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How To Get A Professor To Take You Off The Waitlist For A Class

Summer is nearly over, and the time has come to start going back to school. Whether you’re disappointed about summer ending, excited to see all your friends, or manifesting joining your campus’ coolest sorority, emotions always run high during the start of the semester. One of the most devastating situations, though, is getting waitlisted for a class. Whether it’s a class that’s required for your degree or just a class that you find interesting, you may feel stressed and disappointed when you find out that you got waitlisted.

However, just because you got waitlisted, don’t give up hope! There is still a chance for you to take that class if you know how to get a professor to take you off the waitlist and let you in. You may have to put in more effort than the average student, but if you’re serious about the class, it’ll hopefully pay off. 

Email the professor.

Replying to @ris3699 if you need to get into a full class in college- try this! ✨🩷 #college #collegetips #collegehacks #fullclass #collegeinfo #collegehowto #howtocollege #waitlisted

♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy

When you find out the class you were hoping to take is full, one of the first things you can do is to email the professor of the class. Siobhan Robinson, 20, a senior at San Jose State University, tells Her Campus, “Last year I applied to be in a beginning yoga class [and] was waitlisted [with] about 10 people ahead of me.” She adds, “I emailed the professor stating my interest in the class and also my need to fulfill part of my P.E. requirement and she notified me that she appreciated my effort to talk with her as well as to wait it out, as people tend to drop within the first week of school.” Luckily for Siobhan, she received an email the day before school officially started that notified her she was off the waitlist and into the class.

When writing your email to the professor, you want to make sure that you don’t waste their time. According to a TikTok by @kkenziegreene, you’re going to want to make the subject line “Possible Open Seat.” Here’s a bare-bones email template you can use:

Hi [professor’s name],

My name is [your name]. I’m a [class year] and my major is [your major]. I signed up for [class name and time] but was waitlisted. I’m really hoping to take this class because [explain why you need it to graduate, and/or why you’re interested in this class specifically]. I would love for you to open a seat in one of these classes that you have [if there are multiple sections you could attend, list all of the class numbers and times] if at all possible.

Thank you so much. This will mean so much to me because [reiterate your interest in the subject and class]. My [friend/sibling/classmate] also took this class with you, and really enjoyed it, which inspired me to sign up.

Thank you,

[your name]

If you’re polite, to the point, there’s a chance the professor could let you into their class if you’re also high up on the waitlist.

Ask your previous professors to write you a letter of recommendation.

Though you may think of asking your professors for letters of recommendation when you apply for your internships or to grad school, a letter of recommendation from a previous professor can also help you get off a waitlist. Professors may not believe you when you try to convince them, but there’s a better chance that they will believe their colleagues. Your previous professors will be able to vouch for your work ethic and who you are as a person and a student. If you do get a letter of recommendation, make sure to thank them.

Talk to your academic advisor.

You should talk to your academic advisor when signing up for your classes, and you’re definitely going to want to be in touch with them when trying to get off a waitlist. It’s your academic advisor’s job to guide you through what classes you need to graduate and what you might be interested in and they might be able to help you get off of a class’ waitlist, or know different options that you have. They might be able to point you toward a similar class that fulfills the same requirement or find another section of that class being taught at a different time.

Go to the first few days of classes.

If you’re really serious about taking a class that you’re on the waitlist for, you’re not going to want any other class in its place. Therefore, in the free time you’ll have during that class’ time period, attend it for the first couple of days. Not only will it prevent you you from falling behind on the information if you do get off the waitlist, but it’ll get the professor to pay attention to you.

Beyond showing up, participating in the class and showing your enthusiasm by raising your hand often and engaging in discussions with your professor when nobody else is could also help your chances of getting off the waitlist. If you have time after attending the class, you can even talk to the professor in person and plead your case, more personally than you would in an email.

See if they offer it as a half-semester class. 

Though most classes last a full semester, there are some classes that are offered to only last eight or so weeks. It may be less than ideal, but that could allow you to take the class without needing to be on the waitlist. You’ll have to work extra hard as you only have half the time you usually would, but if you’re really passionate about it, it’ll be worth it. People are less likely to take it as a half-semester class, so there may be a better chance of you finding an open version of that class.

Check the seating every other day.

The closer the semester gets, the more likely it is that students will drop classes, either because they realize they don’t need or want to take the class anymore or it doesn’t work for their schedule. As soon as you notice that a seat is open, don’t hesitate to enroll in the class because you won’t know how long it will be open for. If you really want to take a class, constantly check to see if there are any seats available because you don’t want to miss your opportunity. 

When you’re going back to school, one of the last things you want is to be waitlisted, but it will be a reality for some students. However, there are plenty of ways to try to convince the professor to take you off the waitlist and into the class. Here’s to hoping you get all the classes you want this semester!

Born and raised in Arizona, Kayleigh Shaw is a Her Campus National Writer. She mainly writes for the Culture section, primarily focused on the latest entertainment news, but will occasionally write about life and career, giving advice to a wide array of readers. Outside of Her Campus, Kayleigh was also a part of Rod Pulido’s Street Team for his debut novel, Chasing Pacquiao and completed social media challenges to promote the book. She also hopes to one day write for Screen Rant and Comic Book Resources. where she will continue to use her love of all things pop culture to her advantage. She also graduated from Glendale Community College in May 2022 with an Associate's Degree in English. When Kayleigh's not working on journalism pieces, she can be found writing poems and short stories, reading, watching TikToks, listening to their favorite podcasts, listening and dancing to Sabrina Carpenter and Taylor Swift, watching movies and TV shows on Netflix and Hulu (while crying over fictional characters and relationships.) She would live in a library and avoid the rest of the world if she could. She also drinks coffee like a Gilmore and often goes down rabbit holes researching their hyper fixations.