Withdrawing From a Course: What You Need to Know


Okay, so you’ve taken a couple of quizzes, taken an exam and submitted a few assignments. For whatever reason, you’re not doing so hot. You’re kinda worried that you might fail or earn a grade that will adversely affect your GPA. What are your choices? Should you withdraw?

Here’s what you need to know.

If this is your first visit, please take a moment to review my disclaimer.

  1. Talk to your advisor. I know I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but before you make any decisions, talk to your advisor first. Your chat could lead to a diagnosis of the situation and you might be able to turn it around and make huge improvements. I’ve seen it happen. Also, your advisor might know about a new tutoring opportunity that you hadn’t heard of.
  2. Talk to your professor. Get some feedback from your professor. The course you’re taking might just be a really hard course and you’re on par with the rest of your class. Also, your professor might have the inside scoop on supplemental instruction sessions or specialized tutoring opportunities.
  3. Understand the consequences of your withdrawal. Consider the following:
    • Withdrawals typically appear on the transcript as a grade of W.
    • If you withdraw after a certain point in the semester, your grade may be assigned as WF (withdrawn, failing) or WP (withdrawn, passing). Your school may consider these in your institutional GPA calculation.
    • Withdrawing from a course may affect your financial aid, so be sure to check in with financial aid prior to withdrawing.
    • Will you incur additional fees if you reattempt the course in the future?
  4. Understand how a withdrawal can affect your degree planning. If you’re a chemistry major and your need to take Chem I and Pre-Calc, withdrawing from Pre-Calc will potentially put you behind and your course sequences can get out of alignment. However, if you fail Pre-Calc, you will still have to re-take it anyway if you continue as a chem major, so you could still potentially get behind. If you perform poorly in Pre-Calc, but are eligible to enroll in Calc I next semester, how well will you have learned the Pre-Calc concepts to do well in Calc I?

These items are just starting points in your decision to withdraw from a course. Always talk to your advisor before withdraw from any course!

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