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Choosing classes is hard. There’s tons of requirements for music majors, and a strict order in which you need to take most classes. Plus, gen eds are a pain in the butt and are sometimes actively painful. (I dunked my face in ice water for thirty seconds for a bio class once and it HURT.) Unless your advisor is a miracle worker, I guarantee that at least once in your college career you’ll need to add or drop a class after semester starts. Because you forgot about it, or because you just changed your major your senior year – doesn’t matter! You can change your schedule in a way that ruffles as few feathers as possible and keeps your grades high.

Don’t drop a class without already having the replacement in place. This is the A no. 1 rule of class dropping – if you’re dropping it to add a different class, get into the new class first! A lot of class scheduling systems have a swap function, if you can’t get the new class without getting rid of the old class. Use it. The worst case scenario is dropping one class because you want a different one, and then getting stuck without either.

Don’t drop a class if it’s a major requirement or keeping you eligible for financial aid. A lot of students need to have a full-time course load to receive loans or other financial aid. If you’re at the bottom end of full-time, be very careful dropping classes without replacing them. You don’t want your tuition money revoked! Similarly, don’t drop a class if it’s a requirement for your major unless absolutely necessary. You’ll have to take it eventually, after all – might as well be now.

Of course, if you swap out the class that’s required instead of dropping it, you’re fine. Just make sure it fulfills your requirements!

Email the professor and explain that you’re adding/dropping the class. Some professors actually – gasp! – care about their students! Send an email stating that you’re dropping the class for x reason and thank them, or adding the course and want to know what you’ve missed. Professors LOVE students who are on top of things, and it never hurts to earn a couple brownie points.

Be courteous! Be prepared to be a little behind when you walk into a class you added, and double check the syllabus to try to be as on top of things as possible. You don’t want to slow down the flow of the class for the other students more than necessary. On the flip side, don’t leave group partners hanging in a class you dropped. Get them all your materials and probably send an apology email, just to be polite.

Adding or dropping a course after semester starts isn’t a huge deal. It can feel a little intimidating, but that’s okay. Just make sure to communicate with everyone it affects, and you should be in the clear.

You got this!

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