Course Withdrawal

While students may initiate a course withdrawal (for all courses except CORE 120/121) up until the end of the 10th week deadline, faculty may not override the deadline by permission. The deadline is a hard deadline. (Please note that the withdrawal deadline is compressed for summer sessions.)

What is the difference between a course withdrawal and a semester withdrawal?

Course withdrawal refers to a student withdrawing from a single course, or perhaps several courses, but still remaining enrolled in at least one course for the full semester. 

Semester withdrawal refers to a student withdrawing from all courses during the semester. Students who need to withdraw from all registered courses (“semester withdrawal”) may still do so at any time before final exams, by contacting the Registrar’s Office. Instructor consent is not required.

What does the policy say and where can I find the deadline date?

The policy can be found in the College Catalog under the Changes in Registration and Enrollment Status section.

After the add/drop period has ended, students may use a Course Withdrawal form (available from the Office of the Registrar) to withdraw from individual courses up until the end of the 10th week of the semester. Any withdrawal that takes place after the second week is recorded on the student’s transcript with a grade of W (withdrawal). Students are not allowed to withdraw from individual courses after the 10th week of the semester.

In short, students who wish to withdraw from individual courses may do so only up until 4pm on Friday of the 10th week of the semester.  (Note that dates are compressed for Summer Sessions.)  Faculty and students can always find the dates for the current semester listed on the Academic Calendar. (Do keep in mind that students are not allowed to withdraw from CORE 120 or 121, Words and Numbers, unless they fully withdraw from the semester.)

How does this policy impact faculty?

Because students may not withdraw from courses after the deadline, it is important that they are aware of their progress (or lack thereof) in courses. The Dean’s Office and College Advising Center provide support and information to faculty regarding communication with students.

In particular, if you have students who are struggling, please do the following:

  • Communicate with the students and verify that students are aware of their current standing, and what actions need to be taken to successfully complete the course.
  • Take advantage of the College Advising Center. Submit a Notification of Academic Concern (formerly Advising Alert) if appropriate. (A link to this form can be found on the Faculty menu in Webadvisor). Enlist the assistance of College Advisors.
  • Submit mid-term deficiency grades.
  • If you feel the student is unlikely to succeed, and believe that the student should withdraw from your course, please encourage the student to file an individual course withdrawal form and submit it before the deadline. 
  • Check your class roster prior to the end of the 10th week (or summer deadline) to be sure that students who told you they intended to withdraw have actually done so. If not, you may wish to contact the students, although the responsibility for registration does ultimately rest with the student.

If a student chooses to remain enrolled after the deadline, the student should be awarded the grade earned at the end of the semester.

Faculty may experience pressure to award incomplete grades. Please remember that incomplete grade awards are not intended for use to mitigate time management issues or to allow escape from a semester of poor performance. They are intended for use only for acute extenuating circumstances. You can find more information about when to award an incomplete grade on the Faculty Page, under the grading section.

Are there exceptions for extenuating circumstances?

There is a petition process for students who have valid medical reasons for partially withdrawing after the withdrawal deadline. Students may file a petition up until the Friday before the last week of classes. (The last week of classes is the week preceding the final exam period.) Please note that this form will not be accepted after the last week of classes begins.

The Subcommittee on Petitions and Appeals (SPAS) has stringent criteria for granting such an exception.  It is not simply a rubber stamp for a student who procrastinated or thought the grade would improve. It is intended for students with significant, acute medical or personal reasons that would support withdrawing from some, but not all, courses. 

Examples might include:

  • A student who must suddenly attend an outpatient program on only certain days, or at only certain times, thus precluding attendance for one course, but not another. 
  • A student who suffered a fractured limb and wants to withdraw from a PE/A course that requires use of that limb.

The process for requesting an exception is similar to the regular petition process, but does use a different form.

The instructor of the course is also required to complete a short form for review by the SPAS. (The use of the form standardizes the responses from faculty and levels the playing field for students.) The instructor of the course will be contacted by the Registrar’s Office if a petition is submitted which would require the instructor’s response. The response would need to be submitted quickly in order to facilitate the petition process. A sample of the form can be found here.

Students can find the procedure for requesting an exception posted on the Registrar’s Website under the Petition section.