The information in this section refers to any changes made to a student's schedule after his/her initial registration in resident instruction, Continuing Education, and World Campus credit courses. Schedule adjustment includes adding, dropping, or late dropping a course as well as changing from one section of a course to another. Consultation with an adviser is recommended before students change their course selections. (See Schedule Planning for information on selecting courses.)
To drop all courses after classes begin, a student must withdraw. If a scheduling error has occurred, administrative course cancellation may be appropriate. Before a student's first day of class for a semester or session, a student can cancel registration by dropping all of the classes he/she scheduled.
If a class is scheduled and a student stops attending it without officially dropping or late dropping the class (or withdrawing from the semester/session), the student will receive a grade of F.
- Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid
- Course Drop and Add Periods
- Section Change
- Course Add (controlled, credit overload, full, multiple campuses, part-semester, time conflict, or World Campus)
- Late Course Add
- Late Course Drop
- Impact of Reduced Credit Load
- Dropping Down in a Sequence of Courses
LionPATH help provides instructions for scheduling adjustments that can be made using LionPATH functionality: Adding a Class, Dropping a Class, and Swapping a Class. The Registrar provides instructions for all registration and scheduling adjustment activities. If you have questions, contact the Registrar at your campus.
After making a schedule change in LionPATH, the final step provides an opportunity for the student to view the results. An example follows:
There is no processing fee for schedule adjustments during the drop/add period. After drop/add there is a $6.00 processing fee for each course late add and late drop.
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Requirement
Students who are considering reducing their credit load after the drop/add period should consult with staff in the Office of Student Aid. Late dropping a course, withdrawing, or failing a class can have negative impacts on a student's current and future financial aid status.
There is no limit to the number of times a student can use the drop and add procedure. Courses dropped during this period are not reflected on students' academic records.
The drop and add period begins on the first day of class. For full-semester courses, the drop period is the first six calendar days of a semester. The add period extends one calendar day after the end of the drop period. The dates for the drop and add periods are listed on Academic Calendars.
The length of the drop and add period varies based on a calculation to allow approximately the same amount of time for adding and dropping a part-semester class as the time allowed for adding and dropping a fifteen week class (see Part-Semester Courses). In LionPATH (Student Center, Academics, My Class Schedule), the Drop Calendar for every class on the student's schedule (including part-semester courses) is displayed by clicking on the deadline icon.
After the drop and add periods (see above), through the date that the course ends, a student may change from one section of a course to another by obtaining the signature of the new section's instructor on a registration drop/add form, obtaining departmental approval, and processing the change at the department offering the course or the Registrar's office at the student's campus.
There is no notation made on the student's transcript for a section change, late drop credits are not used.
A student who missed class(es) prior to adding a course is responsible for the material that was missed. Students adding classes after they begin should meet with course instructors to get assignments and make up the work.
For instructions on how to schedule a course that is full, read Enrolling in a Course That's Full.
Enrollment in a course may be controlled in order to reserve space for a special population (e.g., students in a particular semester standing and/or major). Controlled courses can be identified in LionPATH Search for Classes by clicking on the link that is provided for each class. If a class (or section of a class) has controls, details are provided in Enrollment Information and/or Class Notes. A student who is not approved to enroll in a class may request an exception by contacting the appropriate department.
The University's registration system will not allow students to schedule classes that meet during overlapping periods. The student attempting to schedule classes that conflict may be able to make arrangements with the instructor of one of the classes to miss part of the class in order to go to the other class. Provisions may be made to make up missed class work. A registration drop/add form must be completed with the signatures of both instructors whose classes are involved indicating approval of a course add (or late add). The form is then processed at the Registrar's office.
Students may not register for more than 19 credits (a credit overload) before the start of a semester. On or after the first day of classes students can add overload credis(s) by adding the course. Before adding an overload, the student should read Considerations when Planning a Schedule and think through the decision with an academic adviser.
World Campus courses are available to all Penn State students, regardless of location, based on Course Registration Priorities.
Students may seek enrollment in course work at more than one Penn State campus in a semester or session by following the procedures for Multiple Campus Registration.
After the add deadline for a class, it is still possible for a student to add a class by "late add." A student considering a late add should discuss both make up work and grading with the course instructor before adding the class. To ensure this discussion and instructor approval, a late add requires the signature of the course instructor on a registration drop/add form.
If the course is full or departmentally controlled, the signature of the department head of the offering department is also required. The student takes the completed form to the department offering the course or to the Registrar's office to be processed. Students are assessed a processing fee for every course that is late added.
A late add may be scheduled as an audit if the course was never scheduled by the student at any time during the semester.
The deadline for a late add is the last day of classes in the semester/session when the course is offered. To late add a course after the end of a semester or session, the student must submit a petition to the University Faculty Senate.
After the drop deadline for a course, it is still possible for a student to drop a course by using "late drop." For full-semester courses, the beginning of the late-drop period and the late drop deadline are on the Academic Calendar. In LionPATH (Student Center, Academics, My Class Schedule), late drop deadlines are listed for every class on the student's schedule (including part-semester courses), by clicking on the deadline icon .
Because the decision to late drop a course can have far-reaching ramifications, a student should consult with an adviser when considering late dropping a course to fully consider the impact of a reduced credit load.
The Late-Drop Checklist provides a framework for advising discussions about late-drop.
A student can late drop a course on LionPATH. The LionPATH Undergraduate Students/Parents Help for dropping a class provides step-by-step instructions. The process for dropping and late dropping courses are the same.
Note: Once a student has been informed that he/she is suspected of a violation of the academic integrity policy, the student may not drop the course during the adjudication process.
Beginning fall 2016, when a student late drops a course, the action will be reflected on his/her record with the symbol LD.
Prior to fall 2010, when a student late dropped a course, the course instructor submitted one of the following symbols in place of a letter grade: WF, WN, or WP. Beginning fall 2010, when a student late dropped a course, the action was reflected on his/her record with the symbol WN.
Effective fall 2016, there is no longer a limit to the number of times a student can late drop courses. However, when a course is late dropped it is counted toward the limit when Repeating Courses.
Students should be aware that certain programs or agencies require a minimum number of credits. Before dropping courses, students should understand the Definition and Implications of a Part-Time Credit Load.
Contact the Office of Student Aid to discuss the impact a reduced credit load may have on both current and future aid.
It may be possible for a student who began a sequence of courses at too high a level to drop down to a more appropriate course in the sequence after the drop period without using late drop credits. To discuss the possibility of dropping down in a sequence, the student should contact the department offering the courses.
Last Update: October 2016