Registration and Enrollment

About Registration and Enrollment
Registering for Classes
Dropping Courses
Information for Faculty

About Registration and Enrollment

Registration is the systematic process that reserves seats in particular classes for eligible students. It is accomplished by following the steps announced by the student’s home school in advance of each semester’s registration period.

Enrollment is the completion of the registration process, and affords the full rights and privileges of student status. Enrollment is accomplished by the payment or other satisfaction of tuition and fees and by the satisfaction of other obligations to the University.

Registration alone does not guarantee enrollment; nor does registration alone guarantee the right to participate in a class. In some cases, students need to obtain the approval of the instructor or of a representative of the department that offers a course. Please check your school’s bulletin and the registration instructions contained in Student Services Online (SSOL) at for all of the approvals required.

To comply with current and anticipated Internal Revenue Service mandates, Columbia University requires all students to report their Social Security Numbers at the time of admission. We strongly recommend that all newly admitted students who do not have a Social Security Number should obtain one well in advance of their first registration. International students should consult the International Students and Scholars Office for further information.

According to University regulations, each person who completes registration is considered a student of the University during the semester for which they register, unless the student’s enrollment status is altered. No student registered in any school/college of the University shall at the same time be registered in any other school/college, either of Columbia University or of any other institution.

The privileges of the University are not available to any student until they have completed enrollment. A student who is not officially registered for a University course may not attend the course. No student may register after the stated period unless he or she obtains the consent, written or electronic, of the appropriate dean or director.

The University reserves the right to withhold the privilege of registration or any other University privilege from any person with an unpaid debt to the University. Students are also held accountable for absences incurred owing to late enrollment.

Information on registration and enrollment for Summer Session courses is located here.

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Registering for Classes and Appointment Times

Registration for each term occurs within designated periods. Within these periods, you will be assigned specific registration appointment times. Your appointment times will generally be available on Student Services Online (SSOL) two weeks prior to the registration period, but specific registration instructions are announced by each school in advance of each registration period.

Students often register by hierarchy during registration periods as established by each school. Some schools determine appointment distributions by class standing, others by random selection. Certain cohorts of students may receive priority registration appointments when deemed appropriate by their school or program.  The Office of the University Registrar adheres to each school’s guidelines for setting registration appointments.

You must be registered for at least one class prior to the first day of classes each term. Otherwise, you may be charged a late registration fee.


You will not be permitted to register if a hold has been placed on your student account. To find out if you have a registration hold, check Holds on SSOL.

Registration Instructions

All students may register on Student Services Online (SSOL) during their assigned appointment times. You will need your UNI and UNI password.

If you are not able to register through SSOL, check with your school for the proper procedure.

Some classes may be blocked for web registration and require approval, written or electronic. SSOL will indicate this when you try to register. Registration Adjustment Forms submitted to the Student Service Center in 205 Kent Hall must have proper approval signatures and will not be accepted if the class is available for registration using SSOL.

Online Class Wait List

The Wait List feature for course registration in SSOL went live for participating schools and departments on the first day of classes, Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

Students may choose within SSOL to place themselves on course Wait Lists, which are of two varieties: either autofill or self-managed by the faculty. 

  • Students who add their names to a Wait List will either be handled first-come, first-served, or will be asked to provide evidence they meet an instructor’s custom criteria.
  • Once a student is admitted to the course, he or she is notified by email that course registration is successful and removed from the Wait List.
  • Our Student Quick Guide (PDF) shows the brief, step-by-step process for using the available Wait List options.

Change of Program Period

During the Change of Program period, students can add and drop courses using SSOL. Online Wait Lists continue to be available during this period.

Students must use the last day of the Change of Program period to resolve any course conflicts and point overages. If a schedule overlap is created through registration using the Wait List, the student must resolve the overlap in SSOL by the end of the Change of Program period, or submit a petition to his or her home school according to its established policies.

Following the Change of Program period, the Post-Change of Program Add/Drop Period begins. Students in some schools may add or drop courses in SSOL, with faculty or departmental approval, until the drop deadline. Once faculty or departmental approval is granted, students will be sent an email to that effect and then must complete the registration action in SSOL by officially adding the course to their schedule.

By completing registration actions, students acknowledge responsibility for the accuracy of their schedule and assume responsibility for associated financial and academic penalties.

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Dropping Courses

Students in some schools may drop a course online by appointment using SSOL until the drop deadline. With the exception of certain courses, the final dates for dropping courses are on the Academic Calendar.

Failing to attend or providing unofficial notification to the instructor do not constitute dropping a course. Students who stop attending class without officially withdrawing or dropping must be assigned a grade by the instructor even if they have not completed any substantive work in the course.

Post-Change of Program Add/Drop Period

The Post-Change of Program Add/Drop Period feature for course registration adjustments in SSOL went live for participating schools on Monday, February 3, 2014, following the Spring 2014 Change of Program period. The Post-Change of Program Add/Drop Period allows students to add and drop certain courses, subject to approval by their school and/or the instructor, online. Students are responsible for any financial liabilities that result.

We have developed the following reference documents to help students use this service:

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Information and Instructions for Faculty

Wait List

The Wait List feature is available to faculty (and students) using Student Services Online (SSOL).   

Faculty have two options for Wait List management:

  • All faculty will be defaulted to having a Wait List established for their courses using the first-come, first-served “Auto-Fill” option.
    • Under this option, the auto-fill will admit students from a course Wait List as space is available, based on the date and time stamp of their initial placement on the Wait List
    • The simplicity of the auto-fill Wait List is its primary feature. Faculty need do nothing to create, monitor, and admit students from the Wait List. The tool handles all of this automatically.
  • For faculty who want to take a greater role in managing their Wait Lists, there is also a custom option.
    • Under this option, faculty keep track of their Wait Lists using SSOL.
    • If a spot opens up in a course, they can personally decide which student on the Wait List gets put into the course based on any criteria they want to use.
    • The faculty member will admit the student into the course, the student will be registered for it automatically, and then the student will receive an email confirming enrollment in the course.

Our Faculty Quick Guide (PDF) shows the brief, step-by-step process for using the available Wait List options.

Post-Change of Program Add/Drop Period

The Post-Change of Program Add/Drop Period tool provides an electronic mechanism for students to add/drop courses after the Change of Program period by electronically routing requests to the course instructor and, where appropriate, the student’s advisor, using SSOL ( The tool allows the student to add a course in SSOL following online approval from the instructor and, where necessary, the advisor, as well as electronically manage course drops.

Our Faculty Quick Guide (PDF) shows the brief, step-by-step process for using the Post-Change of Program Add/Drop Period tool.

Change of Grade Tool

The Change of Grade tool is available to faculty using Student Services Online (SSOL).   

The Electronic Change of Grade tool provides an electronic mechanism for managing grade changes in SSOL after an initial grade has been submitted, significantly shortening the time required to post grade changes in SIS and display them to students.

Our Change of Grade Overview (PDF) shows the brief, step-by-step process for using the electronic Change of Grade tool.

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