My family and friends frequently tell me that I am the type of person that can handle any situation that life throws at me and that many of my experiences can make great blog material. As a result of this, I have decided to start a new series of posts that tackle many what-if situations that students may worry about facing when they get to college or live on their own. Today, I will be sharing advice for what to do if you get dropped from all of your college classes through no fault of your own, based on personal experience.
Believe it or not, I had the perfect schedule
Prior to starting the new semester, I enrolled in all of my classes and had what I called the perfect schedule. All of my classes started at a reasonable time in easy-to-access buildings, and I had already told several of my professors about my visual impairment and Disability Services file I had with the university. This was my eighth semester in college, so I like to think that I had everything under control. I attended my first two days of classes and met all of my professors. I thought to myself how great everything was… and then I went to my Thursday class.
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How I noticed I was dropped from all of my college classes
I was sitting in one of my data science classes on a Thursday when I noticed I couldn’t access the course website. The website was not showing up in my student profile, and a lot of functions were locked. Tech support came to look at my computer, and we discovered that I had been force-dropped from all of my classes around midnight the night before. I wasn’t sure how to process this information, so I went to the professor who had been at the university for years and asked for their advice. They had never seen anything like this situation before, but helped me make a list of departments and people to contact so that I could get this resolved. I had five days before the add/drop deadline passed, so I would need to act quickly.
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My first five phone calls
Even though I had been technically dropped from the class I was sitting in, I continued listening to the lecture and then started making phone calls almost the moment I left the classroom. Per my professor’s advice, my first five phone calls were to the following people:
- Student Support Center to figure out if there was a glitch in my academic standing- not the case
- Office of Student Conduct to check and make sure I wasn’t suspended or expelled by mistake- thankfully, I was not
- Office of Financial Aid to ensure there were no holds on my record, and they confirmed over the phone that there were none
- The Registrar, who told me to drop what I was doing and come in immediately
- My mom, to brief her on the situation
I made a couple of in-person visits to other offices in the meantime that I thought might be able to help, but unfortunately they were unable to. One of the things that helped me tremendously was being able to stay calm and not assign blame to anyone for what was going on. For example, instead of accusing the Office of Student Conduct of suspending me, I asked them to check my records to ensure a disciplinary hold was not put in place under my student ID number.
Explaining the situation to my professors
I asked my Thursday professor to send me a list of emails for my other professors from the faculty directory, since I was temporarily locked out of my university email for an unrelated reason. After receiving the email addresses, each of my professors received a personalized version of this email:
Subject line- Class Number Veronica Lewis (student username) Urgent Information
My name is Veronica Lewis, and I am a student in your CDS 123 class that meets on these days at this time. Due to a currently unknown glitch with my registration, I was dropped from all of my classes at midnight, and I also cannot access my university email address, which is typically insert address here. This means that I do not have any access to course materials or homework, and I am actively working on re-enrolling in my classes. In the meantime, can you send any class information to this email address?
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Visiting the Registrar
After sending the email to my professors while quickly eating lunch, I visited the Registrar to figure out what was going on. Since I had ruled out a lot of reasons why I could be unable to register for classes, I figured they would be able to help. After spending at least an hour in the office, we discovered that a form had been incorrectly filled out when I changed my major, and instead of keeping me from registering for classes in my old major, I suddenly couldn’t register for classes in any major. The Registrar was unable to correct this error, so I had to walk across campus to my former department to investigate further. A phone call was placed letting them know/giving them a warning that I was on my way to their office.
A trip to my former department
As soon as I got to the office for my former department, I was sent to the main desk for the school of engineering. From there, I was able to explain the situation, and they confirmed that a form had been erroneously filled out when I was removed from my previous major that prevented me from registering for other classes, not just ones within that major. I was told this would be fixed within the next day or so, and that while they would make every effort to help restore my schedule, they couldn’t make any promises. I was fine with this though, because I had learned lots of self-advocacy skills in high school and had a secret weapon that could help me restore my schedule.
Monitoring class openings with Coursicle
Honestly, the main reason I was able to restore my schedule was because I had the app Coursicle downloaded on my phone and iPad, plus I set my notification tones to be super loud. For those not familiar, Coursicle is a college course scheduling app that makes registering for classes much simpler. Students can plan their schedules and get notified when seats become available in closed or waitlisted classes. Students can browse the course catalog using filters and find information about class names, locations, professors, and more. For some schools, students can also get the names of textbooks. I paid $5 to get the premium version of the app so I could track every available section of the classes I needed and was able to re-register for most of my classes thanks to this app.
Meeting with my new department to see what they could do
Remember how I said I changed my major that semester? Well, this was quite the way to meet all of the new professors in my department, as many of them had heard about my bizarre situation at that point. I went to my new department the Monday after I discovered I had been dropped from all of my classes. During that time, my old department emailed me saying they could get me into one of my previous classes, but they were unable to get me into the other two classes I had in my schedule.
For one of my classes, the professor and I met with the undergraduate coordinator to see if the class could be transferred to a neighboring classroom that had more seats, since the waitlist for the class was fairly large. Thankfully, this was a fairly easy thing to do, and I was able to be back in five of my classes before the end of the day. Which worked out well, because the next morning I was leaving for the ATIA Conference and it would also be the last day to add classes!
Like it never even happened
I constantly checked Coursicle and the student portal while in the airport, and paid for wifi on the plane so I could keep checking these apps, but nothing came through. Once I landed in Florida and checked into my hotel, I had pretty much accepted that I would not be able to get into my sixth class. But against all odds, I got a notification five minutes before midnight saying I could register for my sixth class. That meant that my schedule was now the same way it was on the first day of my classes, which was super awesome! But for the next three days, I tried not to think about anything college related and de-stressed from the chaos that had taken place in the last week or so.
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Being dropped from all classes in college may seem like it could be the end of the world, but that wasn’t the case for me. Because I had told my professors what was going on and stayed calm throughout the whole ordeal, they were happy to help me be successful and stay on top of my classwork, even if I wasn’t technically registered for their class. So even if you do get dropped from all of your college classes, I assure you that everything is going to be just fine!