Dropping and adding: An evaluation of the new policy for making up deficiencies

We at the Record commend the faculty for voting to amend the policy regarding the process of making up academic deficiencies incurred in the fall semester. The change creates more equal opportunity for students to make up classes, regardless of when the deficiency was incurred. Previously, students who dropped a class during the spring semester had only the summer and fall semesters to fulfill their requirements, while those who dropped a class during the fall had Winter Study, summer and fall. Therefore, the former policy created a significant and impactful imbalance, giving those who dropped courses during spring semester only two opportunities to regain the necessary credits as opposed to the three opportunities given to those who dropped a class in the fall semester. The new policy allows those students with deficiencies incurred in the spring to utilize Winter Study as an opportunity to make up for their deficiencies. As such, the College’s new policy allows everyone three opportunities to make up academic deficiencies. We believe this to be a particularly important and positive improvement to the existing policy.

However, these changes do not address the potential issue of overenrolled Winter Study courses designed to fill deficiencies. There are currently only two courses available, and with an increase in the number of students eligible to apply for these courses, the problem of overenrollment may be exacerbated. For many students, Winter Study is the most desirable time to make up deficiencies. This can be attributed to the difficulty and stress of taking five courses during a semester, something especially illogical for a student who previously had to drop a course perhaps because of an overwhelming academic workload. Additionally, taking courses in the summer at other institutions can be inconvenient both geographically and financially. Choosing this summer option can also be especially difficult in combination with a summer internship or job. For those students who had obtained a deficiency in the spring, Winter Study is their last opportunity to fulfill their requirements. As such, it is imperative that there are enough spaces available in these Winter Study courses for them to utilize this option. Therefore, it seems integral to the success of the altered policy that the potential overenrollment of Winter Study makeup courses be addressed in tandem.

We at the Record believe that the best solution would entail an expansion of the Winter Study offerings designed to address deficiencies. This increase would be significant in addressing not only the issue of overenrollment, but also the dearth of course offerings so that there would be courses appropriate for junior or senior students looking to compensate for deficiencies. The two courses currently available are both introductory courses, one in English and the other in math. The vast majority of juniors and seniors are not eligible to take such courses. As such, we believe that not only should more courses be offered in order to accommodate appropriate numbers but also a larger variety of courses should be available in order to address different student demographics. However, we think it would be most appropriate for all courses to be introductory courses, as these would be the most convenient and accessible for the largest variety of people. To accommodate upperclassmen, there should be introductory courses offered that address more than just the popular areas of English and mathematics. Adding several such classes would be an important step toward solving the issue of lack of access to Winter Study courses for those with deficiencies in their academic records.

We at the Record consider the most recent changes to the policy on deficiencies in one’s academic record to be wholly positive. They are sure to make the lives of students with academic deficiencies more convenient and less stressful, but the changes can only fulfill their full positive potential if accompanied by changes to the Winter Study offerings.

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