Waitlists for Instructors FAQs

Q. How can I tell how many students have requested my subject before schedules are produced?

A. During this period, department administrators can provide instructors with numbers of students who selected their subjects as well as projected enrollment numbers. For more information, see Planning Reports.

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Q. How does the waitlist work?

A. The waitlist is a tool designed to help you deal with the limited enrollments in CI-H/HW subjects. The enrollment process for CI-H/HW subjects has been redesigned so that the number of students allowed in your class will never exceed the enrollment cap. Continuing students can request CI-H/HW subjects during pre-registration and new and returning students do so during Orientation. When schedules are run, students are placed in a subject based on their choices and the priorities set by the Faculty Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement. Once the initial class list is determined, students can drop the subject, but students may not add the subject without first being on the waitlist and receiving an enrollment offer from you when there is an opening in your subject.

The student view of the waitlist gives students information on which subjects have openings and where they stand within priority groups. As a result, they will be adding and deleting themselves from your waitlist based on their chances of enrolling. The waitlist is dynamic, reflecting students’ choices in real time.

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Q. Where can I view my subject’s waitlist?

A. Once schedules are run, you can view your subject’s waitlist:

  • from WebSIS for Instructors, via the CI-H/HW Waitlists link
  • from WebSIS for Instructors, via the Class Lists link (click the Waitlist button on the Pre-registration Class List report or the Registration Class List report)

The waitlist gives you information about students who would like to be in your class. The class lists give you information about students in your class.

In addition, instructors who are also advisors can access the waitlists from WebSIS for Advisors, via the Enrollment and Waitlists for CI-H/HW subjects link (click Go To My Waitlist next to your subject(s)).

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Q. When will my class lists have student names?

A. Pre-registration class lists for CI-H/HW subjects are populated when the student schedules are run, at the same time that the waitists are created. The pre-registration class lists include continuing and new students who have been placed into the subject during scheduling based on their selections and the priorities set by the Faculty Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement.

Registration class lists are populated in the early evening of Registration Day.

Students who remove the subject in Online Registration or drop the subject will be deleted from the class lists. To add the subject a student must first have an enrollment offer from you via the waitlist.

The pre-registration class list is no longer available after the first week of classes.

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Q. What information is on the waitlist?

A. At the top of the page is a summary of the subject’s enrollment information — how many students have registered and pre-registered, how many enrollment offers are outstanding, and how many openings are available.

Beneath the summary, you will see the names of any waitlisted students in priority group order. The first time you see a student name on the waitlist, it will be flagged with a yellow "New" icon so you can identify which students have added themselves since the last time you looked.

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Q. What do the enrollment numbers on the waitlist mean?

A. “Class size capped at” is the maximum number of students allowed in this subject under guidelines set by the Faculty Subcomittee on the Communicaton Requirement (SOCR). For sectioned subjects, it reflects the total of all section enrollment caps for the subject (unless the subject requires section registration, in which case it shows the single section cap value only).

“Registered” is the total number of students who have completed registration for the subject (or section if section registration is required). See your registration class list for the names of these students.

“Pre-registered, registration not completed” is the total number of students who have been scheduled into the subject (or section, if section registration is required) but have not completed registration for the subject(/section). Once the registration class list is populated, you can identify these students by comparing the registration and pre-registration class lists.

"Offers have been extended, but the student has not taken action" is the total number of enrollment offers made for which the student has not taken action to either add the subject or remove him/herself from the waitlist.

"Offers have been extended and the student has initiated the add process" is the total number of enrollment offers made for which the student is in the process of adding the subject. Once the process is complete, the student will no longer appear on the waitlist and will be listed on the class list instead. (The waitlist number will drop by 1 and the Registered number will increase by 1.)

"Openings available" is the total number of new students that could be added at this time. Waitlist openings available = class size cap - (registered + pre-registered, registration not completed + offers extended).

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Q. How can the enrollment cap be changed?

A. All CI-H/HW subjects are capped at 18 or 25 students based on guidelines established by the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement. Contact the Office of the Communication Requirement at commreq@mit.edu with questions about the cap for your subject.

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Q. How are students prioritized on the waitlists?

A. It depends on the type of subject you are teaching. The priorities established by the Faculty Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement are:

For CI-HW subjects, CI-HW Required upperclassmen who have not completed a CI-HW subject will be in the highest priority group, followed by CI-HW Required freshmen who have not completed a CI-HW subject. Next will be freshmen who have not completed a CI-H subject. At the bottom are all other students.

For CI-H subjects, there is only one priority group. Students will be given equal priority regardless of their year and whether they have fulfilled the requirement.

For both types of subjects, continuing students who added themselves to waitlists after the CI-H/HW selection deadline will be placed below all other priority groups. In addition, students who didn't get into subjects they requested in the CI-H/HW subject selector both this time and the last time the subjects were offered will be prioritized higher within each priority group.

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Q. Can I view information about students on the waitlist?

A. Students are listed within a subject’s priority groups. Click on a student’s name to see a panel that display’s the student’s name, photo, MIT ID, Year, Major, Degree, and Advisor.

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Q. When should I check the waitlist?

A. It's important to understand that waitlists change in real time as students change their registrations and their waitlists selections.

You can check waitlists as soon as schedules are run, but offers cannot be made until after 6 am on the first day of classes by which time most students have completed registration.

You should check the waitlist frequently during the first two weeks of class - daily is recommended - until the subjects are filled.

You will get an email prompt once classes begin if:

  • a student adds him/herself to the waitlist, which was previously empty, and there is at least one opening in the subject (or section); or
  • a student drops the subject in which there had been no openings, and there is at least one student on the waitlist.

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Q. Will I get automatic notifications when new students join my subject’s waitlist?

A. By default, you will get an email prompt once classes begin if:

  • a student adds him/herself to the waitlist, which was previously empty, and there is at least one opening in the subject (or section); or
  • a student drops a subject in which there were no openings, and there is at least one student on the waitlist.

To change your email notification preferences, click Settings at the top of your waitlist.

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Q. What should my criteria be for offering enrollment from the waitlist within a priority group, and how should I publicize it?

A. When looking at students in a priority group, consider all of the students, not just those at the top of the alphabetized list.

Students know how many students are in priority groups above them and in their own priority group, so they have a general idea of their chances to get into a subject. They are being told to attend the first class only if the subject fits into their schedule and they have a realistic chance of getting into the subject. They have also been told not to contact instructors about openings until classes begin.

In judging student interest in your class, consider that some students feel more comfortable advocating for themselves than others. The expectation is that you be sensitive and fair in selecting students.

If you need additional information to make your decision or you want to share your own instructions about the waitlists, you can email students by clicking the "Email Student List" button on the waitlist, but you need not publicize your criteria.

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Q. Why does my subject have openings, but there are people on the waitlist?

A. Once schedules are published, students interested in taking a CI-H/HW subject (other than ones into which they've been scheduled) must first put themselves on the waitlist for it, even if there are openings available.

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Q. Can anyone besides me make an enrollment offer from my waitlist?

A. Instructors and their proxies (departmental administrators) can make offers. The waitlist is available as a view-only version to anyone else with class list access.

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Q. When can I make enrollment offers to waitlisted students?

A. Beginning at 6 am on the first day of classes, you can offer enrollment to waitlisted students when there are openings in the subject. Before then the waitlist is view only.

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Q. How can I make an offer to a student?

A. Offers should be extended to students in the highest priority group first, and so on. Click the Offer button beside a student’s name to extend an offer to the student. An email will be sent to the student informing him or her of the offer. While you cannot edit this message, you can add comments that will appear as the final paragraph when the message is sent. When you make an offer, the message “Offer made” and the date and time of the offer displays with the student’s name. Once the student begins to add the subject, the Waitlist will show the message “Student has initiated approval process.” The student will now be obtaining the advisor’s approval and you can no longer rescind the offer. You do not need to approve the add form; your offer constitutes approval.

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Q. What does the email offer say?

A. The email varies slightly depending on whether the student has or has not completed registration. If she or he has completed registration, the following message is sent:

"You are being offered a place in <subject#><title>.

If you want to claim this spot, you must now select the subject on the Add Drop form and submit the Add for approval as soon as possible.

If you are no longer interested, remove yourself from the waitlist to make room for another student."

"Add Drop form" and “Remove yourself from the waitlist” are links so students can easily register or take themselves off the waitlist.

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Q. Even though my enrollment cap has been reached, I would like to admit one more student into my class. Is there a way to do this?

A. No. You will not be able to make an offer if the enrollment cap has been reached.

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Q. Can I rescind an offer?

A. If a Rescind button displays beside a student to whom an offer has been extended, you can click the Rescind button. The Rescind button remains available until the student initiates adding the subject. Generally you should give the student 24 hours to act before rescinding the offer. Students do not receive an email if the offer is rescinded.

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Q. Can I view a list of what offers have already been made?

A. Yes. Click on the Offer History button to display a list of all offers and rescinds.

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Q. How long are waitlists used?

A. Waitlists are available to students until Add Date. During the first week or so of classes you should use available openings to accommodate students on the waitlist. You can determine when it is no longer acceptable to add students. Instructors of CI-HW subjects typically do not accept new students after three class meetings.

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Q. I am no longer adding students. Can I close the waitlist?

A. Yes, by clicking the Close Waitlist button on your waitlist, students will no longer be able to add themselves to the waitlist. The button will change to Open Waitlist, in case you decide to re-open it at a later date.

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Q. Is it possible for a cross-registered student from another school to get on the waitlist for a CI-H/HW subject?

A. Cross-registering students cannot participate in the waitlist because their registration is still on paper. If there are spaces in subjects after MIT students have been accommodated, instructors can admit cross-registered students by signing their registration forms. Their names will not appear on the waitlists, but once their registrations are processed, cross-registered students will appear on the class lists and will be counted among the registered students in waitlist statistics, resulting in reductions in the number of openings. Instructors should make sure that they don't exceed the enrollment caps when admitting cross-registered students outside the waitlist system.

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