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How to Choose Backup Classes

Last updated August 23, 2021

Sometimes you won’t get your first pick of classes. However, you can create a backup list just in case. Creating a backup list will give you some control in the event that your first choice is full.

As you create a list of backup classes. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it meet the requirements to graduate?
  • Will it fit into my schedule or ideally is it in the same time slot as my preferred first choice? (Meaning, you won’t have to rearrange the rest of your schedule.)
  • What is the difficulty to complete it successfully? Is the level of effort about the same or less than your first choice?
  • What are the expectations? Is there a lab? A lot of group work? Will these time requirements fit your schedule?
  • Are you interested in the topic? If it’s the only choice to stay on track, go in with an open mind.

If you don’t get into your first choice, here’s what to do:

Get on the waitlist, and sign up for alerts (if this is an option). Make an appointment with your counselor to see if you fall under a special circumstance. This could be needing the class to graduate and this is the only time it can fit in your schedule. Another could be if the class is the start to a series of classes, that if you don’t start now, you will not be able to graduate from your major.

how to choose backup classes

During the first week of classes and even the second week:

Keep an eye on the waitlist and announcements from the teacher/professor for additional seats openings. If there is a chance to move off the waitlist, make sure you are keeping informed of what is going on in that class. You can do this by attending the class, asking a friend in the class, or staying in touch with the teacher’s assistant.

If you do get into your first choice:

Turn in the paperwork to be officially admitted into the class ASAP and definitely withdraw from the other straightaway. You never know, for another, the spot you are holding could be their first choice.

If you don’t get into your first choice:

Keep the larger picture in mind. Taking and staying in your backup class will help you stay on track to graduate. Plus, you could really like the class. You might find that what you thought was a bump in your plan, is a redirection into the right direction.

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