There may come a time in your college career when you don’t feel that you can continue on in a class and you need to drop it. While the process for dropping a class is often amazingly easy, the consequences for dropping a class can be very significant.
Here are some facts that you should know before dropping a class.
- Any class that you withdraw from will show up as a W on your transcript.
- A W grade in any class will not affect your GPA.
- A withdraw from your class could affect your financial aid status if you receive any form of financial aid (See the topic Understanding Financial Aid). You need to successfully complete 70% of the classes you attempt. Success in this case is a D or better. An F or W counts as an unsuccessful completion. Be very careful as a first year student. Dropping just one class can put you close to the 70% threshold. You will receive a warning after one semester and could lose your financial aid altogether if you have another bad semester.
- Twelve credit hours are what you need to be a full time student. You need to stay a full-time student so you will not jeopardize your health insurance, financial aid, car insurance discount, etc. Do not drop below 12 credit hours unless you can find a rescue course to stay above 12 hours.
- On most campuses, you can drop a class up until about 2/3rd of the semester.
Now let’s look at reasons that might be valid for dropping a class.
- You are not going to pass the class no matter what your remaining grades are.
- You have too many credit hours to be successful.
- You can drop the class without doing damage to your overall academic progress.
- You need to drop to maintain your scholarship.
- You do not have time to complete class assignments due to personal circumstances.
In anticipation of students having to drop classes, many campuses offer a number of rescue courses that begin in the middle of the semester. These may keep you from becoming a part-time student. They can also help you maintain the hours you need for a scholarship.
The process for dropping a class is as follows
- Talk with your advisor.
- If your advisor thinks it’s ok to drop the class, then you can drop it .
- Sign up for a rescue course (if appropriate).
- Continue going to the class. While you won’t get credit for the course, you will benefit from seeing the material prior to the next time you take the class.
There is another case of dropping a class to discuss. Let’s say your grades are so bad that you are flunking every course. Or consider the case where you are unable to complete the semester due to personal reasons (e.g. illness, military duty). In cases such as this you can withdraw from all of your classes. You generally can do this up until very late in each semester. For those in the military who get called to duty, there are generally provisions to give you credit for classes if you have to leave campus toward the end of the semester. One caution, if you withdraw from all of your classes, it will be difficult to maintain your financial aid (See the topic Understanding Financial Aid).