Limited-Enrollment Courses and Waitlists

If a course has limited enrollment, it is noted in the course description and course search results.

Tips for registering for courses with limited enrollment

  • Check course availability using the course search as soon as registration begins. Search results display the enrollment limit, as well as course and waitlist enrollment.
  • Register early. Courses with limited enrollment fill quickly. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Many courses fill and close before classes begin.
  • Register online. It is the fastest registration option. You know immediately whether you are admitted, waitlisted, or closed out of a course so that you can register for an alternate course, if necessary.
  • Take any required placement tests early. Many courses require the test of critical reading and writing skills and you cannot register until you have passed the test.
  • If a course is full, you may register for a place on the waitlist. You are charged full tuition. If the course is closed, the waitlist is full and you may not register for it.
  • To hold your seat once registered you must:
    • Pay all tuition and fees by May 19. If you are not paid in full by this date, you will be dropped from all limited-enrollment courses and waitlists by the Registrar’s Office.
    • Attend all classes or participate in online courses and complete all required work through the late registration period. Otherwise, you may be dropped from limited-enrollment courses by the Registrar’s Office. After classes begin, if you add a course you have not attended, your registration may be canceled by the Registrar’s Office.

Tips for students on waitlists

  • Log in to online services regularly to see if you are still waitlisted. Your waitlist position is based on the date and time of your registration. We cannot predict your chances for admission.
  • Check your e-mail. After being admitted to a course or closed off of a waitlist, you will be sent an e-mail message the next business day advising you to view your course schedule.
  • Pay in full by May 19 to keep your waitlist place and remain eligible for admission to the course. If you are not paid in full by this date, you will be dropped from all limited-enrollment courses and course waitlists by the Registrar’s Office.
  • Attend all classes or participate in online courses, and complete all required work. Once classes begin, instructors may report attendance to the Registrar’s Office to ensure only attending and participating students are admitted. 
  • Do not ask instructors for special consideration. Instructors do not admit students. Only the Registrar’s Office does.
  • Attend an alternate course in case you are not admitted from the waitlist. This is especially important for students with an I-20 certificate from Harvard Summer School who are required to remain enrolled full time. If the alternate course is also limited, you should register and pay for it. You are charged full tuition if you register for alternate courses.
  • If you are an international student with an I-20 from the Summer School and you are not admitted from the waitlist, you must register in your alternate course to meet the full-time enrollment requirement.
  • To be removed from a waitlist, drop the course (online if possible) by the full-tuition refund deadline.
  • Most waitlists are resolved by the end of late registration. If you are not admitted, you are issued a full-tuition refund.