Q. Why are you changing the ticketing system?

A. The new online advance ticketing system offers several benefits over the old system:

  • No standing in line each morning of Convention if you've preregistered.
  • You know what classes you'll be taking well in advance of Convention.
  • You can take your time in choosing what classes you want to take. You'll have a week to decide and make your choices.
  • The new system is far more equitable than the old system.

Q. What do you mean by "far more equitable?"

A. As you may know, under the old system, everyone got a priority number based on (a) when they registered, (b) luck of the draw (since the first day's registrations were lotteried together). If you got a good, low priority number, you got to pick all your classes before everyone else and pretty much got all your choices! Whereas if you happened to register late (or just ended up with a high number because of the lottery), by the time the line got to you, the pickins could be pretty slim.

In the new system, there's still priority numbers, but now classes are assigned round-robin, like the NFL draft. Priority number 1 gets ONE class; then number 2 gets ONE class; and so on, all the way to the person with the lowest priority number. Only then does priority number 1 get their second class pick. And so on, and so forth. This makes the class assignment process far more equitable than before.

But it's even better than that. If you've signed up for classes, in addition to picking classes for individual days, we ask you to request classes for your "top picks": your favorite classes over all days. We'll try to give EVERYONE one of their top picks (still based on their priority number) before we get into day-specific class assignments.

Q. So there's still a priority number based on when I register, right?

A. Yes. The first day's registrations are still lotteried together (together with the paper-form registrations postmarked on the first day); thereafter priority numbers are assigned based on date of registration/postmark. But the priority number is no longer "winner-take-all"; it just determines your position in each round of class assignment.

Q. Where do I request my classes?

A. If you registered yourself or someone else, all of their schedules will be linked from the Convention 2018 My Classes page, accessible when you are logged in to your website account. If you sent in paper forms, but have a website account, you'll still be able to request classes online after logging in to your website account. The system will be open for class requests for one week. See Class Schedules and Previews for exact dates.

Q. How do I express my relative choices?

A. For each day of classes, you can choose any number of classes and drag them into preference order on the online form. You'll do the same for your top picks.

Q. Can I specify conditional choices? Like, if I get into Fuse, I want to take LaFosse, but if I don't get Fuse, then I'll take Peyton?

A. Sorry, no. You can put your classes into strict order of preference for each day and for top picks, and that's all.

Q. How many choices can I make for each day?

A. You can request as many classes as you want for each day and for your top picks. The assignment algorithm will try to fill your schedule until either your schedule is full or it runs out of your requests. If you want a full day, we suggest you choose at least 10–15 classes for Saturday and Sunday and for top picks. Also, try to cover each period of the day with several picks so that you will end up with as full a schedule as possible.

Q. If I only choose one top pick, does that guarantee I'll get that one?

A. No, on the contrary; if that class is full by the time the algorithm gets to your top pick, it will just stop trying to assign one for you. That’s why 10–15 picks are suggested, and there’s no harm in picking more.

Q. Do I need to choose classes for each day AND for top picks?

Yes. Your top picks are used for only a single class assignment (and, for teachers and volunteers, for your teacher/volunteer picks). After that, we use your day-specific requests.

Q. Who does the actual assignment? A person? A team?

A. It's a computer algorithm. There will probably be something like 200 classes and several thousand class requests. The website server will sort through them all and do the actual assignment based on attendees' requests, priority numbers, and class sizes.

Q. Is there special priority for teachers and volunteers, like there was in the past?

A. Yes, and the good news is, there is special priority, but there's no special process. Teachers and volunteers register and make requests just like everyone else, but they get their special bump at class assignment time, based on the number of hours they teach and/or volunteer.

Q. Does anyone else get special priority?

A. Yes, we try to give a little extra priority to our invited guests, first-timers and foreign guests. But remember, the nice thing about this system is that priority is no longer all-or-nothing; we dole out priority in measured doses.

Q. What if I register after online class requests close? How do I get classes?

A. We'll still have an on-site class signup for people who registered late or on-site. This will work like it has in the past: you'll line up in priority ticketing number order and can select classes from what's available. More details are here.

Q. Can I make changes to my class schedule after getting it via the online advanced ticketing?

A. Yes. You can join the on-site registration line (based on your priority numbers) and can add, drop, or replace classes in your schedule. (If all you want to do is drop a class, you don't need to stand in line; you can do this at the Help desk.)

Q. Can I still use paper forms for registration and class requests?

A. Yes. For registration, there are downloadable registration forms and you can fill those out and send them in.

For requests, we're still working that out. Check back here closer to Convention time for an updated answer.

Q. Can I make a pairing request, i.e., to make sure I get into the same classes with my child so I can assist them?

A. We do try to group family members together at assignment time; make sure you and your child request the same classes in the same order and there's a good chance you'll be assigned together (though it's not guaranteed). Once the schedules are published, it may still be possible for the convention administrators to make changes to effect the desired pairings, either for the selected class, or another that can be agreed upon.