Before withdrawing from a college course

speak with your college advisor, financial aid counselor, or academic advisor to determine how dropping the course will affect your financial aid and gpa.​ Your financial aid may require that you complete a specific amount of units per semester; withdrawing from a course may take you under that load. You can enroll in another course, as long as the date for adding classes hasn't passed.

Reasons why you might want to withdraw

There are many reasons why college students choose to withdrawal from a course such as ​too many absences, a failing grade, or even just mental health reasons​. Either way, its important to be sure you want to withdrawal before doing so because it could mean lowering your grade point average, affecting prerequisites, and lowering your number of credits which you will have to make up for next semester, which could pose a problem for full-time students. ​The withdrawal process isn’t scary but it can affect your academic standing if not done with an academic advisor.

How to withdraw

You can withdraw from the college class online or by phone.​ Withdraw using the same online or phone number you used to enroll. This option is usually only available for the first couple of weeks after the course starts.

Drop the college class before the last day without receiving a W grade (e.g., withdrawal or incomplete). Typically, you must withdraw with a drop form after the second week of classes or before the withdrawal deadline (this depends on the university) and before the middle of the semester to not receive an incomplete grade. ​Go to the counseling office and obtain a "drop form."​ Write your name, college ID or Social Security number on the form and the name and number of the course. Ask the course instructor to sign the form. Immediately, submit the drop form to the counseling office.

Petition to withdraw from the college course. ​If you've missed the last drop date, you will need to complete a petition in order to obtain eligibility to withdraw from the course.​ Most schools will not allow you to petition for course withdrawals after you've completed all coursework or the final exam. Visit your college advisor or counseling office to obtain the necessary withdrawal form. You will receive an incomplete grade if withdrawing from the course this late in the semester.


If you withdraw from the course soon enough, ​you may qualify for all or part of the course fees.​ Immediately go to the cashier's office to inquire about a refund for dropped classes. Also ​return books for that class, so you can receive a full refund​. The bookstore may not allow textbook and material returns if the items are unwrapped or are returned after a certain date in the semester.

Pay attention to the academic calendar​ to stay on top of important dates and deadlines for withdrawal.

You can seek help from a number of resources such as the ​financial aid office, registrar’s office, student services, and academic advising​. All those sources are there to help you through your college career.

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