The Council of Commonwealth Student Governments is backing a proposal to push back the date of the “drop” period — giving students a few extra days at the beginning of each semester to leave courses they originally signed up for without having to fear a permanent mark on their transcript.
Of course, extending the window for students to drop classes could lead to more “shopping around,” so to speak, where students sign up for many classes with the intention of getting rid of a few by the time the drop period is over. In this scenario, students signed up for courses could end up crowding up the rosters for the first few weeks, leaving empty spots after students finalize their schedules.
Additionally, extending the drop period could also contribute to hesitancy among professors to delve into serious coursework for the first two weeks of the semester.
But CCSG’s proposal should be given serious consideration by the University Faculty Senate, who has to approve it before it moves forward into a possible change in university policy.
The proposed change would move the deadline from the middle of the second week of classes to the end of the week — giving students until Saturday instead of Wednesday.
With relatively little information given for many courses ahead of time, Penn State needs to recognize that students aren’t always in a position to know what they’re getting into when they sign up for classes using the information provided online in advance. In some cases, word of mouth or past knowledge of the professor might help, but what you see in a course description often tells you little about what the structure or lessons of a course will really entail.
This change only adds a few days to the existing period, but those few days could be genuinely beneficial in putting students in a
better position to evaluate their courses for the semester. Instead of dropping a class halfway through the second week, students would be able to round out a full two weeks of classes, eliminating at least some of the pressure to drop a class in order to meet a deadline.