Your college’s add/drop period could lead the way to a better semester. expert, Jack Tai, CEO of OneClass, provides seven common questions to learn how to make the most of this registration period.

  1. What Is an Add/Drop Period?

Before the add/drop deadline, you have the opportunity to change your course registration to get the semester you want.

During this add/drop period, you can change course sections, class professors, and even register for a different class entirely.

For many students, add/drop typically means unregistering for one class to sign up for another one.

However, it’s also an opportunity to alter your course load within the parameters of your school registration.

For example, full-time students who foresee a difficult semester could reduce their credit hours from 18 to 15 to have more time to focus on each class.

  1. When Is the Add/Drop Period?

Typically, a college’s add/drop period begins at the time of class registration and lasts until one week after the semester begins.

However, every school is different, and some colleges have an add/drop window that lasts a month after classes begin. Find the exact dates that pertain to you by reviewing your college’s academic calendar.

  1. How Can the Add/Drop Period Help You Learn?

Each college class is an educational opportunity, and the classes that you take will ultimately determine the quality of your education. When your classes are better suited to your needs, you can get an education that’s relevant to you.

The first week of classes is critical to assessing if the courses that you’re registered for are right for you. 

You’ll be able to get a sense of a professor’s teaching style.

The syllabus will reveal the coursework you’ll be covering and how you’ll be graded. This could allow you to avoid classes that don’t work with your learning style.

For example, if the course involves too many essays and not enough hands-on lab work, you may find a better learning experience with another teacher.

  1. What Are Other Advantages of Changing Classes During Add/Drop?

 By seeking out the best schedule for the semester, you can make the most of the investment you’re making to attend college.


Across campus, the beginning of each semester will likely have a registration shake-up as many students change their classes.

For some students, this could mean that a spot opens up in a class that was previously full.

Additionally, changing your class schedule could help you avoid the 8am lecture class that was inescapable during open registration.

  1. How Do Add/Drop Changes Look on Your Transcripts?

The changes you make to your class schedule during the add/drop period are excluded from your transcript. This gives you a risk-free opportunity to shuffle your schedule around.

  1. Can You Change Your Schedule After Add/Drop Closes?

There are limited choices as to how you can change your schedule after the add/drop period has closed.

It likely won’t be possible to add any additional courses. However, you can still withdraw from a class.

This will give you a “W” for the class. Although this will show up on your transcript, it may still be a better option than damaging your GPA with a bad grade.

You may also be able to change your registration type from traditional grading to a pass/fail class. With this choice, the class will still show up on your transcript, and you’ll still earn college credit. However, a passing grade means the class will be excluded from your GPA calculations.

  1. What Are the Disadvantages of Using Add/Drop?

Even while there are strong opportunities available during the add/drop period, some additional factors are of consideration.

First, it’s important to consider how your course schedule contributes to your semester’s academic success and your graduation requirements.

    Your academic advisor is a critical resource to helping you navigate these factors and can help you troubleshoot class schedule decisions.

Second, you may have missed the first week of lectures during your new courses.

A smart way to catch up is to review online class notes so that you’ll know exactly what happened in the lectures you didn’t attend.

Jack Tai is the CEO and Co-founder of OneClass. Visit the site to find out more about how this online tool has helped 90% of users improve by a letter grade.

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