Early Registration Process for Spring 2022 - Important dates

October 28, 2021

To: FAS Faculty and all other faculty teaching in Yale College
Cc: FAS Steering; Yale College Dean’s Office Staff; FAS Dean’s Office Staff; University Registrar’s Office; Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning; FAS Department Lead Administrators, Operations Managers, Chairs Assistants, and Undergraduate Registrars

Dear colleagues,

The University Registrar’s Office recently announced the full course enrollment timeline for Yale College for spring term 2022. Please review that message as well as the Registration website, using the faculty tab under “view by affiliate.”
Based on the helpful feedback we received from many of you, this message highlights what you need to know and what you need to do by what date in order to create the smoothest possible Early Registration and Add/Drop periods. Below, you will find a timeline, answers to frequently asked questions regarding early registration and Yale Course Search (YCS), and concluding thoughts.


By November 15: Post your expanded course descriptions in Canvas. Canvas sites for spring term courses open on November 4.

By November 15: Confirm with your department registrar the estimated maximum enrollment for your courses and whether permission of the instructor is required to enroll. All courses, whether lectures or seminars, that might exceed their enrollment capacity should be flagged as requiring instructor permission. Additional information about managing enrollment in your course may be found here and in the FAQ’s below.

November 18, 9 am: Early Registration opens for students.

December 1, 5 pm: Deadline for students to request permission within Yale Course Search to enroll in limited-enrollment courses that require instructor approval. Information about how to review and approve permission requests may be found here. Requests may be submitted after this deadline and may be considered by the instructor but should receive lower priority than requests received on time.

December 8, 5 pm. Respond to student requests to enroll in your limited-enrollment course(s). You may admit or reject a request (a green check or red X will appear next to the student’s name, accordingly), or you may leave it open as a pending request. After you grant admission, each student still needs to confirm enrollment on their end, so you may want to set a deadline after which you may revoke permission.

December 15, 5 pm. Early Registration closes. At this time, set your maximum enrollment based on student demand and what your departmental resources can accommodate. See FAQ section below for more.

January 12, 9 am. Add/Drop begins. During this period, students may make adjustments to their Early Registration schedule, but they may add a course only if there is room in it.  A course at maximum capacity at the end of Early Registration will likely lose some students, which will create openings for other students to add the course.

January 18. Classes begin.

January 24, 5 pm. Add/Drop ends.

Please note that the Early Registration period is designed to provide students with an opportunity to claim a spot in a course the following term. If they have enrolled in your course, they are guaranteed a seat. During the Add/Drop period, students may join your course only as space becomes available within the numbers set by your maximum enrollment limit at the close of Early Registration. Details by course type are provided below.

Early registration for graduate students will not be implemented until the fall term of 2022 for spring 2023 courses.

Frequently Asked Questions

For all course types

The final enrollment in my fall term course was lower than the numbers I saw during early registration, and significantly lower in my lecture courses. Why?
Because students are able to enroll for 5.5 credits during Early Registration, but the average student enrollment is 4.5 credits, there is on average roughly 20% inflation in enrollment data from Early Registration. While there will be some movement during the Add/Drop period, it is unlikely that the final enrollment would exceed the Early Registration number.

What do the Course Demand Statistics (CDS) tell me?
CDS provides students and faculty real-time information on how many students enrolled using their “Registration Worksheet” and how many are simply “Visitors” (see below for more). The default view shows how many students are officially enrolled, but users can toggle the menu to see visitors and combined numbers.

What is the difference between a “Visitor” and a “Student” in my Canvas roster?
Students have two course schedule worksheets: one is their official “Registration Worksheet,” limited to 5.5 credits; the other is an informal “Canvas” worksheet, which allows students to identify up to 5 additional courses that they are still exploring. Students who have a course in their registration worksheet appear as a “Student” in Canvas, whereas students who have a course in the Canvas worksheet appear as a “Visitor.” Students with visitor status have access to the course’s Canvas site throughout Add/Drop period so that they can keep up with assignments if they wish.

What about graduate and professional school students who want to enroll in my undergraduate course?
Students in the graduate and professional schools do not yet use the YCS system to enroll in courses. If you wish to reserve some seats in a limited-enrollment undergraduate course for these students, you may modify the enrollment cap in YCS accordingly. For example, for an 18-person seminar that typically enrolls two or three graduate or professional school students, you could set the enrollment cap in YCS at 15. Note that graduate and professional school students still use the former OCS system and will appear only as “Visitors” in Canvas until the end of Add/Drop period.

For small limited-enrollment courses (e.g., seminars, labs, studio courses)

How do I set my maximum enrollment?
The size of seminars depends upon departmental custom for the course type. In most departments, the department registrar enters the standard number.

Should I require instructor permission to enroll?
That depends on the course. If you think maximum enrollment could exceed capacity, or if you want to ensure that only qualified students are permitted to enroll, you should ask your department registrar to add this requirement to your course by November 15. Otherwise, you do not need to do so.

How do I select students?
You may prioritize students based on major and class year, which are provided within the Yale Course Search registration system. You may also consider prior coursework, which you can ask students to list within the notes section of the registration system. However, unless pedagogically necessary (e.g., creative writing courses), please refrain from asking for essays, which are burdensome for students and not an inclusive practice. When the number of qualified students exceeds the number of spots in your class, random selection is most equitable. 

If spaces become available during Add/Drop, may I admit students at that time?
Yes. And if the course does not require instructor permission, students may simply add the course to their registration worksheet.

Several students requested permission to enroll in one of my seminars, and I granted permission. Why don’t they appear as a “Student” in my Canvas roster?
After students receive permission, they must formally enroll. During Early Registration, they have until December 15 to decide their final list of courses. If a student was granted permission, but has not enrolled your course, you may revoke their permission and grant it to other students who request permission.

The course I teach uses Preference Selection to admit students. How does that integrate with course registration system?
For courses that use Preference Selection (e.g., first-year seminars, and introductory English, Math, and language courses), the system places the course directly on the admitted student’s registration worksheet prior to the opening of Early Registration. Subsequent requests to enroll in a section are managed within YCS.

For lecture courses

How do I set my estimated maximum enrollment before the early registration period opens?
Before early registration opens, your departmental registrar will have distributed teaching fellow resources, typically based on past enrollment and availability as detailed in your department’s spring allocation memo. At the close of Early Registration, student demand coupled with what your program can accommodate, will determine your estimated maximum enrollment, which should be updated by your department registrar in CourseLeaf. After the maximum enrollment has been set at the close of Early Registration, it should be considered final. Any questions regarding adjustments to your estimated maximum enrollment, whether before, during, or after the Early Registration period, should be directed to Dean Pam Schirmeister at pamela.schirmeister@yale.edu. When the Add/Drop period opens, students may use the discussion section waitlist feature (newly available for the spring term) to indicate their interest in the course, but they may enroll only if spaces become available within the set maximum enrollment number.

Will there be waitlists for discussion sections?
Yes. More information will be coming from the University Registrar’s Office.

Concluding Thoughts

We are grateful for your assistance, patience and feedback as we implement a new registration system and timeline. We are working closely with the University Registrar’s Office and ITS to improve the process for students and faculty, and we hope your experience will be smooth in coming terms. We are confident that the new process will provide needed information to you as you prepare to teach in coming terms.

Tamar, Marvin, and Lynn

Tamar Szabó Gendler
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Marvin Chun
Dean of Yale College

Lynn Cooley
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences