Bidding Instructions for Spring 2014


  1. Enter your bids between the parentheses on the top line of each box on your Registration Sheet. Use whole numbers; fractions or decimals will be discounted. Because most people bid in multiples of five, consider using numbers not divisible by five.

  2. BIDDING POINTS: Students have 80 points to bid if:

    (1) they are registering for eight blocks,

    (2) they are seniors (regardless of the number of blocks of registration), or

    (3) they are participating in a Cornell-approved off-campus program.

Students registering for fewer than eight blocks, other than seniors and those approved for off-campus study, have bidding points equal to the number of blocks of registration multiplied by 10. For example, if you are planning to take only four blocks, you will have a total of 40 points to bid.

  1. You should bid high for any course or section that is likely to have more students registering than there are openings. Available seats are listed on the registration site. Consult your major advisor or use the Lowest Successful Bids in the Bidding History information to determine whether a particular upper-level course may require a high bid. The higher your bid, the better your chances of getting the course. On the other hand, if you know that a course is not likely to close, you can assign a low bid to that course.

  2. COURSES IN A SEQUENCE: All students are eligible to use this option when registering for one or more of the following sequences: CHE 121-122; Modern Foreign Languages (except Spanish) 101-102 or 103-205 or 101-102-103-205; GRE or LAT 101-102 or 101-102-205; GEO 111-112; MAT 119-120; PHY 141-142 or 161-162. Bid for the first course in each sequence and put ZERO (0) points on all the succeeding courses. You must take the "next" course in the sequence the first time it is offered after you complete the earlier course. Exercising this option does not guarantee your admission to any or all of the courses in the sequence. Your admission to the remaining courses will be based on your bid for the first course.

    Example: CHE 122 is offered in Blocks Four, Seven, and Eight. If you register for CHE 3-121 you may only use this option for CHE 4-122. If you delay CHE 122 until Block Seven, you must bid separately for both courses.

    Example: if you bid 23 points for CHE 121, then a bid of 23 will determine your admission to 122, just as if you had also bid 23 points for 122. If there are 25 bids above 23, you will not get into 122. 

Your bid for the second course in the sequence will be entered by the Registrar’s Office. This may push your bid total over 80 points. Don’t panic, that’s the point of sequential bids. If you need to change any bids or courses after we have added the sequential bid, you will need to drop the courses from your cart and re-enter them. We will enter sequential bids regularly throughout the bidding process.


    • SENIORS: You must bid for all courses unless you are sure that they will not fill or you qualify to make a preemptive bid as described in #6.
    • JUNIORS: You must bid for all your courses unless you are sure that they will not fill or you qualify to make a preemptive bid. You may make a preemptive bid if (1) the course in question is one that fits all the criteria described in #6 and the department chair confirms it will not be taught in your senior year by sending an email to the Registrar, or (2) you have been approved to enter a 3-2 or similar graduate program at the end of your junior year.
    • Note: Do not register for a second choice course in a block for which you are using a preemptive bid. The preemption negates the need for a second choice.

    A preemptive bid will automatically secure your admission even if another student bids 80 points for the same course.   To make a preemptive bid, enter the letter "P."

Preemptive bids are ALLOWED only for courses in your major that are

(1) in a major for which you have a Declaration of Major card on file in the Registrar's Office AND

(2) offered only once during the academic year AND

(3) for which the department does not permit any other course to be substituted.

Note: Do not register for a second choice course in a block for which you are using a preemptive bid. The preemption negates the need for a second choice.

Preemptive bids are NOT ALLOWED even in your major if

(1) there are two or more sections (whether in the same or different blocks) OR

(2) the course is one of several in a string or subfield from which you may choose OR

(3) you have a scheduling conflict that can be resolved by your shifting or dropping an elective, vacation, internship, etc. OR

(4) you wish to finish early (i.e., before May) OR

(5) because you prefer a particular course, instructor, or block

Preemptive bids are NOT ALLOWED for

(1) electives

(2) B.A., B.Mus., or Teacher Education general education requirements


The list of lowest successful bids is intended to provide historical information suggesting which courses may be heavily enrolled. To understand what is meant by "lowest successful bid," consider this example: A certain course has a cap of 25 students. The student who obtained the 25th place bid 14 points; therefore 14 is the lowest successful bid. Obviously, if a course did not close (in which case the course will not be found on this list), even bids of zero were successful.

Overbidding is wasteful, but even worse is underbidding when the attached data suggest that your bid will be too low. Either increase your bid or bid zero and increase your bid for another course that is more important to you.

If a course does not appear on this list, it either was not offered last year or else admitted every student who registered for it. This does not mean, however, that a course that did not close last year will not have an over-enrollment this year. If a course is important to you, bid a reasonable amount for it regardless of the data.