Don’t let the title fool you. Picking classes on OPUS is not the fun kind of game where everyone gets a participation award. There are winners, and there are losers, with the ultimate prize being a huge wave of relief after the enrollment period ends. And chances are, if you’re a freshman, you’re probably going to lose the OPUS games initially (at least until add/drop/swap begins). But do not fear; OPUS can be (sort of) managed with some extra planning and lots of clicks on the refresh button at arbitrary hours of the day.
Many students are so dead set on getting the “perfect schedule” that they refuse to even consider other classes for their initial enrollment period. This would be totally okay in an ideal world with unlimited seats and professors — but too bad reality exists.
Always come up with multiple backup options for classes, and by multiple, I mean more than just two. Last year, I made the mistake of assuming that my classes would stay open by the time of my enrollment and was left panicking 30 minutes before my enrollment period when I realized that almost all of the classes in my shopping cart were already full. Having lots of backups already in your shopping cart prevents the stress of searching up random classes right before your enrollment period.
Even with backup classes in your shopping cart, it’s unlikely you’ll end up with the perfect schedule — especially as an underclassman with a later enrollment period. This is where add/drop/swap comes in.
Add/drop/swap is exactly what it sounds like: students can add other classes, drop classes and swap a class for another. While add/drop/swap is extremely useful in modifying an undesired schedule, it involves a lot of patience and stalking blue squares in the hopes that they turn into green circles. I use the word “stalking” because classes will open up randomly as other students drop classes, so those constantly keeping track of their shopping cart on OPUS will be the first to see any changes.
I’m happy to say that I successfully utilized add/drop/swap last semester. After refreshing my shopping cart to see if my class had opened about five to 10 times a day, I finally saw the dreaded blue square turn into a beautiful green circle at about 30 minutes past midnight. Basking in the glory of finally having used add/drop/swap correctly, I then quickly enrolled before the class could close again. With that being said, add/drop/swap only works as much as the effort you are willing to put in.
Another strategy that some students use is requesting classes on the OPUS Swaps Facebook group. Although this can theoretically work out, most of the requests on the page are for prerequisites or popular classes, with offers of other classes, baked goods, coffee and undying love in return. While a stranger’s undying love may not be the best exchange for a class, OPUS Swaps can occasionally prove to be helpful.
Maneuvering the ruthless OPUS games through add/drop/swap can be exhausting, but don’t give up if you really need or want to take a specific class. After all, perseverance, a trait of only the best OPUS game players, is key to obtaining the perfect schedule.