Waitlist FAQs

Waitlist FAQS


I’m a pre-comm student on the waitlist for a pre-comm course. How do I let the instructor know that I want to crash the course? Should I email the instructor or the advising office and ask for an approval code?

A: Add yourself to the waitlist in GOLD. You do not need to email the instructor or the advising office. Students who are not on the waitlist cannot be considered for the class if there is no open space. If space becomes available in a course for which you are waitlisted, you will be auto-added through Week 1. After this, instructors may email students on the waitlist if space becomes available with instructions on how to add. Some instructors may choose to add waitlisted students to GauchoSpace as a “crasher” so you can keep up with assignments while waiting to see if space opens up. 


I’m a non-major or I am waiting for my major change to update in GOLD to full Communication status. How do I add to a waitlist for upper division COMM classes?

During the academic year, all upper-division COMM courses are restricted to majors only. If you have completed the pre-major requirements, submitted your Change of Major form, and are waiting for your major status to update, you may add yourself to the waitlist. Non-majors have the lowest priority on the waitlist and can only be accommodated after all COMM students have been accommodated and if there is still remaining space. If a COMM course is listed as an option for your major or minor's requirements, you can enroll without restrictions during the Summer.


1. Select “Waitlist” on your chosen course.

2. Select the checkbox for the lecture next to the "Course Info" button.
  • You can see how many students are on the waitlist to decide if you want to add it.
  • You will see a message in red "This course is limited to majors only." This is just to let you know. You can still add yourself to the waitlist. 

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3. Select your grading option & decide if you’d like to link the course with a less-desired course that you’re currently enrolled in.

  • COMM courses must be taken for a letter grade to apply toward the COMM major requirements.
  • A linked waitlisted course will replace the less-desired course that you’re enrolled in if you get off the waitlist. Linked waitlisted courses do not count toward your pass time unit maximum.
4. Scroll down to select “Add to Waitlist”.
  • You can view your waitlist position number on the “Schedule” page after adding to the waitlist. If you're waiting for your major status to update to COMM, you'll rank higher on the waitlist once it is updated.


I can see some spaces in the class on GOLD, but it won’t let me enroll. How do I get one of those spaces? 

A: Once the Comm Dept has closed a class or a waitlist for the course has been activated, spaces may appear as students drop the class. These spaces are not available for students to enroll in - the system will take eligible students from the waitlist and enroll them in class as space become available. Once the waitlist is closed any remaining spaces in the class will only be given out at or after the first day of lecture, based on how the waitlist has been prioritized.
So, if GOLD does not allow you to add, do NOT contact the instructor or the undergraduate advisor to ask for an approval code! The only way to try to get a space at that point is to add yourself to the waitlist AND then attend lecture the first day of class. NOTE: If you are hoping to switch discussion sections, do NOT put your name on the waitlist, as the waitlist is for adding the class as a whole, not for switching sections (listen in class the first day for information about section switching).

I want to switch my discussion section, but the class is closed on GOLD or the section I want is full. Do I put my name on the waitlist?

A: Do NOT use the waitlist to try to switch discussion sections. Keep checking GOLD to see if space opens up in a section that you can take and if the class is still open, use GOLD’s function for switching sections. But be careful—do NOT just drop yourself and then try to re-add with a different section! If GOLD will not let you switch, it will not let you add either. If the class has been closed, you will NOT be able to get back in and you will have to try to “crash” through the waitlist along with all the other crashers.
If you cannot switch sections through GOLD, then you’ll need to wait until the first day of class to listen for announcements in lecture about how to go about trying to switch your section. Some instructors may set up a swapping forum on the course site for students to find another student to swap sections with.

 I am already enrolled in one COMM course, but I added myself to another COMM course waitlist that meets at the same time. What should I do?

A: You have a choice to make as to which class is more important to you. If you are hoping to add the waitlist class, you MUST attend the class on the first day or you will be removed from the waitlist. You cannot have a friend attend for you, etc. However, if you do not attend the course you are enrolled in, you will lose your space in that class. Crashing classes is always a gamble, so you have to consider whether you are willing to accept the possibility of ending up without either class.

In any case, if you are unable to attend a first class meeting due to religious observances, illness, or other unavoidable emergency, you should certainly contact the instructor or TA in advance to ask not to be dropped (and be prepared to show verification of your situation). But there is no guarantee that the instructor will hold your space if you do not attend.

I did not add myself to the waitlist before it closed, because I only just realized that I need/want to take this class. Can I still crash the class on the first day?

A: You may attend lecture the first day and ask to be added to the waitlist, but you will be placed at the very bottom of priority, regardless of what your priority WOULD have been had you signed onto the waitlist beforehand. Instructors go through the whole prioritized waitlist prior to considering crashers. Crashers are then also ranked based on major and number of units.  


 I have a friend in one of the COMM classes who plans to drop, and they want to give their space to me. Can we do that?

A: No. If your friend drops the class through GOLD, and you are then able to enroll during your pass time before someone else takes that space, then that’s of course fine. But if the class is full or closed, there is no way to “give” or “take” or "save" spaces. You have to add yourself to the waitlist like anyone else who wants to try to add. The waitlist is prioritized for fairness and equity.

NOTE that for section switching in lower division classes, it is often possible to swap spaces with a student who is enrolled in a different discussion section. Listen for announcements in lecture on the first day about whether this is a possibility.

I’m a student enrolled in the Open University program so I do not enroll using GOLD. Instead, I have a form that must be signed by the instructor, and I turn it into the Extension office. How do I know if there will be space for me, and how will I get the form signed? Should I email the instructor to sign it prior to the course starting? If so, can I be added to the GauchoSpace prior?  

A: The Comm Department will hold a few seats in some COMM courses for Open University students. These are given on a first-come first-served basis. If your desired course is full, our advisors may suggest another course that still has available seats. Check Curriculum Search (https://my.sa.ucsb.edu/public/curriculum/coursesearch.aspx) to see if there are COMM courses with open spaces. Check with the Open University program for enrollment instructions.

I want to take an online (W) course that is full. Can't instructors increase the number of spaces in the class since it's online?

A: Class size is determined by instructor/TA workload, not necessarily classroom size. Some instructors may choose to increase enrollment by a few seats.



I’m enrolled in an online (W) course that I want to stay enrolled in. How can I be sure I won’t be dropped?

A:  Pay attention to emails from your instructors. They may require students to complete activities on the course site for “attendance” to remain enrolled in the class.  

 When does the Communication Department officially "close" courses on GOLD?

A: The Comm department typically closes all lower and upper division courses on the fifth business day of the quarter. Once the class has been closed, no adding or section switching can be done on GOLD without an approval code, which will be distributed by instructors after classes have started.

If a course is full, closed, or has a restriction, will it help if I email the professor (or a Communication department advisor) to let them know that I really want the class?

A: No, you should only contact the instructor if the course is coded “Instructor approval required.” Instructors do not compile waiting lists before a quarter begins, so it will NOT give you any advantage. Please do not email an instructor or an undergraduate advisor to ask for an add code or to be put on a waitlist.

If a Comm course is full or closed, check your GOLD account to see whether a waitlist has been created. Waitlists should be available once a course is full or closed by the department. 

How will the waitlists be prioritized to decide who gets into each class?

A: Adding your name to a waitlist does not guarantee you space in a course! You MUST also attend lecture the first day, and your name will then be rank ordered by number of units along with the other waitlist attendees before anyone is added.

Waitlists are NOT prioritized on a first-come-first-served basis, so putting your name on the waitlist early does not give you an advantage. As long as you put your name on the list BEFORE the list is closed AND also attend lecture the first day, you will be rank ordered for a possible space in the class.

Priority for getting into a class will be based on major status and unit standing. For upper division, this means that full communication majors with the highest number of units will have highest priority (pre-majors are not allowed to enroll in upper division communication courses regardless of units, except during Summer Session). For lower division communication courses, students who are declared as pre-comm majors with the highest number of units will have the highest priority. Approval codes will be given to the top ranked students depending on space availability.

The Comm Department takes attendance on the first day of lecture for upper division classes (in section for lower division), and any enrolled students who do not attend on the first day will be dropped. We never know in advance which students (enrolled or on the waitlist) will actually attend on the first day. Even if you think you do not have very high priority on the list, you might be issued an add code if students higher on the list than you do not attend. Also, if your priority is not high enough to be added the first day, you might still be able to add on the second day if space opens up and/or if the newly added students do not end up using their approval codes. Your instructor will tell you if you should continue attending class in that case.

How will I know whether or not I will be added to a class? Can I find out before the quarter starts what my chances are for getting in?

A: Waitlists will not be prioritized until right before the first lecture has met, so there is no way to know in advance where you fit among the other students on the waitlist. The waitlist number you see on GOLD is NOT accurate as of the first day of class! Faculty will not have access to the waitlists in advance, so please do not email instructors (or undergraduate advisors) to ask about your priority status.

Remember that you must attend the first day of class or your name will be removed from the waitlist. Listen carefully for instructions on the first day—the instructors or TAs for each course will inform you as to when and how they will distribute the approval codes. For upper division courses, the instructors should know by the first class meeting how many students they can initially add and where you fall in terms of priority. Remember that if your priority is not high enough to be added the first day, you might still be able to add on the second day if space opens up and/or if the newly added students do not end up using their approval codes. It is important to continue to attend lecture and or discussion section until the instructor or TA informs you that no more approval codes will be given.

For courses with sections (lower or upper division): Instructors will provide additional information on the first day of lecture about the policy regarding discussion sections. In most cases, you will need to show up to the section you want to add. Once space availability is determined, the instructor will inform you if you will be given an add code and for what section.