What if the course I want is full?

Tips for Getting Into Closed or Restricted Courses

Sometimes, by the time you get to register, the courses you want are closed. This page contains general tips for dealing with this situation, things to consider if you still can’t get the course you want, and a list of department-by-department policies and recommendations for what to do to get into that special class.

How much trouble you’re willing to go through to try to get into a course depends on you. It’s always a good idea to have alternative courses in mind, and to register for them in the meantime. Although it can be frustrating to be closed out of a class, sometimes it’s better to stay with an alternate course rather than to still be trying to settle into your class schedule even a few days into the quarter. UW Bothell courses move very quickly, and it is easy to get behind if you add a course late. Still, if the course you want is closed, you may still be able to gain admission in one of these ways. You can add and drop classes with no restrictions all the way through the first week of the quarter.

Set up automatic notifications

Receive a text message or email when space becomes available in a course you are interested in during the quarter registration process. Notify.UW is integrated into the UW Bothell Time Schedule and MyUW and can help you get registered for high-demand courses.

There is a great deal of dropping and adding, and it’s amazing how many students eventually get into a course by finding a space that just opened up. You may find that seats for certain courses open up on the cancellation date.

One thing to always keep in mind about the Time Schedule: the front page does not show real-time enrollment; it is only updated once a day at midnight. To see how many seats there really are you need to either click on the 5-digit Schedule Line Number (SLN) or go to the Enrollment Summary (available from the upper right of each department’s Time Schedule page). This is especially crucial later in registration and the first few days of the quarter when students are making a lot of schedule changes.

Contact the instructor

Sometimes instructors will “overload” you into the course—although they aren’t required to overload, and most won’t do so until the quarter starts and they can see what the demand is. Some courses and some instructors never overload—but it never hurts to ask.

Attend the first class of the quarter

If you’re the only student who wants an overload, your chances are good. Even if you’re not the only student, if you go to class (so you don’t miss material) and keep an eye on the online time schedule, you’ll often find that someone drops the class in the first few days. There is a lot of schedule changing going on during the first few days of the quarter. Keep in mind that some departments and/or instructors don’t overload. Check the department listings below to see each department’s general policy regarding overloads.

Jointly-offered courses

Some UW Bothell courses are “jointly offered,” which means one course is offered under two names. An example is B EDUC 255/ BIS 255 Critical Diversity Studies. B EDUC 255 and BIS 255 are the same course, same times and places, same instructor. In the Time Schedule these courses have the notation “J,” and if you click on the SLN you’ll see the other name that the course is offered under. You can enroll in a jointly-offered course under either title, and there may be registration restrictions under one title but not under the other, or one may be full while the other is still open.

If you still can’t get in

Remember that although the very popular courses tend to fill first, there are still other courses that may fulfill graduation requirements for you. Run a Degree Audit (DARS) from MyUW or through MyPlan and see what kinds of graduation requirements you have left to complete (e.g., VLPA, I&S, NW). Use the General Education Requirement Course Search or our list of Suggested Areas of Knowledge Courses to find open courses that count toward these requirements. Who knows, maybe you’ll stumble upon what turns out to be your favorite college course!

Opt for plan B

If the courses you can’t get into are prerequisites for your intended major, think about taking courses that work toward other majors you’re considering—especially if your first choice has competitive admission.

Map it out

Plan out a timeline for preparing for and completing your major. Do the courses have to be taken in sequence? Are the courses offered every quarter? How many credits does your major require? It might turn out that your timeline would not be affected by a one- or two-quarter delay.

Consider Summer courses

UW Bothell offers many summer courses, and many of the restrictions in place during the autumn, winter, and spring are not in place in the summer.
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