Studying at a rigorous and highly acclaimed liberal arts institution, Wellesley students often put significant thought into the courses they plan to take the following semester. With growing class sizes and minimal sections of highdemand courses, students often find it difficult to sign up for the classes they want. However, the college’s new automated waitlist system counteracts such concerns by offering students a more organized, streamlined and accommodating process for enrolling in classes. This approach ensures an efficient registration period and should continue to be implemented in future years.
One of the primary advantages of the new waitlist system is that it provides as a more organized method for adding students to a waitlist. This new change not only simplifies the registration process but also reduces the degree of error when accommodating those who want to enroll in high-demand classes.
In the past, students were required to email the respective professors in order to attain a spot in the class, or attend the first class and add their names to a handwritten waitlist. In contrast, the new system allows students to fill out a questionnaire online and rank their preferences for course section. Thus, the process ensures a decreased risk of misplacing students’ information, bringing orderliness to a previously uncoordinated system.
In addition to facilitating registration in a more organized manner, the new waitlist system is also advantageous because it includes efficient, time-saving features that benefit both professors and students.
One of the newest attributes of the waitlist system involves a change in the course brower, where high-demand courses now have small icons in the top right corners, indicating whether a course uses the centralized waitlist system or entails instructor-maintained waitlist procedures. This change helps students know in advance how to add themselves to a wait-list immediately, therefore saving time by helping them sign up for the waitlist faster.
Once students have entered their information on the centralized waitlist questionnaire, faculty can access all the waitlisted students’ names and section preferences in one place, another convenient component of the new system. The aggregation of such information often assists departments as they prepare for upcoming semesters by opening up more sections of the same course or increasing the class sizes.
Therefore, the waitlist system serves as a more efficient manner for departments to plan ahead for the upcoming semester’s courses and class sizes. Additionally, once students have added themselves to the waitlist, the new centralized process offers a more accommodating procedure for them to obtain a spot in that class in a timely manner. Once a waitlisted student is offered a spot in a course, they have up to 24 hours to accept or reject the offer, after which it will be passed on to students further down the waitlist. Thus, the new system reduces any delay in offering available spots to students, deeming it more streamlined than the previous process.
While much of the feedback for this new process is positive, some students have found that the system does not adequately communicate to waitlisted students their updated position after those ahead of them have responded to offers. However, although the new system does not indicate where students lie on the waitlist, it does state the length of the waitlist when students first add their names. Thus, students can estimate the likelihood of whether they will receive a spot and from there, decide whether to look for other classes or to remain on the waitlist.
Overall, the new waitlist system serves as a more efficient and coordinated procedure than the previous process. An organized, streamlined system with features such as a course-ranking questionnaire, distinguishing icons for each type of wait-list and a 24-hour reject/ accept period, the new waitlist process offers a more effective way for students to acquire a spot in high-demand classes and pursue courses of their own choice.