A Hitchhiker’s Guide to 2017-18 Course Registration


As the end of the school year quickly approaches, returning students are already looking ahead at what the next school year will offer at Lawrence. In the flurry of emails about meeting with advisors and preparing for advance registration for the 2017-18 academic year, it can be hard to keep track of all the important information. Compiled here is everything that students need to know about advance registration and the newer changes recently made to academic scheduling.

Over the past couple of weeks, students have been encouraged to meet with their academic advisors to discuss plans for the 2017-18 academic year. Students are expected to attend these meetings with a draft schedule for all three terms next year. The best way to put together these drafts is to use the Class Schedule Search on the Lawrence website, which gives students the ability to locate classes based on subject, instructor, class type and class qualities. Until May 2, no changes will be made to the courses already scheduled, with the only exceptions being course cancellations and the addition of enrollment limits.

All students returning to Lawrence for the next academic year are assigned to one of six advance registration groups. Each group will get the opportunity to register for their classes at different times throughout the week, starting the night of April 23. Students can check their registration group and assigned times on Voyager in the Registration tab under Student Services.

Another key set of information was sent out by the Registrar earlier this week concerning the academic changes that will begin in the 2017-18 school year. The multitude of changes were approved by the faculty this year after being proposed by both students and faculty on the Curriculum and Instruction committees.

The first of the new policies had to do with the withdrawing from classes during a term. A student who withdraws from a class before the deadline at the end of week 8 of the term will receive a ‘W’ on their transcript and the course will not be counted as part of the student’s GPA. Previously, student transcripts would reflect whether the student passed or failed the class they withdrew from and were marked as a ‘WP’ or ‘WF,’ respectively. This ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ would also formerly project on a student’s GPA.

While this new policy can be beneficial to those concerned about their GPA being affected by withdrawing from a class, it does not offer protection from the other implications of withdrawing. Withdrawing from a class will still change the amount of credits a student earned in a term and can have effects on visa status, financial aid, athletic eligibility and academic progress. Students were encouraged by the Registrar to seek the advice of an academic advisor before submitting a withdrawal request.

The next policy deals with how a repeated course will be notated on a transcript. Before the 2017-18 academic year, the ‘F’ notation from a course would be changed to ‘F#’ to indicate that the course was repeated. The new policy will notate a repeated course with an ‘R’ instead of the former ‘F#.’ This new notation looks more favorable on a transcript than the previous notation, which could provide a possibly big impact in terms of applying to a graduate school or seeking employment that requires a transcript.

The final, and potentially largest change, deals with the overload policy. The new policy for the 2017-18 year allows students a ‘one-time waiver’ of the overload fee charged per-unit up to 24 units. What this means is that students are given one opportunity to overload to 24 credits for one term without having to pay the overload fee. This allows every student who is qualified to overload to do so once without having to worry about their financial capability. All subsequent overloads will still incur the per-unit fee for 23 or more credits a term, with a maximum of 27 units.

All other aspects of the overload policy are remaining the same, including the exclusion of music ensembles in the load count and fees not being charged for theatre production labs. The former policies for double-degree students will remain the same in the 2017-18 policy. Students must also have a B average in their last five terms and the permission of their academic advisor if they wish to overload.

There is a lot to dissect about this new policy change. The positive side is that students who struggle with finances now have the capability to overload without racking up an even higher bill. Overloading also gives students an opportunity to graduate earlier, which has the potential to save a term or two of costs.

The drawback is that the per-unit fee now includes the 23 credit, meaning that students who take a 5-credit independent study along with their standard schedule will pay for that extra unit that they were not paying previously. Once again, it is highly encouraged for students to consult their academic advisor before putting together a schedule that is more than 18 credits.

Thinking ahead to the next academic year before the current one is even over can cause an incredible amount of stress, but hopefully this saves you some time sorting through the endless emails that fill the inboxes of all faculty and students in this crazy time.