Waitlisting

The Waitlisting tutorial walks you through how to use waitlists to help you register for courses.

Note: students on a waitlist do not have a guaranteed place in the class. If the section remains full, students on the waitlist will not be able to register.

Some courses have a waitlist attached to them. This means that when the course is full, students can request to be added to a waitlist and contacted when a seat for which they are eligible becomes available.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Once you are on a waitlist, the automatic waitlist process looks for open spots in the course twice daily on weekdays (around midnight and again around noon). You may receive an email notification in the early morning or around noon, so please check your emails after those times to see if you've been invited to register.
  • After having received an "invitation to register" waitlist e-mail, please confirm its authenticity by verifying in Minerva that you are indeed in Waitlist Position 0 (zero) and that the date/time indicated in the "Notification Expires" column is within 24 hours.
  • All students are granted 24 hours to register upon receiving the "invitation to register" waitlist e-mail. Because the process runs twice daily, it is important to read the waitlist notification e-mail carefully to know the exact time of your registration deadline. Exception: on the last day of add/drop, students have until midnight on the add/drop deadline regardless of when they receive the "invitation to register" waitlist email.
  • On the last two days of add/drop (Sept. 14–15, 2020 for the Fall term, and January 18–19, 2021 for the Winter term) the waitlist process runs every two hours between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. You may receive an email prompting you to register for the course at any time during these two days.
  • Some courses have reserve seat rules, which reserves a certain number of seats for students in a specific program, department, or faculty. As a result, you may only be eligible for a limited number of seats. Once in the waitlist, you will only be invited to a seat for which you are eligible.
  • Waitlists cannot be added to Summer Term courses.

FAQ

How do registration waitlists work?

Not all courses have waitlists enabled. If a course has one and the course is full, you can join that course's waitlist from Minerva's Registration Menu. Like courses, waitlists can also become full. If the waitlist is full for a given course, you will not be able to register for neither the course nor the waitlist.

If you join a waitlist, you'll receive an email notification when a spot in the course section has become available. If you receive this message, you will have a limited amount of time to change your status in Minerva from "Waitlisted" to "Registered". See the above bullet points for more information.

Email notifications go out twice every weekday, around midnight and around noon (except during the last two days of add/drop, during which notifications go out every two hours). If you are on a waitlist, it is important to check your email twice daily, morning and afternoon (or more often during the last two days of add/drop).

In the interim, you may view your position in the waitlist using the Minerva Registration Menu > Step 4: View Student Schedule by Course Section.

Minerva Registration Menu

It is advisable that you monitor your position on the waitlist regularly in Minerva.

A spot has opened up for me. How quickly do I need to register?

Waitlist email notifications will include a registration deadline — this is usually within 24 hours. In the last day of add/drop, the system only allows until midnight regardless of what time you receive a notification, so check your email often! If you miss the deadline, the spot will be offered to the next eligible student on the list.

See the above bullet points for more information.

How can I tell if a course has a waitlist?

Once registration waitlists open, your Minerva Class Schedule should feature:

  • a "Waitlist Section" note on the course section;
  • numbers next to the section enrollment information indicating:
    • the waitlist capacity (WL Cap);
    • the number of students currently on the waitlist (WL Act); and
    • the number of spots remaining on the waitlist (WL Rem)

How do I join the waitlist?

If a course for which you'd like to register is full, you can follow the five steps below:

  1. From the Course Section Lookup results screen, look for the NOTE: Waitlist Section appearing on your desired course section.
  2. Check the section's WL Rem number.
    • If it is 0, the waitlist is full; you cannot add yourself to the waitlist now but you should try again later.
    • If it is greater than 0, there is space on the waitlist; jot down the section CRN and follow the remaining steps.
  3. Go to Quick Add or Drop Course Sections.
  4. Enter the CRN in the grid of the Quick Add Worksheet and click Submit.
  5. Use the Action picklist to change your waitlist status: Select "Add(ed) to Waitlist" and click Submit.

Minerva says there's an open spot in the course, but it won't let me register. Why not?

Waitlisted students who are invited to register are allowed a specified time (usually 24 hours) to change their status from "Waitlisted" to "Registered". During this period, spaces that open up are reserved for the next eligible student on the waitlist — even if seats appear to be available, no one else is allowed to register. You'll only be allowed to register once you've received an "invitation to register" email.

Furthermore, some courses have reserved seat rules, meaning a specific number of seats are reserved for students who meet specific criteria. In courses with reserved seat rules, an open seat will be offered to the next student in the waitlist who meets that seat's reserve rules. Although you may be first in line in the waitlist, you will only be invited to register for seats for which you are eligible.

Spaces are available and I'm next in the waitlist, but I haven't been invited. Why not?

Certain courses have seats reserved for a specific type of student — usually students in a specific program, department, or faculty. If one of these "reserved seats" becomes available, only students on the waitlist who meet the reserved seat criteria are eligible for the spot. For this reason, it may appear as though the system "skipped" your turn. However, the waitlist system is simply adhering to these reserved seat rules. Although you may be first in line in the waitlist, you will only be invited to register for seats for which you are eligible.

A spot has opened up and I've been invited to register. How do I register for the course?

From Minerva's Registration Menu, select Quick Add or Drop Course Sections. The courses for which you are registered and for which you are waitlisted will both display on the screen. Select the "Register(ed) from Waitlist" Action and click Submit.

How do I remove myself from a waitlist?

In Minerva, go to Quick Add or Drop Course Sections, select the "Web Drop" Action for the waitlisted section, and click Submit Changes.

I have been invited to register, but "Register(ed) from Waitlist" doesn't appear in the dropdown list for the course.

We have received reports of fraudulent email phishing attempts disguised as waitlist notification emails in the past — please do not click any links in the "invitation to register" email until you've confirmed its authenticity. You can verify the authenticity of your McGill email notification by confirming in Minerva that you are in position 0 (zero) in the waitlist for that course, and the date/time indicated in the "Notification Expires" column is within 24 hours. If it is, and it matches the date and time indicated in your notification email, the notification is authentic and you have indeed been invited to register for the section.

  • If you have indeed been invited to register and you are within your allotted time frame to register, and the "Register(ed) from Waitlist" selection doesn't appear in the "Action" dropdown list, this is a known bug that occurs occasionally. First, take note of the CRN of the course in question. Then, remove yourself from the waitlist. Finally, you can register for the course by clicking the CRN and registering that way. The waitlist process should have issued a permit to your record (valid 24 hours) for the course in question.
  • If you conclude that the "invitation to register" email notification is not authentic, do not click any links therein. Refer to the IT phishing information page for details about how to deal with it.

There is room on the waitlist for a Summer term course, but it won't let me join. Why not?

Waitlists are tied to a functionality that is specific to the Fall and Winter terms, so they don’t work on summer courses. Admin staff will still be able to add one (and sometimes mistakenly do), and it will appear as though there is a waitlist on the course and it is empty. However, this is misleading because students won't be able to join it.

If you see a waitlist on a summer term course section, please inform your academic unit that you're unable to join it.

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