Pass times for Spring Quarter 2022 began this week, and following UC Santa Barbara’s introduction of a more restrictive unit limit for each pass time for Winter Quarter 2022 class registration, students reflected on the process of course selection and registration.

As a result of the changes, students could only enroll in a maximum of 10 units total during Pass 1, the initial registration period, followed by a maximum of 15 units total during Pass 2 and 21 units total during Pass 3. This is a change from previous quarters, when students could enroll in up to 13.5 units total during Pass 1, 19 units total during Pass 2 and 21 units total during Pass 3.

The policy also prevented all students from achieving full-time status — which requires a minimum enrollment of 12 units — until their second registration period. A total of 22,496 undergraduate students were enrolled in Winter Quarter 2022, with only 756 of them taking less than 12 units, according to third-week registration reports from UCSB’s Office of Budget & Planning.

Kurt Rhim, a fourth-year communication major, said that the change affected his plans to graduate early.

“I was basically set to graduate early, my communication major classes would have been done mainly by the end of winter quarter … but now with the cap, I may need to stay an extra quarter in the summer,” Rhim said.

Because of the lowered unit limits and class capacity maxed by Pass 1 and 2, Rhim was only able to enroll in 12 units for Winter Quarter 2022, although he hoped to take 16 units. However, Rhim said he understood that he wasn’t the only student to be negatively impacted by the change.

“This might place a bit of a wrench in my plans, but that’s just how it is. I know other people are going through the same thing too, so I wasn’t going to be too upset or complain about it,” Rhim continued. “I still get my three courses, and I think that’s still plenty of workload sometimes. So this is kind of inconvenient, but it’s OK.”

Upon data collection by the Nexus, a total of 99,203 seats were offered on GOLD in Winter Quarter 2022 across all undergraduate courses. By the end of Pass 1, 52,690 seats were filled, making up 53.1% of all offered seats. An additional 22,381 seats were filled in Pass 2 and 8,100 seats in Pass 3. 

From the first day of class on Jan. 3 to the Friday of the first week, Jan. 7, 9,801 courses were dropped. At the end of the first week, 72,763 seats were filled, 2,308 fewer than at the end of Pass 2.

For Winter Quarter 2022, 2,032 different lectures were offered — 501 of which were completely full by the end of the first pass time. By Pass 3, 855, or 42.1% of lectures, were completely full.

On Nov. 8, the first day of Pass 1, 11 lectures completely filled up, with the first full lecture — MCDB 101BH from the molecular, cellular and developmental biology department — reaching full capacity by noon. At the end of Pass 1, six departments had more than 70% of their seats filled. In the political science department, 86% of the seats were filled — the most of all departments — with 14 of its 25 offered lectures completely full. 

At the end of Pass 2, six departments had more than 90% of their seats filled. Asian American studies and political science had 97.2% and 96.7% of their total seats filled, respectively, with 84.2% and 76% of their lectures completely full. In total, 13 departments that offered more than 5 lectures had at least half of their lectures completely full by the end of Pass 2. 

Second-year dance major Lilly Teisher expressed the stress and frustration that stemmed from only being allowed to enroll in 10 units during Pass 1.

“It was really stressful only being able to sign up for 10 [units] and everything starts filling up, especially when I’m trying to take GEs, especially when I’m [trying to be a] double major, trying to take these freshman major classes and not having the space,” she said. “It definitely made it really stressful for me, and I know my roommates were very stressed out as well.”

Teisher said she approached her course selection process in fall quarter by prioritizing academic classes, which tended to fill up much faster than her major-related dance courses. She said that her strategy backfired when a dance class she needed filled up, and she was unable to enroll in the necessary number of dance units to remain on track to obtain her B.A. with a four-year graduation plan.

“I was hoping just to enroll in the academic classes because [in] dance, obviously, not a lot of people are going to be signing up for ballet and modern dance,” Teisher said.

“There was a new dance class that they had added called street dance, and I was like, ‘OK, I’ll add that later, I’m always able to get into the dance classes … ’ By the time I got to Pass 2, I literally could not add it to my schedule, and so I didn’t have the dance credits that I needed for this quarter,” she continued.

Teisher eventually enrolled in the dance class by crashing the course in person on the first day of instruction after struggling to obtain an add code over winter break or receive responses from professors over email. She emphasized the uniqueness of her situation, given that the majority of Winter Quarter 2022 classes began remotely and that only a few classes, such as dance, had in-person instruction.

“I was able to get into the class, but I had to email the advisor a bunch of times … Finally, they gave me an add code. At first, they were like, ‘Just stay on the waitlist.’ The waitlist wasn’t moving, they weren’t going to let anyone off of it, and so I finally went in [and talked to the professor].”

Teisher said that she preferred the previous course selection process.

“I was very frustrated, but it’s OK now. It just makes it a lot harder, especially when we had the option of 12 or 13 units before. With that, you’re able to take three 4-unit classes, and now you can’t even do that,” Teisher said.

Fourth-year Spanish and sociology double major Ally Chen said she had less pressure during her registration period, as her courses were upper-division and, overall, less impacted.

“I’m a fourth-year, so for me, it wasn’t that much of a big deal because I was all in upper-divs anyway … From what I’ve heard, if you were in [an] upper-division [class], if you were doing your major already, then it wasn’t as difficult,” Chen said.

Third-year psychological & brain sciences major Yasra Alsaudi also had an easier time enrolling in classes because she has priority class registration, which is intended to help her catch up on graduation requirements after transferring from UC Riverside. 

“I technically got priority enrollment … so that’s why I don’t think it affected me that much,” Alsaudi said.

She described being able to enroll in a chemistry course with her preferred time and choice of professor, compared to friends who faced greater difficulty.

“I was able to get the chem professor that I wanted and the time that I wanted,” Alsaudi said. “[My friends] had to debate which class they should drop or not, so it was just stressful. It was a mess for a lot of people.”

Teisher said the stressful experience of Winter Quarter 2022 registration will once again be mirrored in her upcoming Spring Quarter 2022 course selection.

“I’m definitely just going to do the same thing with academic classes and just hope that the dance classes I need don’t fill up again,” Teisher said. “That’s my only option because the academic ones fill up so fast. I’m not looking forward to it.”

While disappointed with the current system, Rhim voiced that some students may have had positive experiences.

“I think, like everyone else, [I was] disappointed when the unit cap was placed, but I know there were a lot of people who I’m sure were actually very pleased about it but were just too timid or felt like they were outnumbered to speak up,” Rhim said.

The interactive chart below shows the rate at which individual classes fill up.

A version of this article appeared on p. 3 of the Feb. 10, 2022, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Nisha Malley
Nisha Malley (she/her/hers) is the County News Editor for the 2022-23 school year. Previously, Malley was an Assistant News Editor for the 2021-22 school year. She can be reached at
Alex Rudolph
Alex Rudolph (he/him/his) was the Data Editor for the 2021-22 school year. He can be reached at