Illustration by Danie Laminta

How the Registrar is Responding to Course Registration Chaos

Big idea courses, June term and how the university is trying to help graduating students shortchanged by the cancellation of J-Term.

Feb 13, 2022

On Dec. 18 last year, less than a month before January Term 2022 was supposed to begin, NYU Abu Dhabi students were informed that all classes would be canceled due to “the rapid global spread of the omicron COVID-19 variant”.
Many students responded strongly to this change, claiming that with the renewed academic policy, they would have to reconsider their course selection plans for the spring semester after the registration date, when many classes were either closed or had long waitlists. Some senior students further suggested that without a J-Term, they would not be able to meet the requirements to graduate on time without overloading.
In response to these issues, NYUAD introduced a second June term, continuing from last summer, which included a wide array of both required classes and electives similar to those of the original J-Term. Students were also able to register for a summer course after their June term course if taken in Abu Dhabi.
In an interview with the Gazelle, Paul Revere, NYUAD’s Registrar, emphasized that they were doing all they could to assist students while coordinating with Global Academics, such as creating more classes for the summer, moving the original January Term courses to June and basing the selection process on seniority. “This was decided to give the seniors that hadn't had the opportunity to register for a J-term because they’ve been canceled for two years during the pandemic the opportunity to register first and to give them a chance to actually experience in an away J-term if they hadn't had the opportunity before,” Revere added.
Additionally, the university also allowed students to take two-credit Big Ideas courses offered online at the New York campus. These courses, which range from Performance as Protest to The Ethics of Big Tech & Social Media: Technethics, provide students with the opportunity to engage with faculty experts to explore themes and topics relevant to contemporary issues. NYUAD administration agreed to fund the courses, after significant advocacy from Student Government.
With the arrival of the June Term, more confusion arose as students questioned what kind of support they would receive in the face of delayed graduation. Some also suggested that the new add drop deadline for June Term, Feb. 14, was unfair to graduating seniors as they had to navigate several logistical issues, including the coordination of post-graduation opportunities and visa sponsorship.
Alper Yanarateş, Class of 2022, mentioned that he will have to contact his company for clarification on whether he may graduate later, and because the registrar just moved the deadline right before a weekend, he cannot get anyone to respond to his email.
The opening time for submitting PPTP [Post-Graduation Practical Training Program] applications is March 1st and given that we still have no clarity on whether seniors can do a PPTP after an Away June term, an extension to add/drop would be amazing,” said Pavan Jaini, Class of 2022.
Students who have not taken J-terms before are also questioning if they could take one abroad this summer as the Registrar and the Office of Global Education gave conflicting answers.
In response, the Registrar made sure that all student fees are paid during the June term and they have worked with senior students to admit them into the right classes so that they could finish their degree requirements in spring. They also reached out to students on the process of overloading, in case they need such support.
On Feb. 11, the Registrar has pushed the drop deadline to March 1, while the deadline to add classes remains Feb. 14 in order to aid with visa processing and to allow students to get the additional vaccines for those taking June term abroad. This allows fourth year students who need approval from their employers or graduate school, to have the chance to adjust their schedules accordingly.
Ethan Fulton, Class of 2024, who serves as Chair of Global Affairs committee for the semester, further clarified that students who have not taken any J-term yet are able to register for the abroad June Terms. He explained that the Office of Global Education is the one responsible for any concern relating to international affairs, like J-Term and study aways, and the issues that arose this time might be because in inter-office communication, information can be lost in translation.
Up to this point, the Registrar has also clarified that the point system, which was used for previous J-terms to determine individual eligibility in order to place them into the most ideal class, will come back for next January term and more details about it will be published in the fall semester.
Zhiyu Lindy Luo is Deputy News Editor. Email her at
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