Textbooks, Waitlists and Meal Plans: Your Questions Answered

Whether you are preparing to send your student to college for the first or fourth time this fall, it is normal to have questions about the transition. To help answer some of the most frequently asked questions, we have highlighted some trending topics below:

How will my student know which textbooks to buy, and where should he or she buy them?
Students can visit George Mason University’s bookstore online or in person in the Johnson Center on the Fairfax campus to find out what materials are required for each class. George Mason University’s Barnes and Noble Bookstore price matches, and local competitors to ensure your student gets the best deal on textbooks. For most materials, students have the option to rent or buy used or new textbooks. Renting or buying used versions usually help to cut costs. More information about textbook rentals can be found here. When purchasing or renting materials online, your student has the option to ship to his or her address, or arrange pick-up at the on-campus bookstore. More information about payment, shipping and delivery options can be found here.

What happens if my student is waitlisted for a class?
If your student is waitlisted for a course, he or she should check their waitlist status daily in anticipation of an override that would allow him or her to register for the course. Waitlist overrides are issued as students drop from classes. When an override is granted, an automated email from the Registrar’s Office will be sent to your student’s Mason email address. Once an override is granted, students will only have 72 hours to register for the course. Students can then follow these directions to register with the waitlist override.

Some important reminders about waitlist procedures:

  • Not all courses offer a waitlist
  • Your student’s waitlist position does not guarantee issuance of a waitlist override
  • The last waitlist overrides are issued three days before the semester begins
  • All waitlists are purged on the first day of the semester

For more information about waitlists, visit the Registrar’s website.

Which meal plan is best for my student?
Choosing a meal plan will depend on whether your student lives on or off campus, and if your student has access to a full kitchen or not. For all freshman and sophomores living on campus without a full kitchen in their room, the Independence Dining Plan is required. This plan gives students unlimited access to all three dining halls on the Fairfax campus and includes additional bonus dollars that can be used at any of the on-campus retail dining locations. The Liberty Meal Plan is designed for juniors and seniors, and includes a designated number of meal swipes for dining halls and a set amount of flex dollars that can be used at all on-campus dining locations.

Additional meal plans are available to meet the needs of students who live off-campus or on-campus in a residence hall where meal plans are not required. These additional meal plans feature tax-free dollars to be used at on-campus dining locations. More information about meal plan options can be found on the Dining website.

While transitioning to college and for the duration of your student’s time at Mason, Orientation and Family Programs and Services is here to serve as a centralized resource for you. If you have additional questions, or if we can help in any way, please call (703) 993-2475 or email

Lindsey Conner
Project Coordinator
Orientation and Family Programs and Services