Students stuck on waitlists during registration

Zoë Howard

Psychology freshman Trevor Liu has not moved on the waitlist for a history class since he registered earlier this month. 

“I’ve been stuck in spot 168 out of 197 since I registered,” Liu said. “At this point, I’m pretty worried that I won’t get a seat in the class.”

While being waitlisted for classes during registration is common at UT, students often express frustration over getting “stuck” on a waitlist.

“No one actually seems to know why some waitlists move and others don’t,” Liu said. “Not knowing if you have a chance to get into a certain class is just an added stress to registration.”

Assistant registrar Bethany Bell said there is no single reason for the inconsistency of waitlists.

“There are many different reasons for waitlists to be ‘stuck,’ which vary from department to department,” Bell said. “Waitlists are controlled by the department of the specific class. So, the department itself decides when to open or close waitlists and how many seats will be on the list.”

To ease tensions during registration, UT offers swap classes, which guarantee students will not lose any of the classes they originally registered for while waiting for a spot in another class to open. “Swap classes are completely optional for students on waitlists, but are extremely helpful during the registration process,” Bell said.

When a student chooses a swap class on their schedule through the registrar, they will stay in the class until a seat opens in the class they are waitlisted in. When a seat is available, the system automatically drops the swap class from the student’s schedule and places them into the available class. 

Computer science freshman Ansh Jain said using swap classes made his registration experience less stressful.

“Knowing that the system would automatically drop my previous class and put me in the class I wanted when space opened up took away a lot of the stress that comes with registration,” Jain said.

Jain said it would still be useful to know if a department has paused a certain waitlist.

“I do really wish departments would clearly state when they pause the waitlist for a specific class,” Jain said. “Knowing undoubtedly if a waitlist is closed and the reasons why would help students decide whether or not to stay on the list.”