Impact of Dropping or Withdrawing
Should I Be Withdrawing from a Class?
As a student, you have the option of withdrawing from a class, but is that always
the best choice? What kinds of things should you consider before making a decision?
And what kinds of consequences might you have to deal with if you do withdraw from
While the logistics of withdrawing from a class might be easy, the decision to do
so should be anything but. Withdrawing from a class can have all kinds of implications,
from financial to personal. If you're considering withdrawing from a class, make sure
to also consider the following:
- What is the deadline for withdrawing (especially versus dropping)? Withdrawing from a class often means you'll have a withdrawal noted on your transcript;
if you drop a class, however, it will simply look as if you never registered for the class in the first
place. Consequently, dropping a class is often a much-preferred choice. (Dropping is the time period in which you may drop without the W notation).
- What is the date by which you need to drop a class? And if that deadline has already passed, what is the deadline by which you need to
withdraw? It may be possible that you cannot withdraw after a certain date, so make
sure you know any upcoming deadlines as you make your decision. (Deadlines are posted by clicking on the blue CRN on your class schedule)
- Understand the consequences on your transcript. It's no secret: a withdrawal on your transcript doesn't look so great. If you can
avoid withdrawing from a class, you should do so. That being said, of course, it might
be too late for you to drop a class and your situation might not allow you to ask
for an incomplete. If you're considering transferring to a four-year school or are
going into a profession where you'll need to show your transcript to potential employers,
just be aware of how the withdrawal will look. Is there something you could now do
to prevent that withdrawal from always hanging around in the future? (You may want to speak with an AHC counselor prior to withdrawing to determine YOUR
- Understand the consequences on the rest of your classes. You might be overwhelmed with your workload right now and think that withdrawing
from a class will alleviate some of your stress. And you might be right, too. However,
make sure to think about what withdrawing from this class will mean for both next
semester and the rest of your time in school. Is this class a prerequisite for other
classes? Will your progress be delayed if you withdraw? Do you need to take this class
for your major? If so, how will your department look upon your withdrawal? When will
you be able to retake this course (if you want to, of course)? Will the delay between
now and then cause a major delay in getting your degree? How will you make up the
credits, if needed? (You may want to speak with an AHC counselor prior to withdrawing to determine YOUR
- Understand the consequences on your finances. There are two main financial concerns to consider when thinking about withdrawing
from a class:
- How will this have an impact on your financial aid? If you withdraw from this class, will you be below a certain amount of credits? Will
you face an extra charge or fee? How will the withdrawal effect your financial aid
in general? If you aren't sure, don't leave it to chance: check in with your financial
aid office as soon as possible.
- How will this have an impact on your personal finances? If you withdraw from this class, will you have to pay to take it again? If so, how
will you pay for it? Will you have to buy new books or can you reuse the ones you
already have? What other expenses might be duplicated (lab fees, etc.)? Think carefully
about this one, too. Is it cheaper to hire a tutor in the subject than it is to retake
the class again? If, for example, you're too busy working to find the time needed
to study adequately for this class, is it cheaper to reduce your work hours, and push
through than it is to pay for the cost of the course again?
- Look at the things that are causing you the most stress. Are you over committed in other areas of your life? Can you cut, for example some
of your curricular involvement so that you have more time to dedicate to this class
-- and, consequently, won't have to withdraw from it? Are you in a leadership position
that you could perhaps pass along to someone else until the end of the semester? Can
you reduce the amount of hours you are working? Can you be strict with yourself about
studying more seriously from this point on?
- Consider if your situation is eligible for an "incomplete." If you're really in a situation where circumstances beyond your control are having
an impact on your ability to do well in this class, you might want to consider asking
for an incomplete. An incomplete can be fixed later (i.e., when you complete the requirements
of the course, even if it's after the class has officially concluded), whereas a withdrawal
will remain permanently on your transcript. If you think your situation (like a major
illness during your time in school) might qualify you for an incomplete instead, check
with your instructor and academic counselor as soon as possible. Because if you're considering withdrawing from a class, the
last thing you want to do is make your situation worse by making uninformed choices.
For more information on the consequences on dropping or withdrawing, please refer
to the information found at this link:
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