Drop it Like It’s Hot: Selecting Courses at Yale

Bjork sitting at a computer that says "Yale"

If you’re an expert procrastinator like me, the thought of choosing courses at Yale can seem daunting. What if all the classes I want become full? What if I miss an application window? What if this impacts the rest of my life in some permanent and terrifying way?

Oprah Winfrey meme of her panicking
Me thinking about deadlines.

Thankfully, these questions aren’t necessary, as course selection at Yale is actually a pretty straightforward process. Coming into every semester, you have hundreds of classes to choose from, ranging from humanities favorites like, “We Interrupt this Program: The Multidimensional Histories of Queer and Trans Politics,” to STEM stand-outs like, “Fundamentals of Organometallic Chemistry,” and, “Black Holes.”When deciding which courses to take, there are a few parameters to follow, like meeting Yale’s distributional and major requirements. Overall, though, students are granted quite a bit of freedom when it comes time to enroll in courses.

Zac Efron smiling
Me looking at the endless possibilities!

On one hand, this level of freedom is amazing – I am behind the driver’s wheel. On the other hand, this level of freedom is horrifying — I, procrastinator ME, am behind the driver’s wheel!? With so many tantalizing courses to choose from, the selection process can seem deeply overwhelming. How on earth could I possibly narrow down all these fantabulous classes? Who is going to tell me I shouldn’t take another course just because the name sounds fun and cute?

Jeremy Strong from Succession contemplating life.
Once again, me with deadlines.

Luckily, even if I haven’t gotten it all figured out by the exact deadline, the “Add/Drop Period” at Yale makes my life much easier. Essentially, there is a roughly 2-week period  at the beginning of each semester where we can add or remove courses from our schedule without penalty. This allows us to visit a class before officially enrolling in it, or to leave a class we had signed up for if we are now realizing it’s not our jam (or the workload is just a bit too much for my “chill” semester). As someone as indecisive as me, this grace period is ideal for turning my primordial soup of a schedule into something tangible and solidified. Without my decisions needing to be final, I feel less pressure to make the “right” choice immediately, and my perfect schedule can come about more naturally.

Miley Cyrus sitting at the computer smiling, looking at Yale's course selection website.
Me looking at my gorgeous and finalized schedule!

Although there is of course a hard deadline eventually (whenever that is), the freedom and time that Yale grants with the Add/Drop Period at the beginning of every semester is quite the godsend. #ICanProcrastinateWithoutShameAtYale