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Full Classes

From WSO:

Getting dropped from a tutorial this morning you were sure you’d get into, causing you to contemplate redoing your entire schedule. Meanwhile, the other classes you would’ve taken are full.

How well do class offerings at Williams match up with student demand? Can any current students provide commentary/data on this issue? (Read about similar problems at Dartmouth.)

1) Were there any courses that you or your friends wanted to get into but couldn’t? Which courses? Is the problem more that certain classes are filled or that the sections taught by certain professors are too popular?

2) Could anyone with access to the data copy/paste in the comments the list of all second semester classes that are currently full? That would be helpful data to consider.

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#1 Comment By PSCImajor On January 10, 2010 @ 11:43 pm

I’ve only gotten dropped from classes twice – both tutorials. Other than that, by emailing professors, I’ve been able to get into courses without any trouble. :)

#2 Comment By kthomas On January 10, 2010 @ 11:46 pm


Shhhhhh. Don’t give out the secret!

#3 Comment By PSCImajor On January 10, 2010 @ 11:58 pm

Both were pretty reasonable – it was an upper level econ tutorial I applied for as a sophomore (rumored to have been over-enrolled by 25), and a high-level history tutorial (400s) as a frosh.

#4 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 10, 2010 @ 11:58 pm

Sincere enthusiasm is irresistible.

#5 Comment By PSCImajor On January 10, 2010 @ 11:59 pm

Also, unrelated, but…I just got an EphBlog email. I’d rather not give out my email via this site…is there a way I can avoid that?

#6 Comment By Ronit On January 11, 2010 @ 12:01 am

@PSCImajor: your email is not given out via this site. It is, however, visible to administrators like myself, Ken Thomas, and David.

If you received an email notifying you of a new comment to this thread, that must mean you checked the box ” Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”, you can unsubscribe by clicking on the link that says “Manage your subscriptions”

#7 Comment By PSCImajor On January 11, 2010 @ 12:05 am

Ahhh. Nope. Got an email from David.

#8 Comment By Ronit On January 11, 2010 @ 12:13 am

I see. Just for your information, I don’t believe that EphBlog has ever improperly disclosed emails or identities of commenters on the site or anywhere else. However, using a real email address is required, and failure to do so breaks a basic principle of trust between authors, administrators, and commenters. We don’t send spam or unnecessary emails, and I have every reason to believe that the vast majority of the time we have used a commenter’s email address to contact them directly, it has been a positive and productive interaction. If you would like to not be contacted by David, just tell him.

#9 Comment By Will Slack ’11 On January 11, 2010 @ 12:51 am

Coming back just to note that real e-mail addresses are always helpful, and were vital for me in directly communicating with commenters. I only used the ability to see them a few times, but those few were important. I have never observed any misuse of them.

#10 Comment By hwc On January 11, 2010 @ 2:17 am

There are two separate issues:

a) Before the market crash, it was never possible to fully optimize the distirbution of professors, class sections, and student demand. Economic allocation systems tend to move towards efficiency, but never achieve perfection.

b) The budget constraints are putting real pressure on classes with fewer visiting profs, postponed faculty hires, and additonal students. Williams will be relatively unscathed (I think), but it will be impacted to some degree. There are many colleges that simply won’t be the same.

#11 Comment By hwc On January 11, 2010 @ 2:20 am

How does Williams handle full courses? Is there a lottery?

#12 Comment By ’10 On January 11, 2010 @ 3:15 am

How does Williams handle full courses? Is there a lottery?

Profs choose who to admit, based on whatever criteria they find appropriate.

#13 Comment By Ronit On January 11, 2010 @ 9:57 am

On at least two occasions, I was given preference by a professor in junior or senior year because they had previously had to deny me a spot in their class when I was an underclassman. So if you’re really interested in taking a course with a particular professor, try again next year.

#14 Comment By hwc On January 11, 2010 @ 11:56 am

RE: #12

Seriously? There are no published departmental guidelines or procedures?

In practice, it probably doesn’t matter. Even when there are established lottery procedures, the professor has flexibility.

#15 Comment By 10mbt On January 11, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

5/13 Religion courses offered in the spring are full (not counting independent studies and thesis courses). According to Peoplesoft,

Rel 101 – Introduction, Shuck
Rel 206 – The Book of Job and Joban Literature, Dekel
Rel 210 – Reading Jesus, Writing Gospels: Christian Origins in Context, Buell
REL 290 (T) – Explorations of the Afterlife, Josephson
REL 302 (T) – Philosophy of Religion, Barry

Not Full:
REL 220 – The Reformations in Early Modern Europe, Shuck
REL 238 – Gender Remade: Muslim Women and Narratives of Subjection, Loan
REL 245 – Tibetan Civilization, Dreyfus
REL 249 – Spiritual Crossroads: Religious Life in Southeast Asia, Just
REL 251 – Zen Buddhism: History and Historiography, Josephson
REL 261 – Rastafari: Dread, Politics, Agency, Roberts
REL 287 – The Dynamics of Globalization: Society, Religion and the Environment, Dreyfus
REL 288 – The Embodied Mind: A Cross-Cultural Exploration, Dreyfus & Cruz

#16 Comment By 10mbt On January 11, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

Also, David, course statuses can be found just by having one of your students log into Peoplesoft.

#17 Comment By ebaek On January 12, 2010 @ 1:55 am

I had major issues of continuously getting dropped from my classes for the first semester. Was hoping to avoid it this semester, but of course it happens again.

All 200-level Psychology classes for this term are overenrolled, with some overenrolled by over 30 students (at least, according to one professor I emailed to get on the waitlist for these classes…) so the department used seniority to determine enrollment. This is going to cause major damage to the plans I had made for next few semesters (I applied to take two Psychology courses, and therefore was dropped from both of my 200-level classes) and I’m having major issues with trying to find classes that I’m eligible to enroll in AND open during the time slots I have left AND caters to my interests/goals.

It was really confusing to learn that every single one of these 200-level Psychology classes were overenrolled this semester, considering that Psychology is one of the more popular majors on campus. You would think that such a popular department would have more spaces for enrollment or more classes. There are a ton of English 200-level courses, for example. But no. I guess not.

(I’m only ranting bitterly because I’m a probable psych major with a concentration in neuroscience and also am pre-med, which means I need to fill in a lot of requirements before junior year. I heard that this is not an atypical major/concentration among pre-med students and assume that many others have suffered or are suffering from the lack of choice in classes during scheduling as well.)

#18 Comment By student10 On January 12, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

ebaek: You should e-mail those psych professors. You, as a prospective major, are their target audience. I also got dropped from 200-level psych classes (twice), but in this case, seniority hurts me because I’m not a major I’m basically dead weight in the class. You, on the other hand, are an investment, so you will probably get in.

#19 Comment By ebaek On January 12, 2010 @ 11:59 pm

I did email the professors, of course, as soon as I got the email from the registrar… they decided as a department that no freshmen would be allowed in to the 200-level classes next semester, whether prospective psych majors or not. They were REALLY overenrolled. It’s understandable that they kept the students who have less time to fulfill the major requirements, it’s just hard to accept that the department has such a small course offering, in comparison to similarly popular departments such as English or History.

#20 Comment By hwc On January 13, 2010 @ 12:49 am

Those psych class sizes are ridiculous:

Spring 2010 class sizes

If you are a psych major, you might not get a class under 55 students until you hit 300 level courses?