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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Shopping for classes can be fun

Published: February 4, 2005
Section: News

The moans and groans of returning to academic life after settling back into the comfortable ennui of home were accompanied by confusion for students wondering what classes to take this semester.

Brandeiss shopping period policy, wherein students are encouraged to shop for classes attending all the classes that might interest them from the first day of the semester until Tuesday caused mixed reactions for students.

Students often take as many as seven classes trying to find which four or five classes fit their interests and needs. In the process, students try to keep up with the workload for each course concurrently so that they do not fall behind.

Jon Zornow 08 stated, I just shopped for one class, my math class. I attended classes for 20b and 21b for a week and a half or so before I decided that 20b was right for me. It was partially looking at the homework for 21b which helped me make up my mind [about which course to take.]

However, some students said they feel that the shopping period actually causes more stress because they are nervous about getting into a course off the waitlist. A student could be signed up for a course during the shopping period and block another student who wants to take. , Alsoand, attending taking back-ups up classes in the meantime can make for a heavy workload.

It is important for students to be in communication with the professors of the courses that they are considering so that the [members of the] faculty are informed and can plan, Dean Michelle Rosenthal advised. It is helpful for students to let professors know if they are thinking about adding a course and to communicate if they have decided to drop it.

The shopping period allows students to evaluate whether or not the workload of classes is right for them and if the subject and teacher interest them.

The whole reason that I was shopping around was to reduce my stress later in the semester. Last semester I didnt do very well in my math class, so I wanted to be extra cautious while picking a class for this semester, said Zornow stated.

When asked if a student should bother to try a new class after missing some of the earlier classes, Rosenthal stated, I think that it is up to the individual studentbut the key is to shop responsiblyI encourage students to ask course professors for syllabi and to begin to become familiar with course material.

The shopping period policy may be a stressor, but Prof. Paul DiZio stated, I like the idea of students shopping for classes. Shopping for the best deal is something that gets everyone excited, and Im all for enthusiasm! Rearranging things in response to changing enrollments is a small price to pay.

Prof. William Kapelle agreed, I am a militant supporter of the shopping period.
It encourages students to explore new fields. It reduces the amount of pain in the university, and it has never disrupted the beginning of one of my classes.