There is a common misconception regarding a withdrawal on transcripts and the power this mark holds over students.
“A ‘W’ will appear on your transcript, and it simply means you have withdrawn after the refund deadline,” registration coordinator Robyn White said. “It has zero impact on a student’s grade-point average.”
After the deadline to drop a class for full refund has passed, a student will receive a “W” on individual classes up until the individual-withdrawal deadline which is Friday. Those who do not drop an individual class before the deadline can withdraw all of their classes before April 7.
“We would recommend to students who feel like they’re falling behind, and won’t be able to get the grade that they want, that they would take that ‘W,’” White said.
Denise Ruise, a freshman elementary education major from Riverside, was one of the handful of students who was aware of what a withdrawal can and cannot do to a student’s GPA.
“[A ‘W’] just shows that you dropped something,” Ruiz said. “It’s not the best thing to have, but it’s better than having an F.”
White said that it would be better for students who have the opportunity to drop a class they can not pass rather than receive an F in the course, which has a negative impact on an individual’s grade-point average.
For most students, a single “W” amongst a sea of A’s, B’s and C’s is almost harmless. Students who decide to apply for graduate schools should not be affected by a few withdrawals on their transcripts, but excessive withdrawal can become a pattern and inhibit an individual’s ability to be admitted into a graduate program.
“The people that we have heard [a withdrawal] having a big impact [on] are people going into nursing school, medical school or law school,” White said. “In some cases, we have heard of the ‘W’s being recalculated as an F.”
Withdrawing from a course becomes tricky when a student is using financial aid or a scholarship to pay for those courses.
“It still does impact your total attempted credits,” said Deborah Decker, assistant director of advisement. “So if you’re getting financial aid, it’s very important to talk to [the] financial aid [office] before you drop a class.”
Students on financial aid are required to take a minimum of 12 credits per semester with half of those credits working toward their degree. If a student withdraws from a course, the “W” on their transcript does not equate to successful completion of the course and can drop them below the minimum requirements.
“If you’re considering dropping a class at this point in the semester, where you would get a ‘W,’ that you talk with [the] financial aid [office] first,” Decker said.