This page attempts to answer the questions I get about how waitlists work, including:
How can I get on a waitlist?
When your date & time to register comes up, be certain to do the registration right away, and if a class you want is full, you can usually get on the waitlist.
(Some classes have a limit on the number of waitlisted people allowed, so that people will look into taking a different section instead of sitting on a too long waitlist).
Or look into getting into another section of the same class, or a different class that fulfills your needs. People who are willing to come to De Anza at 7:30 or 8:30 a.m. for classes can sometimes find more opportunties. Have a large number of alternatives in mind when you register.
Are there rules about waitlists?
Yes. Many have to do with ‘shopping’ for classes.
You can’t get wait-listed for a class if you
are already enrolled in another section of the course.
A wait-listed class cannot
conflict in time with any other class you are enrolled in or waitlisted for, not even by 5 minutes.
Be fair…you should put your name on a waiting list
only if you intend to take the class if a seat
Wait-listed students must be
present at the first meeting of the class to be added, just as enrolled students must be present or they will be dropped. Most instructors will wait a decent amount of time the first day before dropping no-shows and adding waitlisted people, to allow for new people who had trouble finding the campus, parking space or classroom. Emailing an instructor and asking to be seated even if you do not attend the first day does not work, as most people agree it is not fair to others who are present and trying to get into a class.
Can the instructor put me on a waitlist?
During the registration period you can only get on the waitlist by trying to add the class on your day to add. Emailing the instructor and asking to be put on will not work. Professors often do not get the printed waitlist until the first day of class, so if you email them and ask to be put on the list they will have no place to record this. Keeping track of emailed requests to be put on a wait list is therefore difficult and most instructors will not do it. Many will let people add their names to the end of the printed waitlist the first day of class.
If the waitlist is long, what are the chances I will get into the class?
It depends on the class.
Some classes are not specifically required for any degree and have fewer people show up, therefore more room for adds, even for people who were not on a waitlist, but who just show up the first day of class.
For my HLTH 57A and 57E classes, that sometimes start part way into the quarter, I receive many emails from students wanting to add the class, or who are already on the waitlist.
Many are concerned that the last ‘official’ day to add a class is before our class starts, but this deadline does not apply to classes that start mid-way through the quarter. Some who were enrolled decide to drop before the first day of the class, or just forget they were enrolled and do not show for class, leaving room for more students.
How can I get moved from the waitlist to the enrolled list?
If someone enrolled drops, (or is dropped for not paying fees as soon as they should), before the first day of class, the computer system will automatically move someone at the top of the waitlist to the enrolled list. They will be notified by email. If they did not keep their email address current with the college they will not be notified.
Check your email often, you will have 24 hours to add, or someone else gets a chance.
(Info on getting an email address is at:
OR, students need to promptly attend the first day of class and see if space becomes available.
Can I just sit in the back of the classroom for a couple of weeks and see if someone drops later and I can get it?
Sorry, this just doesn’t happen. The fire codes do not allow too many people stuffed into classrooms. If you tried to attend and just listen and take notes you would miss labs, homework assignments, etc. and it would be too difficult to catch you up.
What do I need to do if the instructor says I can add?
You should go right away after class to process the add using the code you were given by the instructor. I sometimes have students go online to the Portal during the class. That way we can find out if they CAN add the class. (People forget they have a time conflict, bounced a check or have not paid library fines, etc.)
Also, remember that refunds are not automatic and there are deadlines (see the first section of the schedule of classes) to get refunds.