For various valid reasons, I was not able to sign up for a certain math course that I need. The professor is amazing, and I really hope to get into her class. I went to her class every day for a week, and hoped to continue doing so until the last day to add, which is two weeks after the term starts. However, she had far too many students sitting in until Thursday of the first week, so she asked people who weren't enrolled to stop coming, otherwise there wouldn't be enough physical seats for the people who actually enrolled in the course. As a plus she is such a sweet lady, and I was hoping to take math in an unintimidating environment, so that I can actually learn (I've had many horrible experiences). I emailed her multiple times, and told her my situation of why I couldn't enroll on time, and simply requested if I could continue coming to the class for the second week, and I would sit in the back of the room, just in case someone happens to drop the class. She kindly denied my requests, but I genuinely want to be in her class. Not to mention, all the other math classes are also waitlisted, so I won't be able to get into other professors' classes either. I even took the quiz for her class on Friday, and got 20/20. I studied hard, so that she can see that I am serious about her course. I showed up on time/early every day. I am so disappointed, 1) because I need this course to graduate on time, since it's in a sequence of math courses 2) because this teacher was so genuinely great! I've never had such an amazing learning experience in a math class, and this was just in 4 days! She even stopped replying to my emails, which I understand because she is busy.

Is there anything else I can do? I just want to sit in until next week to see if someone drops. The cap is 40 students, and she let in 43. Please help me out. Sorry for the long message.

*By the way, only two extra students including me showed up to the class on Friday, and took the quiz. All the other students who wanted to get in didn't show up.

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    Wouldn't letting you in now be a bit unfair to the students who complied with her request to stop coming if not enrolled? – Patricia Shanahan Sep 30 '18 at 0:18
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    This question seems to have lost a lot of detail, given that the answers existing before the edit refer to actions / events that no longer appear. Clearly, a lack of action on your part has put you in this situation, now you have to deal with the consequences. – Solar Mike Sep 30 '18 at 6:18
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    The answer is in your question. 'For various valid reasons,' you were not allowed to take that course. I think we can answer your question better if you state specifically what those reasons are. – Zeb Sep 30 '18 at 6:36
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    Hi Lizzie, why did you remove essential information from your answer? As you can see your last edit is very confusing, e.g. @Zeb 's comment – Ant Sep 30 '18 at 7:19
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    @Lizzie "Should persistence count for something?" - Yes, it will count towards the prof thinking you are being a pain in the ****. It's unlikely to count for anything else. (And if you are a big enough pain, your prof will probably tell her colleagues, to warn them about the way you behave ...) – alephzero Sep 30 '18 at 8:43

Lizzie, After reading the details which I asked you to add earlier, I can only come up to this solution: Go and talk to her in person. Being a teacher myself, I find it difficult to ignore the requests of an 'eager learner'. Which in your case is "you". Tell her how important it is for you to take that course and specifically from her and how you have performed in your first quiz. Ask her very politely if it is possible for her to allow you in that course (Politeness matters A LOT) and that you will continue to work harder. Try this and I hope it'll work. Good luck :)

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    This should be the selected answer. I'm very sorry to read unproductive and unjustified criticism in other answers. It clearly serves only to vent out the answerers' feelings, I'm sorry to say. Yes, go speak to her in person. – Helen - down with PCorrectness Sep 30 '18 at 14:26
  • @Helen, while I agree in general that an in-person appeal is best, I think it is likely too late for that. It might even make the situation worse as the prof may be overloaded. Had this been done in the first days of the course, it might have had a positive effect. – Buffy Sep 30 '18 at 15:16
  • @Buffy It's possible, but unfortunately I can't see the situation getting worse than it is now. – Helen - down with PCorrectness Sep 30 '18 at 15:31
  • Thank you Helen. Unfortunately, I have already tried that. I was very polite and was very genuine in conveying what my situation was. I don't think there's anything that can be done now unfortunately :( She seems to be a new professor, so she's not too flexible with her class. I guess I will have to graduate late. My guidance counselors are saying they can't do anything to help me in this situation, since she went over the class cap already – Lizzie Sep 30 '18 at 23:20

At this point, for this term, I think you are entirely out of options. Pretty much anything you do to squeeze in will only make things worse. You should, of course, have acted in a timely manner.

However, you might be able to get credit for the course in a future term through an "independent study" option, either from this professor or another. You might also ask whether you can get credit for the course by passing one or more examinations in the future. Since you need the course for graduation and if it isn't being offered in a timely manner, the department head will have an incentive to make something like this work for you.

But for now, if you are being perceived as a pest, stop doing that.

However, you might be able to learn quite a bit of the material if you have a friend in the course who would give you access to her/his notes and answer a few questions you might have. You could go a long way toward learning the material without "bothering" the prof.

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Depending on the institution, this may be something that the professor has 0% control over. Most courses at university level have entry requirements. These typically consist of either:

  • pre-requisite topics (to be done before this class) e.g. Calculus 1 before Calculus 2.

  • post-requisite topics (if you have done A then you cannot do B) e.g. Calculus 2 then doing Calculus 1.

  • Other requirements (be enrolled in a specific degree, be at a specific campus, have it listed as an approved option topic, etc..)

Before continuously going after the teacher of the course perhaps you should consult with the administrative staff to ensure you meet the requirements. If nothing else they will ne able to assist you, maybe set you up with an alternative class or ensure you meet the requirements for the next offering.

If the professor was to bend the rules for one student, then they would need to bend the rules for everyone. As aggravating and annoying as the rules can be they always exist for a reason. Be it degree accreditation, making sure students are well equipped to take a class, they always exist for a reason.

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