Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Shop Till You Add-Drop

During this semester’s add-drop period many Hoyas found themselves running out of time as they tried to determine their class schedules. With an add-drop period of only eight weekdays, too many students were forced into rushed decisions about their semester schedules. Some – those with Monday courses – didn’t even have a chance to attend classes.

In stark contrast to Georgetown, other universities have considerably longer add-drop periods. The University of Pennsylvania has an add period of two full weeks and a drop period of five full weeks. Yale institutes a full two-week testing period. Harvard has an add-drop period that runs until the fifth Monday of the term. Other universities do not implement these systems for nothing; they give students more time and responsibility to make informed decisions about the courses they want to take.

Georgetown professors have continually shown disregard for – or flat-out refused to acknowledge – the importance of add-drop as a “shopping period” for students. Many initial class meetings serve as recitations of the “housekeeping” aspects of the class. In some instances, the professors themselves do not even show up to class – they send a teaching assistant to take care of these tasks for them. In such circumstances, trying to gauge a professor’s teaching style before add-drop period ends is no easy task.

There are legitimate reasons why Georgetown has always been hesitant to adopt the open-enrollment shopping period policies in place at other universities. Such systems allow students to browse through class sessions, with professors delivering sample lectures at the beginning of each semester. This involves logistical difficulties for both students and faculty, such as reserving space for larger lecture halls, and may ultimately prove unfeasible for Georgetown.

But nobody said it can’t be done. One alternative is to confine some classes to the traditional add-drop method and at the same time adopt a more flexible approach with others. Retaining the pre-registration, add-drop system for seminars and moving to a more accommodating, “shopping period” approach for larger lecture courses would be a logical compromise between student and faculty demands.

Regardless of the class or the kind of registration system used, faculty should still expect students to take their commitments seriously. Attending courses or sample lectures consistently, making up work after finalizing enrollment, and exerting honest effort to consult syllabi and reading lists ahead of time – all reasonable demands to be made of students – will cut down the number of classes that need to be shopped for. At the same time, students will be able to enjoy the greater degree of flexibility and academic freedom they deserve.

Donate to The Hoya

Your donation will support the student journalists of Georgetown University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hoya