Bates College’s registration system for continuing students has three phases and uses an “Optimization” algorithm allow for the greatest possible access to courses for all students while maintaining the quality of the classroom experience.

Getting Started – Students register for courses by meeting with their advisor to discuss course options and their advisor will then remove their “advising hold.” They then enter their course selections into the Garnet Gateway during the initial week of registration. For courses with no enrollment limits, the only further action for students is to attend the course on the first day it meets.

I. Registration and Optimization – The majority of spaces available in courses with limited enrollment are assigned to students by an optimization algorithm which is run following the initial week of registration. Faculty may indicate to the Registrar that they want a “class mix” so that the course has a specified number of spaces reserved for students by class year. Otherwise, all students have equal opportunity to gain entry during the “optimization” process. The system is not designed so that some students gain entry into all courses requested and some into none based on a priority number or a “first come, first served” system. The likelihood of gaining entry into each course is based on the number of students who are currently requesting the course. If a student gains entry through optimization, the student is considered registered for the course.

II. Petitioning – A few spaces in each limited course are reserved for students to request entry by submitting a petition to the instructor which may be done through the Garnet Gateway.

III. Registration Adjustments (Add/Drop) – Add/Drop opens following the petitioning period and is on a first come, first served basis. If a petition process is not successful, students should keep checking the Garnet Gateway and may add the course if space becomes available. Students may add courses, up to 5.5 credits during add/drop.

Registration Procedures

Timing – Registration occurs in January/February for off-campus Short Term units, March for the fall semester and on-campus Short Term units and in November for the winter semester. Specific dates are listed in the Bates College Catalog. A few weeks prior to registration, a Course Schedule for the upcoming semester may be viewed on the Garnet Gateway. The Course Schedule lists courses being offered that term, instructors, class meeting times, enrollment limits, and attributes of the course (e.g. General Education designations). The Bates Catalog on the Garnet Gateway system includes course descriptions, prerequisites, and additional course information.

Advising holds – To register, students review the schedule of courses and must meet with their advisor before or during registration week. The advisor then releases the advising hold and the student may then register for their course preferences using the Garnet Gateway system.

Error messages while registering – When entering course preferences, error messages may appear. They include time conflicts, failure to meet the prerequisite requirement, failure to select a required linked discussion or laboratory section, etc. Any error students encounter when registering their course preferences is corrected by either dropping the course or by obtaining faculty member’s permission. Students seek exceptions by meeting with the course instructor who may grant approval by applying an override to the student’s record. After this occurs, the student is emailed a notification and again registers for the course.

Deadlines – All students must register by the deadline listed in the Catalog. Students studying away should email their advisor to discuss course preferences and to request that the advisor remove the advising hold so they may access the Garnet Gateway system to register. Students located in an area without access to the internet should contact the Registrar’s Office in advance of registration for assistance.

First Day of Classes – Students not in attendance the first class meeting of a course in a semester may be dropped from the course by the instructor. Faculty may submit names of those not in attendance to the Registrar’s office by emailing: This is optional, however, so students should not rely on a faculty member to drop them for nonattendance. If a student cannot attend the first day of class but wishes to remain registered, the student should contact the instructor or the their Student Support Advisor (SSA).

Last Day to Add/Last Day to Drop – Students may add for the first 10 class days of a semester and the second 5 days all courses become entry only with an instructor permission override. Students may drop through the seventh week of the semester. During Short Term, students may add during the first 3 days of the term and drop through the 5th day. All deadlines are strictly enforced and may be found in the Academic Calendar in the Bates Catalog.

What else should I know?

  • Students may web register for up to 4.5 credits during the week of registration and may add credits up to 5.5 during the Add/Drop period.
  • The order in which students register has no bearing on whether or not the student gains entry into the course though optimization.
  • All students must register during the initial week of registration and failing to do so will result in missing optimization for limited seats.
  • Students must enroll in a minimum of 3.0 credits each semester and may not enroll in more than 5.5 credits.

Students are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of their schedule and may access the Garnet Gateway at any time to confirm their course schedule. If an incorrect course appears on the student’s schedule, the student corrects it through adding and dropping during the add/drop period via the Garnet Gateway or, if needed, contacting the Registrar’s office for assistance.