Well now, that was not so bad…

First quarter, third year, gone. Very glad.

I had my schedule for next quarter all planned out, then I ended up getting only one out of my four classes. So, how can you get the classes you want with a computerized system? That was my question, and the answer, at least here, is pretty simple.

Class registrations are updated in real time, so for me to fit into a class I didn’t get, I just need someone to drop. Sniffing passwords over wifi would not be impossible, but the odds that I’d grab a useful password are nearly nothing. There are only about one hundred students that I could log in as to drop the classes I need. There are over 5k undergraduates alone. It just did not pencil out, and besides that – it is illegal.

So, plan B – let them drop of their own accord – just be there the instant they do to take the spot. Easy. Any campus course request system I have ever seen works just like a regular form. POST or GET data. You need to know where and what data is being sent for your course request. Then resubmit it constantly.

In my case, this was easy. JavaScript is used to post data to a single processing page that either works or notifies you of an error. If the class is full, you cannot just click the “add” link. You have to type the JavaScript in the action bar. Luckily, the script is on every page, whether click-able/visible or not, so copying and pasting the script from one page and typing it in on the address bar of the closed course works just fine. IMO this should probably be fixed to make things a little harder.

After you do that, because success and failure share a  common page – you are never forwarded anywhere – you can simple refresh the page to re-post your request. Download a nifty little program to reload your page at set intervals, and you can request all your courses (simultaneously even, at least here) as often as you like.

I now have 3 out of the 4 courses I wanted. With the 4th being requested every thirty seconds. Its a tiny class of ten people, but if one of them decides to move around – I’ll be in.

This is why they invented captchas.

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