In fall 2016, Drexel University Provost M. Brian Blake altered the institution’s add/drop policy, reducing the amount of time students had to add, drop and withdraw from courses.
The add/drop period ended after Week 1 this term, rather than extending to the end of Week 2 as in years past, and the withdrawal period was finished after Week 7 rather than continuing to the end of Week 8.
According to N. John DiNardo, senior vice provost for academic affairs, this policy shift was made in an attempt to increase student achievement, as previously, students who enrolled in a class up to towards the end of Week 2 had already missed 20 percent of the class’s content.
He said that the university’s research had found that students who were adding courses later into the term were not doing as well as students who were enrolled into the course from the beginning of the term. fall quarter 2016 marked the first time the policy was in effect.
Many students felt as if the new policy hindered rather than helped the student body. Cindy Chau, a sophomore international business and marketing major, dropped Managerial Accounting Foundations during Week 1 due to an overall heavy course load.
Chau opposes the new policy change and said it created additional stress for her.
“Having the drop [period] altered didn’t let me think about whether or not I liked the teacher, the class workload, the class topic or anything else that pertains to the class as a whole,” she said. “I would rather make up 20 percent of the material for a class I thoroughly enjoy than have to make a quick judgment about a class that I could be wrong about later.”
Like many students, Chau favored the old policy, “The new policy just created unnecessary stress that shouldn’t be given to students during the very first week of the term,” she said. “I don’t agree with the new changes at all.”
Anthony Leone, a sophomore mechanical engineering major in the NROTC program said he thought the new policy might need to be adjusted to account for students best interests.
“I understand the concern for students entering a course too late into the term, but one week is a very short period of time. Even at Drexel, it’s impossible to determine whether or not you need to add or drop a course,” he said.
Dena Habboush, a senior biological sciences major, dropped an online Science Writing class the day before the one-week add/drop deadline and replaced the course with another Science Writing class taught by a different professor.
Like Chau, Habboush felt as if the new policy negatively impacted her. As a pre-med, she monitors her GPA closely and said that it often depends on both the courses she takes and the professors she takes them with.
“There have been so many times where I had taken a course and regretted my decision. Sometimes it took me two weeks to realize that I did not enjoy that class, but I was previously able to drop the class without it being too late,” she said.
“Now I feel like you have to be 100 percent sure that the classes you register for are the classes you are going to take for the rest of the term because no one wants a [withdrawal] on their transcript,” she continued.
Habboush expressed a strong preference for the previous policy.
“In the past three years I have been at this school I have never once fallen behind because I added a course ‘too late.’ I was always able to catch up whether it’s reading the lectures that I had missed, or completing/making up missed assignments or quizzes,” she said.
The majority of students were hesitant about the policy change in the beginning of the term. As the term comes to an end, the feeling of uncertainty still widely remains among the student body.