Office of the Registrar

Waitlist Process

View the waitlist PDF with the updated information and instructions.


During registration and add/drop periods, students often wish to enroll in sections that have reached their enrollment capacity and are closed. The automated waitlist process provides an opportunity for students to enroll in closed sections as space becomes available. This process also provides the schools/colleges with information for making decisions concerning their course offerings for current and future semesters.

The automated waitlist process will allow students to place their names on a waitlist for closed sections for which they are eligible to enroll. When a space becomes available, an e-mail is sent to the first student on the waitlist and he or she has until 5:59 a.m. the following day after receipt of the emailed notification to register for the course. This process continues in order of the waitlist as space becomes available.

Students are restricted to one active waitlist section per course per term, with Fall, Spring, and all summer terms each considered as one term. Some courses, including special topics courses, are excluded from this restriction.For more information, view the waitlist PDF.

The waitlist is convenient and easy to use. Students follow the normal registration process on the web via their account. There is now an additional field on the Course Registration screen called “Waitlist”. The default for this field is "no." Students who wish to have their names added to the waitlist for closed sections should update this field to "yes." They then receive confirmation that the course is closed and as a result have been added to the waitlist. The class schedule will confirm the status of these sections as “Waitlist”. 

How Does the Waitlist Work?

  • Active students on a waitlist are granted permission to register as space becomes available on a first-on/firs-off basis.
  • Before 8:00 a.m., eligible students receive an e-mail from the University Registrar, sent to their AU e-mail address alerting them that a space has become available in their waitlisted section.
  • After the e-mailed notification is sent, students have until 5:59 a.m. the following day to claim their spot in the course.
  • Should students fail to register for the waitlisted course within that period, their waitlist status expires and the space becomes available for the next eligible student.
  • Student eligibility and course registration eligibility rules, such as prerequisites, are always enforced.

For more information call 202-885-2200 or email us at