Drop a Class or Drop Your GPA

by Amanda Gordon


March 26 marks the last day that students can withdraw from a course, and receive a ‘W’ for their efforts.

When a student is contemplating on withdrawing from a class many factors can come into play. Maybe they found out that the class they are struggling in is not needed to complete their degree, or the student doesn’t want a D to be presented on their official transcript.

Complications outside of school may also serve as a reason, but whatever the case may be, the decision to remove themselves from a class is a choice that students will have to make on their own.

“If a student withdraws from one class, one semester, chances are they will not lose financial aid eligibility.” – Virginia Falcone, Financial Aid Office Councilor

While the opportunity to gain any refund is not possible is there a potential benefit for students to drop a class or is it better to just grin and bear the last half of the semester? The answer, like many of the questions in your math class, is complicated.

In the scenario of a student having too much on their plate to the point that it affects their mental health, dropping a class might be advised. There is nothing wrong with lightening your workload, but students should still be aware of their status and what is required in their chosen program.

One fear many students have when it comes to withdrawing from a class is that their financial aid status will be affected.

“If a student withdraws from one class, one semester, chances are they will not lose financial aid eligibility,” says Virginia Falcone, a counselor for the Financial Aid Office. She does warn that making a habit of dropping classes could come back to haunt students and their status.

“A pattern of withdrawing can also have an effect on another federal government regulation, referred to as 150%,” says Falcone. “Each program is allotted a certain amount of credits to complete a degree, according to government regulations. If a student reaches that point before actually graduating from the program, they lose federal funding until they actually graduate from that program or major.”

Drawing back to the sometimes dreaded ‘W,’ it’s not the end of the world to take it, and sometimes it may be for the best. Federal Aid is only granted to students who earn a 2.0 or higher, so in the case of a student who perceives that they will fail the course or receive a grade lower than they want, taking a ‘W’ may be the best win scenario.

As a student who has withdrawn from a course in the past, it shouldn’t be a sign of weakness, but wisdom. In my case, the time I spent in class was frustrating and I couldn’t handle the workload that I had. Upon recognizing this, I made the decision to withdrawing from the class to better focus on my other courses, work, and my personal life.

To this day I don’t regret dropping that class, and it hasn’t hindered my college career. I’m not condoning that everyone should withdraw from a class, but it is an option to seriously consider if you’re struggling.

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