Skip to main content

Mid-semester Advising and Pre-Registration

Advising for Spring 2023 starts October 31 and goes through November 11, 2022.
Pre-registration starts Monday, November 14 at 8:00AM EST
Pre-registration ends Wednesday, November 16 at 4:00PM EST

new improved pre-Registration website:

How to: Instructional video and PDF instructions

Related Links

For Spring 2023 Courses

Advising runs October 31-November 11, 2022

Pre-registration is Monday through Wednesday, November 14-16, 2022: Instructional video and PDF instructions.

  • Beginning Monday, November 14 at 8:00 am EST
  • Ending Wednesday, November 16 at 4:00 pm EST
  • Notice the 4:00PM END TIME
  • No extensions to the November 16 4:00pm deadline.  If you miss pre-registration, you will have missed entrance to the lotteries, but you can add courses using the drop/add format when lotteries are over.

All students must be advised prior to pre-registration -- or risk having a hold placed on their ability to pre-register and enter lotteries. Students placed on hold are informed immediately by email.

All students planning to be on campus must pre-register. 

All Students Must Be Advised

  • Students MUST see advisors during the advising period, that is, prior to pre-registration -- or else they may be prevented from pre-registering.
  • No form is signed by the advisor, but advisors do keep track of who has been advised.
  • Double majors must see both advisors.
  • Spring Sophomores and Juniors without majors consult the chair of their would-be major for major advising.
  • Students are responsible for managing registration time conflicts in their class schedule. Check the class meeting times in the Schedule of Courses. For the complete rules on attendance in classes, see the catalog.


Pre-registration starts at 8:00 am Monday, and ends at 4:00 pm Wednesday. For exact dates, see the Academic Calendar.

ALL STUDENTS are encouraged to pre-register on Monday, and then return to review their pre-registration on Wednesday. The point of this is that any problems encountered on Monday are easily fixed prior to the end of the process. You might have a hold you need to get released. Even if you have no problems, check back on Wednesday to make sure you did it right and check enrollments as they rise in case this affects your choices.

Pre-register online at

All departmental lotteries will be run off the pre-registration results.

Pre-registration provides equal access to courses and lotteries regardless of when you do it with the exception of some Chemistry, Economics and Arabic courses, which sometimes use first-come, first-served to fill some sections. For more information please see the departments.

If you miss pre-registration, you can register for classes starting after lotteries, however, you will have missed all of the lotteries.

First-year seminars are restricted to first-year students.

Bryn Mawr, Haverford, or UPenn course registration is not included in the pre-registration online tool.

4.5 Credit Limit During Pre-Reg

In order to be fair and give all students a better chance of getting 4 courses they really want, the registration limit for pre-registration is 4.5 credits.

There is no limit on PE or PE Dance. Neither counts toward the 4.5 credit limit.

After pre-reg: 4.0 to 5.0 credits is normal. Students are required to register for 4.0 credits per semester, unless they have obtained special permission to do otherwise. For fewer than 4.0 credits or more than 5.0 credits students must file ahead of time an Application for Extra or Less Credit [pdf] with the Registrar.

The 10-credit rule (for tuition): Note that the normal expected load is 4 to 5 credits per semester, and no extra tuition fees will be charged until a student takes more than 10.0 credits per Fall-Spring year.

Pre-Registration counts!

Pre-register for all the courses you expect to take. Courses, sections, and labs might be canceled due to under-enrollment. Don't wait to indicate your intent to take a class.


After Pre-registration is over, departments have several days to review pre-registration class lists, and, in the case of over-subscribed courses, consider a lottery to determine who will remain in the class.

Most departments email students who are lotteried out.

Some departmental lottery policies are included on departmental web pages under "Courses." If you can't find them listed there, contact the department directly.

First-Come-First-Served and other Courses with limited or closed enrollment for web-registration -- list combines fall and spring

Advice about the Requirements

True for all students, especially valuable for first-year students

Mid-Semester Pre-Registration Course Planning

Suggested Reading:

Going on leave or on approved study abroad?

"Four courses plus PE or PE Dance"

The official normal semester load is four to five credits, plus PE until it is done, and then PE is optional. The actual norm at Swarthmore is 4.0 or 4.5 credits per semester, plus PE or PE Dance.

Fewer than four credits is a possibility, but only with special permission of your academic advisor [pdf], and students are never permitted to carry fewer than three credits in their first eight semesters.

More than five credits per semester also requires special permission [pdf].

PE or PE Dance is recommended for every semester until you fulfill the four unit PE requirement. Normally it is finished within the first two years.

Alternates and Flexibility - the keys to Happiness

The keys to contentment with your registration are to always have alternates at the ready, and to be flexible enough to use them.

Choose 6 to 8 courses you would like to take, knowing you will actually only take four or so.

First-year students in particular are reminded that you can make adjustments during Add/Drop, and it is okay to "shadow unregistered courses" in moderation.

Remember that the liberal arts experience includes serendipitous discovery. Be open to it.

You might be put on HOLD

Students who do not get advised may be prevented from pre-registering by their advisors placing holds on their pre-registration.

Students can also be withheld from pre-registering for other reasons. Students are informed by email of holds being placed, and can check for holds on the mySwarthmore web site.

Students who discover they are withheld from pre-registering must resolve the problem, and then ask the advisor or office placing the hold to tell the Registrar the hold is released.


About a week after pre-registration the registrar will send an email asking every student to check his or her mySwarthmore account, to see the results of both the pre-registration program and departmental lotteries.

Students who get all their choices are done registering.

Students who do not get all their choices because of lotteries or otherwise need to add classes use SWAT e-forms [mySwarthmore/Registration/SWAT e-forms/Add form].

Drops are done through mySwarthmore/Registration/Add/Drop classes

Drop/add starts as soon as lottery results are announced, and runs through the second week of classes next semester.

You must attend the First Class Meeting

Students are required to attend the first class meeting to confirm their registration in each class. Students should contact the professor directly to ask that their seats be held if they cannot make the first meeting. Students are required to complete a drop/add form for all drops & adds, but the instructor of a class has last word about who is registered.

Read the FINE PRINT:


Students must be sure that they have fulfilled any pre-requisites for all courses they wish to take.

While the pre-registration program will not prevent students from wrongly pre-registering in courses with pre-requisites, chairs will be able to delete wrongful registrations along with lotteried deletions.

Warning about Credits and Grades

Normal progress is four semester course credits per semester, plus PE until PE is done. Students that do not manage to complete and pass at straight C or better at least three credits per semester will have their records reviewed by the Committee on Academic Requirements and could be required to take an academic leave. Note that INC grades, Withdraw grades, or shadow grades of less than straight C do not satisfy this minimum expectation.

Students should also be mindful to maintain satisfactory progress toward fulfilling their degree. Normal progress is four semester course credits per semester. Over the semesters, at a minimum, students should earn 6 to 8 credits by the end of the first year, 14 to 16 credits by the end of the sophomore year, and 22 to 24 credits by the end of the junior year. Students not achieving satisfactory progress will have their records reviewed by the Committee on Academic Requirements and could be required to take an academic leave.

100-level Seminar Pre-registration Instructions

Where noted in the printed Schedule of Courses and Seminars, seminar students must register for BOTH REQUIRED SECTIONS (one-credit each) of double-graded seminars in order to get both grades and both credits.

Students wishing to take seminars must obtain the approval of the chair of the department prior to pre-registration.

Planning ahead: To avoid scheduling conflicts, honors students planning on taking two seminars in one semester must alert the chair(s) of the appropriate department(s) of this at the beginning of the semester prior to the one in which the two seminars will be taken.

While the pre-registration program will not prevent students from wrongly pre-registering in unapproved seminars, chairs will be able to delete wrongful registrations.

Directed Reading, Independent Study, etc.

Students wishing to do directed reading, independent study, etc. must see the Departmental Administrative Assistant/Coordinator to register.

Tri-College or UPenn

Swarthmore students who wish to take courses at Bryn Mawr, Haverford or the University of Pennsylvania need to register using the required forms available in the Swarthmore Registrar's Office.

Credit/No Credit, Not Part of Registration

Students who wish to take one or more courses on a Credit/No Credit basis must complete the SWAT CR/NC eform, [mySwarthmore/Registration/SWAT e-forms/CRNC]. This form will be available after add/drop. The deadline is the end of the ninth week of classes.

After their first freshmen semester, students may use a maximum of four Credit/No Credit declaration options.


Register to "audit" a class by discussing with the Instructor and having the Instructor email approval to

Other information

Students who do not intend to return next semester should apply for a Leave of Absence.

Read the Guidelines on Scheduling Conflicts Between Academics and Athletics.

Students who have not satisfied their financial obligations might not be permitted to return to campus, attend any classes, live in campus housing, have a meal plan, register via add/drop (or any other method) for any classes, enroll for the following semester, participate in the room lottery, obtain a transcript, or be permitted to be graduated.