Course Registration and WebTree Overview
All students at Davidson take four classes each semester. And aside from a handful of two-credit classes, the rest of our classes are worth one credit, making a full course load four classes. These four classes equate to 16 semester credits at other schools.
Registration has several different components, and not all will apply to everyone.
The first step in this process is where students' course preferences are collected. Once all the preferences have been obtained we run our registration process. For the fall semester, continuing students enter their preferences in early April, new students enter their preferences in June, and registration takes place in early July. For the spring semester, students enter their preferences in October/November and registration takes place immediately following.
Once schedules have been created students will often need to make adjustments. This is the second step, referred to as Add/Drop. There are several Add/Drop periods depending on the time of year. Prior to the start of fall classes, returning students will have a week in early August to make changes as well as the two days prior to the start of classes. New students will be able to make changes during the first full day of orientation, ideally after speaking with their holistic adviser. For spring classes, there will be a one week Add/Drop period in November as well as another in early January through the beginning of classes.
Once classes start, all students may add and drop classes during the first week. A third component in the process is our late Add/Drop period that extends into the second week of classes. However, adding classes during this week is discouraged because one week of course content has already been missed.
WebTree is a student-designed system that refers to both the software we use to collect students' class preferences as well as the algorithm used to register students for their classes.
The underlying philosophy behind WebTree is equity, where each student receives one class before anyone receives a second, and so on. To go one step deeper, each senior will get one class, then each junior, sophomore, and first-year, and then students are assigned a second class in the same order, and this is done for a total of four rounds. Unraveling yet another layer, if the senior class has 500 students, each senior is assigned a random number (between one and 500) each round. These random numbers indicate the order in which a student's preferences will be analyzed by the algorithm.
Students should enter their preferences based on a series of questions, “What class do you want most?” followed by “What class would you want if that one is unavailable?” This would be followed by, “What is your second most desired class” and so on.