CapU transitions to a waitlist-free add/drop period

Mizuki Kinoshita (she/her) // Contributor
Matt Shipley (he/him) // Coordinating Editor
Taylore Lawrence (she/her) // Illustrator

From the beginning of the Spring 2024 semester, Capilano University will adopt a new course registration system. This system was built with the intent of removing long waitlists, though it falls short of addressing the issue of insufficient space in required courses.

Historically, the waitlist system operated on a first-come-first-serve model, where the first student in line would be given 24 hours’ notice to accept a seat in their desired class when a spot became available. This system will still be active until the first day of classes, at which point the waitlist will be cleared and all waitlisted students will have equal opportunity to enroll in a class when seats become available.

“Once the semester started, some waitlisted students who wanted to drop a course were being charged erroneous fees,” said Kyle Vuorinen, Registrar at CapU. “You shouldn’t be charged fees for things like dropping off of a waitlist. When we did an investigation into why this was happening, it turned out to be a defect with the student information system that we use—one provided by an external vendor.”

Other institutions have moved to this new registration system due to the same software defects, including Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Douglas College. This change means that students will no longer have to pay inappropriate drop fees for leaving waitlists, but luck will now be a main factor in course registration during the add/drop period. When a seat becomes available in a course, the first student to notice and take action will take that seat.

Especially in required courses such as ENGL 100, it can be difficult to fit all students who need the course into the limited class spaces. Vuorinen stresses that “if an instructor agrees with a student, a student can take the course whether or not they make it in through the registration system.” Importantly, this is not a golden ticket—class sizes are limited and while professors have some room to help, nothing is guaranteed.

CapU plans to continue using this system in the future, whether or not the student information software vendor fixes their bugs. As with any new system, it will be improved over time, in part owing to the future opinions and efforts of students and the CSU.

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