The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Add/drop period too short

The add/drop period, for many students, is the critical and final stage of the registration process. Students are given the time to try and get a class open and add it to their schedule, or decide whether or not they wish to deal with the demanding course loads given by some professors. Professors must get used to daily additions to the roster and handing out the syllabi day after day, some of which will end up in the trash, for as long as this period lasts.

The length of the add/drop period at St. John’s is one full academic cycle, or exactly one week. Although St. John’s refers to this period as “add/drop,” in actuality, it is the period in which you are able to “add” and “swap” classes, and the “drop” period continues until September 18. So technically, you can withdraw from a class without penalty until that date, but you will not be able to replace the 3 credits, and most likely be left with lesser credits than you had hoped for. The question on many students’ minds is whether or not this one-week period is long enough to determine if a class is good for them. Many students feel that the period should be extended because of the many factors that need to be taken into consideration when making schedule changes.

“What is the professor like? How much reading is assigned nightly? Is the class at 7:30 a.m.?” Stephanie Adler asked herself these very questions.

“During my second semester,” she said, “I had signed up for a 7:30 a.m. class. My situation changed a short while after and I had to take public transportation to school, and this happened right after the add/drop date had passed. I had to get up at 5:15 a.m., to be on the bus by 6 a.m., to make sure I got to school on time. I didn’t get much sleep that semester, and I would have swapped the class for one at a later time, had it been allowed.”

Others feel that the period should be extended so that they have a chance to register for a class that another student may have dropped, making room for the student who wants it. Graduating seniors especially feel that exceptions should be made to accommodate them, being that it is their last and final chance to register for a class. Also, some complain that they were not informed by their advisor of certain courses they needed to take, and now they are faced with having to stay an
extra semester.

Despite student grievances, faculty members feel that the length of the period is more than fair, being that the registration actually begins in the prior semester. Advisors are consulted during this time, and it is the student’s job to make the appointment, so a responsible student should know which courses he or she needs to take in order to satisfy requirements. The faculty is also concerned that a longer period would put the student, professor, and even fellow students at a disadvantage. “The student is put in a position where they can’t catch up, and they expect the professor to go back in time for them, while the whole class should be going forward,” said St. John’s College Associate Dean Salvatore Spizzirri. “In more challenging classes, missing simply one three-hour class is enough to set you back significantly. We are ultimately thinking about the student.”

Assistant Dean Antonio Lodato of the College of Professional Studies said, “Missing a week of a class is three full hours, and while some students would be able to make up the work, some simply can’t handle missing that much. We try to work with the student as best we can.”

However, students in the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions do not have it that simple. This is one of the most rigorous and demanding programs available at SJU. Therefore, missing one class could mean failing the course completely.
“Some classes can’t be made up in our program, because it is extremely difficult to accommodate one student when dealing with chemicals or animals,” said Assistant Dean Joseph Etzel.

“Most courses don’t allow you to miss even one lab, and if you do, you fail the course. Also, some courses in the fourth or fifth year only meet for four or six weeks, and if you miss a week of that, you definitely will not pass.”

Still, some students feel that they should be the ones to decide whether or not they would be able to handle catching up, and a bit more time to better evaluate a course would be greatly appreciated.

And what about extenuating circumstances that call for exceptions? “Rules are not the structure,” explained Associate Dean Spizzirri. “Rules are the scaffolding that supports the structure. We try to accommodate certain situations, because if something horrible happens, then we have to react to it. However, we want to be fair to everyone, so we try to treat everyone the same way. It comes down to a justice issue.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

We love comments and feedback, but we ask that you please be respectful in your responses.
All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *