Whether you’ve been struck by a tragedy or simply have unmet expectations, there are various reasons why a student may need to stop attending a class. There are a few different ways that students can go about handling this issue, but some methods have more harsh consequences than others.
If you’ve found yourself in a class that you no longer wish to take, there’s a set amount of time at the beginning of the semester, usually two to three weeks, when students can drop classes with a full refund and no mark on their transcript.
“During that time period is the best time to determine, ‘okay, is this class working? Is it meeting my expectations?’ and not just the class, but the teacher,” says Claudia Gutierrez-Sanchez, academic advisor and professor of EDU 1020.
After this drop period, students are still able to withdraw from a class, but they won’t receive a refund. This semester, the withdraw period lasts until Oct. 26.
After the withdrawal period closes, it’s only under a few documented extenuating circumstances that students will still be allowed to withdraw from a class. Students can submit a registration appeal along with supporting documents to the Office of the Registrar and Academic Records.
The general guidelines for withdrawal during this period are: cases where events affecting enrollment are nonrecurring, catastrophic, or life-threatening and beyond the student’s control. This would include, but not be limited to: medical emergencies, military service requirements and loss of job.
If students don’t meet any of the criteria, they’ll have to either continue the course or can accept a failing grade by disregarding the class.
Failing a course has plenty of downsides to it, not least of which is the emotional toll it takes on your psyche. But, perhaps worst of all, receiving a failing grade, unlike a withdrawal, brings down your grade point average.
A failing grade and a withdrawal will both show on your transcript, but the withdrawal carries a much more neutral connotation when compared to a failed course.
A withdrawal does have its downsides, however. If you receive financial aid and withdraw from a class, the credits that you took will still count towards your overall attempted credits hours and may impact your financial aid.
“If you’re in financial aid, it’s always best to consult a financial aid advisor before you consider dropping or withdrawing from a class. That’s always the best case,” says Gutierrez-Sanchez.
There is a third option available for students who don’t want to withdraw because of disinterest in the class but have a situation such as a medical emergency compelling them to do so.
In the case where a student with a passing grade is about 70 percent of the way through a course when they’re suddenly hit with an emergency which requires leaving school, students can consult with their teachers to request an “incomplete” and a plan to remedy the grade.
With an incomplete grade, you may have up to a year to complete work or tests that will satisfy your course requirements and provide you with your final grade. If you don’t follow through with your requirements within the year or so that you’ve been given, you’ll receive a grade reflecting your pre-incomplete work, which is most likely going to be a failing grade.
It’s never exciting and often stressful when one must go through the process of adjusting their academic status, especially when it involves financial aid. However, when one has a better understanding of the process, its likely to be just a bit easier.
Students can visit Academic Advising for more information about dropping and withdrawing from classes.