Before the drop deadline, students do not have enough information about their performance. Having midterms and releasing grades before the deadline, or providing enough homework grades before the deadline, could help. Numerous classes are also oversubscribed. Students are also unaware of how they can get on the waitlist for these classes. Some engineering electives are offered sporadically, so students cannot plan their schedules accordingly. Releasing schedules that clarify tentative course offerings, at least a year in advance, would benefit students.
There are 3 issues affecting the drop deadline/course selection process:
First: Students do not have access to information about how well they are doing in a course before the drop deadline.
It is not standard practice in Engineering classes that professors have a midterm before the drop deadline, and release the corresponding grades. Therefore, in multiple classes, students cannot make an informed decision about whether they should stay in a class, defeating the purpose of a drop deadline.
Increased standardization of examinations, to release grades to students before the drop deadline, would be prudent. Alternatively, assigning and grading a representative set of homework before the drop deadline would also be useful.
Second: Oversubscribed classes.
Multiple classes are oversubscribed in certain semesters, hampering the ability of students to plan their academic schedules. These are courses such as CIS 160, which receives particularly large interest in the Fall.
A related problem is that students are often unaware of waitlist procedures, for example, that they need to email the department coordinator. Clarifying such expectations for the Engineering school would be beneficial.
Third: Inconsistency in course offering.
Certain Engineering electives are offered sporadically, and students find it hard to predict when they will next be offered. This hampers the ability of students to plan out their schedules. For example, information about when BE 470 will next be offered is not available, which is especially pernicious for students looking to finish their Medical Devices concentration before they graduate. Releasing schedules that clarify tentative course offerings, at least a year in advance, would benefit students.