The following article has been revised to reflect changes introduced for the 2021–22 scheduling year. The original document was titled “Frequently Asked Questions about Drop/Adds” by Ms. Gray and was published on CA Connect on September 9, 2019.
The first few days of the school year are often the most hectic: really hectic, like if a bus of students was jet-streamed into a new world of paper and screens and talking staircases. Though more seasoned drop/adders may find increasingly greater luck in navigating the scheduling waters, the basics of drop/add—the reasons for it—can slip by. So, to dig out those basics, here are the things you need to know about drop/add. Why does it carry such a terrifying reputation?
The drop/add periods begin within a week of the start of each semester. Often, an individual’s schedule will include only some of the courses they requested the previous spring. One student may have since found a course they prefer over their original choice. Or, a student may have decided that the rigor of a particular course does not match them. They—let the sample student be called C—might edit their schedule using the first and/or second drop/add period. During the first period, C may request changes to first-semester, year, and second-semester courses; the second period, unsurprisingly, is reserved for spring-semester course changes.
This year, drop/add forms will be accessed online via email; further instructions will be shared at the start of school. Approval rules will remain largely as they have always been.
The Academic Office updates the Open Course List every day of the drop/add period, a fact often overlooked by students rushing to coordinate potentially many courses. Before submitting any drop/add form, C should check that their drop/add request(s) align with that day’s Open Course List.
Not all requests for changes will go through. A drop will usually be approved, as long as the drop does not violate Concord Academy academic requirements (see: page 8 of the Course Catalog). Adds, on the other hand, can go wrong in several technical, logistical, or otherwise all-around boring ways, the most humorous, if unfortunate, of which are often block conflicts. Assume that C is currently taking Fashion Design: Material Illustration during E13 (the first and third weekly meeting times of E block). C may not then request to take Earth Science: Natural Hazards during E block that same semester without dropping Fashion Design. Obviously.
Schedulers will email students if their changes went through or were unsuccessful before the start of the next day. Students should not begin following a new schedule until they receive confirmation of success. If the change was unsuccessful, after all, students would be marked an unexcused absence for missing their original class.
C should consult their advisor, a friendly faculty member, a friend, or the Director of Studies (who may be all of the above) with specific questions about how to fill out a form. A glossary of related terms is readily available on CA Connect. A reminder: Section switches typically must be made as a necessity originating from adding a separate course; C may not, for example, switch from B block of Sophomore English to E block of Sophomore English if C is not at the same time taking on a new B block commitment. With some specific exceptions, year courses typically also must be taken in the same block, and C may not take B block Sophomore English during the first semester and then take A block Sophomore English during the second (at least, not if the Director of Studies does not approve it). Finally, the All Classes Reference List on CAConnect is for planning purposes only and should not be confused with the Open Course List.
Drop/add is, in some regards, the Edward Hyde to Course Selection’s Jekyll: Far more fast-paced and a good deal wilder, but ultimately comparably intense. The consternation concerning choosing courses may simply stem from the difficult prospect of deciding which—if anything—is best for you—an unfamiliar feeling seeing as students spend much of the rest of the year better-adjusted within those courses. There are often many “right” selections. Many students do not put in drop/add requests at all: that choice is equally entirely valid. Happy school year!