What you need to know about the add/drop period

Bailey Vandiver

Sometimes, students walk into a class and know immediately it isn’t for them. Sometimes it takes a few months for that feeling to set in. Either way, the add/drop period is an important time for UK students.

Consulting with an adviser is an important step in the process of deciding to drop a class. University Advising Coordinator Sarah Ballard offered some general advice to students deciding whether to drop a class, though each student has a slightly different situation.

“I’d encourage students to always contact their adviser before they drop a course because their advisor can help them guide through the decision,” Ballard said.

Ballard said that advisers always ask why it is that a student wants to drop a class, then they offer specific information and resources to that student depending on the reasons.

Ballard said that when a student wants to drop a class depends on the advice the student is given.

“If it’s during drop/add, the adviser helps the student find a suitable replacement for their schedule so that the student can remain on track to degree completion,” she said.

However, if a student wants to drop a class after the add/drop period has ended due to academic challenges, the adviser offers resources like tutoring, academic coaching and recommending seeking the professor or a teaching assistant’s help. Providing these resources is “to try help the student be successful and remain in the class,” she said.

Another important consideration is financial aid and scholarships, which sometimes have hours and class requirements.

“Sometimes dropping a class can have far-reaching implications,” Ballard said.

Ballard said that students’ main reasons for dropping a course also depend on when during the semester they make the decision.

“At the beginning of the term, some students are simply making schedule adjustments,” she said.

Later in the semester, though, students often withdraw because of academic challenges.

Several UK professors weighed in on how students’ dropping classes affects them.

Psychology lecturer Ray Archer said that his withdraw rates depend on the class he is teaching. He said he has higher withdraw rates for his PSY 100 class as compared to upper division courses. He estimated a withdraw rate of between 5 and 10 percent for his PSY 100 class.

Archer said that while he doesn’t usually hear from students after they leave his class, he thinks that the majority of students drop at the beginning of the semester because the course is more difficult than they thought it would be. Toward the end of the semester, he said it is normally because their grades are not what they would like.

“When students withdraw because they will most likely fail, I think it’s a smart move on their part and I applaud them,” he said.

Journalism professor Buck Ryan agrees about students who make the decision to drop a class.

“I encourage the add/drop process for my students,” said Ryan, who teaches a large JOU 101 class.

He said that students can tell quickly whether they like a class or not.

“In Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,’ students who came up instantaneously with a course-teacher evaluation after a glimpse of a class tended to match the same results of students who spent an entire semester with a professor,” Ryan said. “So I think students can trust their gut instincts and find the best, most enjoyable classes for themselves. And they should do that. No problem, no explanation necessary.”

Listed below are important dates related to the add/drop period, according to the UK 2017-2018 calendar:

Jan. 3-6: Opening-of-term add/drop for registered students

Jan. 8-9: Opening-of-term add/drop for registered students

Jan. 8: Last day a student may officially drop a course with the University Registrar for a full refund of fees

Jan. 17: Last day to add a class for the 2018 spring semester

Jan. 31: Last day to drop a course without it appearing on the student’s transcript

Feb. 7: Last day to officially withdraw from the university or reduce course load and receive a 50 percent refund

March 30: Last day to withdraw from the university or reduce course load. Students can withdraw or reduce course load after this date only for “urgent non-academic reasons.”