The Automated Waitlist: Registration and Academic Scheduling Strategies
Author: Chris Hart
Posted: March 6, 2013

In 2012, the Registrar’s Office introduced the automated waitlist function to PSU students, which allowed them to manage their course schedule more effectively and efficiently. The automated functionality allows students to add themselves to a full course by placing themselves on the waitlist. When a seat becomes available the student receives an email with instructions on how to go online and be added to the waitlist. Students are given 24 hours to add the course before being dropped. The Registrar Office encourages students to check their PSU email daily to ensure they receive this notification. Click to read more about PSU’s automated waitlist.

If students are not in the habit of checking their PSU email on a regular basis we let them know that they can set up their account to forward emails to an account they check regularly.

In the case that a student is dropped from the WL they should be encouraged to login to their account and take another look at the schedule. Time has passed since they placed themselves on the WL and other sections may become available. Other courses could have shorter lists increasing the chances of receiving a seat. Otherwise, the student can put themselves back on the bottom of the list that they were dropped from. Please note that the Office of the Registrar doesn't make exceptions to the order of the list. Students should not be motivated to visit our office to inquire about being placed back on top of a WL they were recently dropped from. Once the student is dropped from the WL the next student has already received the email offering them the seat in the course.

The important part of this automated functionality is that our office will not override the capacity of a course to bypass students on the WL. Departments who desire to allow more students into the course should contact the Academic Scheduling Office to request an increase to capacity and if needed a room change to accommodate the increase. Once the capacity is increased, emails will automatically be sent to all of the students on the WL who can be accommodated in the order of their ranking on the list.

The automated functionality of the WL is turned off once school begins to give control of enrollment back to instructors to accommodate students with special cases. This also assures students aren’t able to add on their own if too much of the course has gone by. Students can still add themselves to the WL, but will no longer receive email notice or be able to self-register if a seat becomes available. Once school begins students can be given permission to add waitlisted courses using the Special Registration Form

Starting spring term the Office of the Registrar will be sending an email to all instructors and department schedulers who have waitlisted courses a few days before the term begins to remind them the automated portion of the WL is going to be turned off. This will allow departments to make one last decision about their enrollment and potentially contact Academic Scheduling to increase the capacity of the course. The advantage of increasing the capacity of the course before the term begins is the process for registering extra students will be automated, reducing the need to complete forms. We will also send an email to WL students apologizing that a spot has not become available in the course(s) and encourage them to attend the first class meeting to see if seats become available through attrition. 

The Registration & Academic Scheduling team offer strategy sessions to provide different tools used by departments to manage enrollment for their courses. Some of the popular topics in these sessions are listed below:

  1. Administratively dropping students who don’t attend on the first day.
  2. Class level restrictions: stop freshman & sophomores from taking the courses seniors need to graduate.
  3. Refresher on how to override registration restrictions in Banner so forms are not required. 

If you have questions or would like to schedule a strategy session please contact Christopher Hart at