You know the feeling.
The homework is starting to pile up, and the class is not what you had in mind when you signed up for it. And what were you thinking when you decided that 8 in the morning was no problem?
The solution is easy: Just withdraw. Everybody else does it, right?
Although withdrawing from a class is not rare, it is a myth to think it is common. In fact, fewer than one in six students on campus last spring had ever withdrawn from a class – and only seven students were within striking distance of reaching the limit of 28 W units.
“There are administrators on campus and at the Chancellor’s Office who think that students fill up their schedule with courses they don’t really want, and then discard the unwanted classes later in the quarter,” Associate Provost Claudia Pinter-Lucke notes. “When students do that, they are taking a seat that another student could be using.”
However, the numbers just don’t support this urban legend. “Between the last day to add and the end of the third week, our enrollment numbers fell by only 0.4 percent,” Pinter-Lucke says. “Students appear to be taking registration seriously, getting a good schedule and keeping it.”
Here are the rules of engagement when considering a withdrawal:
- Students may drop a class up to the fifth day of instruction (not the fifth class meeting) with no sign of a withdrawal appearing on their record.
- Students may withdraw via BroncoDirect through the 15th day of instruction and receive a W on their record. This does not harm their grade-point average. A few Ws are not unusual and should not adversely affect postgraduate opportunities.
- A petition is required to withdraw after the 15th day of instruction but before the ninth week of the quarter. A serious and compelling reason is required, such as a change in employment or medical issues. Such students receive a W on their record.
“Students should really try to continue attending classes until a decision is made,” Pinter-Lucke says. “If a petition is denied, the student’s absence is considered a WU [an unauthorized withdrawal] and treated as an F.”
In more serious cases, students may withdraw with a petition (and a compelling reason) at any time from the sixth day of instruction through finals week to receive a WX. Usually, these students withdraw from all their classes. These petitions must be accompanied by supporting documentation.
Students may also request to withdraw retroactively from an entire quarter, within one year of the quarter in question. When the request is granted, students receive WX grades for all classes that quarter.
Allison Douglas-Chicoye, director of Academic Support and Learning Services, says retroactive withdrawal allows a student who has had an experience that negatively affected an entire quarter to get back on track.
“It is a compassionate way of dealing with extenuating circumstances,” Douglas-Chicoye says. “But it is unfortunate how many of the petitions are filed because the students didn’t know they could have filed for a withdrawal during the quarter.”