The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer is a discussion with Sharon Mueller, Director of Advising and Policy and Kathy Barrett, Associate Director of Advising about both of the deadlines. Listen in to what they want each student to think about when deciding if they should add/drop a course or change their grading option for a non-degree tech course. Both deadlines are on Friday, September 22 at 11:59 pm. Please do not wait until the last moments to make your changes – this is a firm deadline and you don’t want technical problems to hinder it.
- Make an appointment with your ESS Adviser
LAURA VOGT: Welcome to the (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineering. I’m Laura Vogt, the communications and events manager for Engineering Student Services. And it’s the beginning of the fifth week of classes and we have two important deadlines this week. Both of them are going to be on Friday so I’ve invited Sharon Mueller and Kathy Barrett back to talk about the add/drop deadline and the technical grading option change. Sharon, before we start, why don’t you remind people who you are.
SHARON MUELLER: I’m Sharon Muller, the director of advising and policy for Engineering Student Services.
LAURA: And Kathy what about you.
KATHY BARRETT: I’m Kathy Barrett and I’m the associate director of advising in Engineering Student Services.
LAURA: So the first question on my mind is how should students decide if they should drop a course?
SHARON: So I would say of course first of all you have to remember that you need to maintain at least 12 units unless you’ve been approved for a reduced course load. So if you haven’t, everybody needs to maintain at least 12 units, and also you need to make sure that you’re maintaining at least two technical courses for your major for this semester as well. So let’s say you have that and let’s say, you have more than that, and so you’re trying to decide, well, should I get rid of that extra technical course and drop down to 12 units? And so what I would say to consider whether or not to do that at this point. I would say sort of think about what is your course load right now. How does it feel to you right now? Do you feel like you’re just sort of barely treading water? Do you feel like oh yeah I got tons of time on my hands. Or do you already feel a little squeezed? And I would say whatever you’re feeling now with your course load, I think you can pretty much guarantee that the minute the drop deadline passes you’re going to feel about 10 times more pressure and probably absolutely true around weeks 8 nine 10 when things are really heavy duty. You’ve got several projects due, many midterms, maybe a paper due. So courses haven’t quite ramped up yet to their full to the full level of energy that you’re going to need to actually do well in them. So I think that’s really important. You might be, you know, sort of treading water now but think about, OK, if my workload doubled at this point how is that going to feel. So it is a really hard time actually to make that decision. It’s you don’t quite know yet what are the full demands of this course. So be prepared to step that up and if you feel like I don’t know if I can step up anymore then I would say it might be a good idea to consider dropping something to make your course load more manageable drain weeks nine and 10.
KATHY: I think what people worry about too is they’re going to fall behind. And I think for a lot of students especially kids who came in with quite a bit of AP, they may already be in math 53 or 54 so they’re already sort of a year ahead in the math curriculum. So they they’re not behind. And also there is some recession whether it’s here or at a community college. There’s potential to catch up during the summer too even if it feels like they’re going to be behind. So I would say that’s another thing I think students worry about is they’re going to get behind if they drop something. But it really can be helpful if they are feeling overwhelmed at this point in the semester and they’ve taken on more technical courses than they can really handle right now. It’s OK to drop and we can sit and plan with them to schedule to figure out well how do we catch up if we feel behind. But I think if you end up with two technical courses for your major, You still should be in good shape. And for some students again they’re already ahead so they’re not going to fall behind.
SHARON: I was just going to say I think another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re, let’s say, you want to get an internship this summer, we are kind of ramping up into this season of recruitment for that, and a lot of that happens in the fall. And a lot of the career fairs happen in the fall. So if you want an internship in the summer just keep in mind that’s going to take some time to be interviewing to be meeting with people submitting resumes going to career fairs and also think about what are your commitments outside of school some of the student organizations I know students are pretty involved in those and have those ramped up yet too. So it’s also thinking about your course load but also what’s outside of your course load. And I would say that it is important to be really mindful of what is manageable for you. And if students are worried about falling behind or they’re just not sure what to drop I would certainly encourage students
to come in this week to meet with their advisor to make that decision.
KATHY: One thing I just wanted to follow up with Sharon mentioned that students could have permission for a reduced course load. So those are students who might work with the DSP program so they’ve been given permission to take a reduced course load. We also will work with students who are parents, or if you are a student and you have to take care of a parent, or if you have other family obligations or you have to work for financial reasons. We would definitely encourage students to come in and meet with their adviser talk about what their schedule looks like. Can they handle 12 units given their other outside obligations. We certainly do want to look at things that students have to do like care for young children or care for an elderly parent or students who have DSP accommodation. They need to get a letter from their DSP adviser letting us know that they have permission to take a reduced course load. And we do need them to follow the deadline and also have that to us by Friday. So those folks do want to be working on that and have that to us by Friday so they can get their schedule to work where they want it to be.
SHARON: And one other category would be students on the fall degree list if they don’t need 12 minutes of courses in order to graduate. And then they’ve decided maybe I just want to take what I need to graduate. That’s also possible. So they should also talk to their adviser about taking reduced course load for their final semester as long as they’re finishing up their degree requirements.
KATHY: And they’re absolved from the 12 units, and the two technicals, so graduating seniors can take advantage of taking just what they need to graduate.
LAURA: And if you’re having to decide between the courses that you’re currently enrolled and then which one to drop if you’re feeling like you’re overwhelmed. How do you make that decision or is there some. What’s the resource for them to make that decision.
SPEAKER: So I would say I mean one thing to be mindful of are prerequisites and course sequences. So let’s say for example if you’re currently in physics 7A and you’re also in math 1B well technically you can’t really drop math 1B because that is a prerequisite or co-requisite to stay in physics day. So you’d really be doing yourself a disservice by dropping the math course that provides the knowledge you need to be successful in 7A. So that’s something to be mindful of and then you know think about what do I plan to take next semester and am I taking courses now that are prerequisites for what I’m taking next semester. So to kind of think ahead and think about what am I taking that you know really doesn’t need to be taken this semester. And let’s say you know all of your courses are like that then maybe think about which one do I feel I’m struggling in the most at this point. Sometimes it might just be one course that you’re struggling in can but it can really pull down all your courses because you’re putting so much time and energy into that one course. And so just you know those are some things to think about. And if that’s all very confusing. We’re here to help students make that decision.
LAURA: So we definitely have the website to make the appointment with your advisor is engineering.berkeley.edu/ESS and all that. Also put a link up to it on our welcome engineering.berkeley.edu Website. And I think we kind of wanted to talk a little bit about if you’re waitlisted for a course. Is that something that you need to address right now with this drop deadline?
SHARON: Yes because it’s actually the deadline also. So this Friday the 22nd is also the add deadline. And I just want to remind students it’s really really important that you check your schedule on CalCentral just to make sure that you’re actually enrolled in the courses you’ve been attending and thinking you’re enrolled in, you might have been told, Oh sure, Yeah we’re going to take you off the waitlist we’re going to get you in the course. You want to make sure that actually happened. Sometimes it could be that you were told that but that information never actually got to the enrollment manager who needed to enroll you. So it is really important to make sure that you’re in the courses that you intend to take.
KATHY: And I would say the other thing to think about if you’re on a waitlist still and the time for the class the course that you’re waitlisted in has any conflicts with the classes that you’re currently enrolled in, you’ll never be able to get off that waitlist because we know that CalCentral won’t let you enroll in a time conflict. So even though you know, oh, well the class I’m enrolled in is webcast and I actually don’t have to be there Tuesday/Thursday at 9:30 so I can add it and this other 9:30 class I’m waitlisted for, they don’t know that and CalCentral so they’re never going to add you. The department schedule or the enrollment manager can override that so you can go talk to them go to the department office for the classroom waitlist. Then if you know that there’s space in the class and you’ve kind of been told, You should be added, you should go check in with them because there is a possibility they could then override that conflict. Of course you certainly don’t want to override conflict and I don’t know how comfortable they would be overriding a conflict when it’s two classes that you should be in both at the same time and you’re just choosing not to go to one. We wouldn’t recommend that. And also that could also present a final exam scheduling problem so not a guarantee that you’ll get it. But certainly we know, unless you go talk to the Enrollment Manager, time conflicts won’t be resolved by automatically so you do have to do something to take care of that.
LAURA: And then the second big important deadline that we have this week is the grade option change deadline which is changing from P/NP to (letter grade) or vice versa. So what do we need to know about that?
SHARON: Yeah. So it’s this Friday the 22nd is also the deadline to change your grading options for technical courses that don’t fulfill any requirements for your major. Of course, technical courses that fulfill requirements for your major have to be taken for a letter grade. So you don’t have a grading option deadline for those because you don’t have an option. So what we mean by grading option deadline is that if you’re taking a technical course for fun and it cannot fulfill any requirements for your major, It can’t fulfill technical electives or anything on your degree track. You do have the option you can take it pass no pass or letter grade. But this Friday the 22nd is your deadline to make that choice. OK. So that would be important. Think about if you’re taking a course for fun and you’re realizing that it’s even though it’s really fun for you and it’s taking a lot of time just consider, Well is it more important to me to get a good grade in that course or should I really focus on getting a good grade in my course for my major and then maybe I’ll just switch that one to pass and pass.
KATHY: And just to clarify too, it really has to be a course that we can’t use for anything. It can’t be one of the things we like, Oh I know, I’m just going to take something else later on. So I’m not going to use that one right now. As long as I can at this point, you know, your adviser could take that class and use it to satisfy his requirement. It’s not something you can do pass no pass, so even though you know in your mind it’s like oh I plan to do something else later don’t worry about it, it’s like we can’t let you drop it or change to P/NP. So it’s not a huge list of things sometimes and certainly for freshmen and sophomores probably less. There’s not a lot of courses that they probably are taking they can do that but if you have a question of course e-mail your adviser come in and make an appointment. We’re happy to let you know. Yes, that’s a course, it is an option for you to do P/NP, or no that’s not going to take that letter grade it or maybe it means, oh then that’s something I want to drop because I just was taking it for fun. Now I can’t change it to P/NP. I actually don’t want to keep it. So that is the time to kind of think about what you want to do with that class. Depending on what your options are.
LAURA: And we actually have a list on our Website of all of the academic deadlines that are coming up so if you go to engineering.berkeley.edu/ESS. On the left side is a list that we update every semester so it tells you when the fifth week deadline is. I think we’ve got a 10th week deadline for humanities and social science.
SHARON: Yes that’s a change creating option for humanities and social sciences.
KATHY: except for your reading and composition. But if you’re taking an American cultures course you can do P/NP, so anything else you’re doing besides the reading composition course you have that option and you have 10th week so you have a long time to decide about that. It’s just a technical one that’s coming up now.
LAURA: So is there anything else about these two upcoming deadlines that we’ve got this week that we haven’t gone over that we want to just reiterate one more time. It’s Friday at 11:59 p.m. on your CalCentral.
KATHY: And you need to be all done and out of CalCentral. You can’t be half way through. So don’t go on at 11:59 and start your process.
SHARON: I would say its a little risky to start probably any time after 11 just in case there is some kind of malfunction. So I would say you know preferably you’re not making that decision at 11:00 at night. Sometimes those decisions don’t end well.
So yeah I would just reiterate check your schedule and call Central make sure that you’re in the courses that you thought you were in and make sure that you’re mindful of these drop deadlines and the technical P/NP a letter grade deadline.
So yes that’s true. Everyone needs to be in 12 units unless you have permission otherwise and two technical for your major. So that’s the starting point for everyone. And then we can help you figure out you know nuances of your schedule after that if you need it. But that’s what everyone should be by the end of the fifth week.
LAURA: and ESS is a fantastic place for resources to come in and talk to advisors, peer advisor, you can make appointments online,
KATHY: drop in on Wednesday,
SHARON:in case the appointments fill up quickly since that is the drop deadline.
Wednesdays are always drop in so students can come on Wednesday.
LAURA: Fantastic Well thank you both so much for stopping by today and having the conversation with me and for making sure our students understand these two pretty important deadlines we’ve got.