What Every Student Needs to Know About

Dropping College Courses


At the start of each term every college student should identify two things for each of their classes :

  • The instructor’s drop policy –   If it is not covered in the course syllabus, students should ask.  Instructors normally have the right to drop students under specific situations.  Students need to know those criteria to avoid unpleasant surprises.
  • The college’s drop policy – Most colleges and universities publish “drop dates” in the class schedule.  Normally there are two dates:  1) the last date a student can drop and receive a full refund, and 2) the last date a student can drop with a “W.”  Some schools have additional dates in between these two which identify dates when a student can drop have a percentage of tuition refunded.

When is it appropriate to drop a course?  Some of those situations include:

  • The student realizes that he/she has registered for the wrong course.
  • The student finds out that he/she will not be able to fulfill the course requirements. such as attendance.
  • The student determines he/she is lacking significantly in prerequisite knowledge.  This can occur even when the student has passed a prerequisite course but not retained that knowledge to the degree required.

College students should take several things into consideration before dropping a course.  These include:

  • Even though a withdrawal, often designated a “W,” does not negatively impact a student’s grade point average, it does appear on the transcript.
  • Some institutions may limit the number of times a student can enroll in a course.
  • If student submits a transcript to a perspective employer, multiple drops warn an employer that this candidate has trouble following through.
  • Students who receive financial aid may pay a penalty.  They could loose their financial aid.  These students need to fully understand the implications a drop will have on their financial aid.
  • Students who plan to transfer from a 2-year college to a university may find out that a history of drops may block their acceptance.

 

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