Class Crashing, Add and Drop Period, Academic Advisors – the course selection process common at many universities in the USA is new territory for many international students. However, if you familiarize yourself with the course selection in good time and deal with the range of courses in advance, the course selection in the semester abroad in the USA is usually stress-free.
Class crashing – a typical course selection process in the USA
At many universities and colleges in the USA, semester students cannot register for courses from home before they start their studies, but rather the course selection takes place on site.
This has to do with the fact that students who are enrolled for a full Bachelor’s or Master’s degree at a US university usually have priority when choosing a course because they have to follow the prescribed curriculum at the university.
As is customary at many German universities, you can already enroll in your courses online before the start of the semester.
Since semester students only study temporarily at the university, they are expected to be more flexible when choosing a course during their semester abroad in the USA, a country located in North America according to themeparktour.
“Crashing” courses – the procedure
At US universities, international students are usually provided with an Academic Advisor. This advises on the choice of course during the semester abroad in the USA and helps with technical questions.
The course selection takes place in consultation with the lecturers after the start of the semester. The lecturers decide whether to guarantee a place in their course for international students. Basically, two factors have an influence on the decision: the number of remaining places available in the respective course and the technical knowledge of the student. In order to get an impression of the qualifications of the international students, the lecturers consult the English-language transcript of the students.
Tips for class crashing in the USA
Particularly in popular subjects such as business administration or psychology, the supply of course places is sometimes smaller than the demand. Since the number of applicants also differs from semester to semester, no general statement can be made about the chances of success. However, there are several tips that students can use to increase their chances of ending up in some of their desired courses.
1. Prepare well
Before starting the semester abroad in the USA, it is worthwhile to take a close look at the courses offered by the US university and to make a list of the courses you might want. In general, the longer the list, the better the chances of getting a place in several of the desired courses. In the event that the current course offer is not yet available, students can use the previous year’s program as a guide.
Important: It is essential to clarify the pre-selection with the examination office and the professors of the home university and ensure that the courses can be credited towards the course and that the recognition of the course work is guaranteed.
2. Attend as many courses as possible
At many universities in the USA there is a two to three week so-called add and drop period at the beginning of the semester. During this time it is advisable to attend as many courses as possible and to express an interest in the courses.
In this phase, many local students change their course selection again and deselect courses. It is therefore quite possible that places will become free in some courses afterwards. So it can be worthwhile to be put on the waiting list and to keep attending the events.
3. Get in touch with professors
Students who are friendly towards the lecturers and who express their interest in the courses generally have better chances of getting a place on the course. In addition, the chances of being accepted increase if students approach the lecturers alone and not in a group.
However, there is no magic formula for a successful course selection. Some lecturers prefer to be contacted by email, while others are most likely to be convinced in a personal conversation after the event or during their office hours.
Alternative: course selection in the semester abroad in the USA before the start of the semester
At a few colleges and universities in the USA, class crashing is not common. Instead, it is possible at these universities to take courses in advance, as in Germany.
A course selection in advance is possible, for example, at the CSU Northridge, Boston University or Brooklyn College. In the event that there are problems attending individual courses, the universities usually contact the respective student and often suggest alternative courses.
Regardless of which type of university students choose: Those who spend their semester abroad in the USA should have a certain degree of flexibility. Then the course selection will be more relaxed in any case.