it difficult for students to make any decisions. Extending the add/drop period would allow students to have enough time to determine whether they want to continue with a class or replace it with another one that is a better fit.

Extending the add/drop deadline could be stressful for professors, making it harder to keep up with students adding or dropping from their course, but it is a feasible remedy that could prevent students from struggling in the course. 

Lengthening the deadline would allow students to change to another course that better accommodates their learning style, workload expectations or content needs. In addition, it would alleviate the stress and pressure of making such an important decision in such a short amount of time.

“I think it would be a great idea to extend the add/drop period,” said Wahedi. “It makes me feel better to know that I’ll have enough time to decide and not be rushed to make any decisions that I might regret later.”

An extended add/drop period would allow students to have a better understanding of the class function and the professor’s teaching style, which involves both their lectures and their quizzes and tests. 

“In my opinion, the drop period should be after the midterm grades because that’s when students truly know how well they’re doing in the class,” said sophomore chemistry major Husna Shinwari. 

Furthermore, this change would be very helpful for students, as it can increase their chances of being successful in the course. 

“Being able to have time to adjust and allow ourselves to see what works for us would be extremely helpful,” said Smyth.