Dealing with Academic Stress: When and How to Withdraw from a Class

There are multiple ways you can withdraw from a class and it depends on the college system. The easiest method is to do it from the college’s website. Similarly, some colleges also allow withdrawing through email. However, both of these methods cannot be applied in every college. Thus, the registrar’s office is the best way.

Withdrawing from a class can be nail-biting. First, you must list the pros and cons of withdrawing from a class and then go through the hefty protocol. Nevertheless, if you have thought about it, then you must be on a stretch and need some relief from your life.

Nevertheless, there are multiple factors to consider. If you are on a scholarship/financial aid or international visa, you can get canceled due to withdrawing. So without any further ado, let’s dive in deep.

How to Withdraw from a Class
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What Does It Mean To Withdraw From A Class?

Before you withdraw from a class, you should be aware of all the implications that come with it. A class withdrawal, or “W” grade as it’s commonly known, signifies that you have officially dropped the course.

In some cases, it won’t carry any academic or financial penalties. However, there may be consequences for other reasons. It includes the program and when you’ve withdrawn during the semester.

For example:

  • You may withdraw after the add/drop period. Or, you can withdraw the class or semester two weeks past the midpoint of your enrollment period. You will receive a “W” grade on the academic transcript in both cases.
  • You may also withdraw after two weeks past the midpoint of your actual enrollment period. It can also be right four weeks prior to the end of classes. If so, you may receive a Withdraw Passing “WP” or Withdraw Failing “WF” grade. It will be in addition to the “W” grade on your transcript.
  • If you withdraw the semester after four weeks before the end of the term, a regular letter grade will likely appear on your transcript.

Thus, it is essential to discuss your situation with an advisor before making a decision. The advisor may figure out the best withdrawal time and process for you.

Related: How to Decline Admission to a College

When Is the Best Time to Withdraw From a Class?

Withdrawing from a class is not something you should take lightly. Hence, the withdrawal timing from the class is vital. If you wait too long, you could end up compromising your academic record.

At worst, it may affect your future enrollment. Ask yourself the following questions and find the best time to withdraw the class as the last option.

  • Am I eligible for a refund? Generally, withdrawing any time before the midpoint of the semester works best. You will get a full tuition refund from most schools.
  • What are my grades? If you have failing grades, it might be better to try and complete the semester. Thus, you can still benefit from whatever points you get for your final grades.
  • Can I justify the class withdraw? You should talk to an academic advisor or financial aid officer if possible. They can help provide some context as to why this might be the best option.

You must remember that withdrawing from classes is not ideal. So, you must ensure that you have weighed all options carefully before making a decision.

Does withdrawing from a class affect GPA?

When you withdraw from a class, it won’t include in your cumulative GPA. Well, it’s not bad if you don’t do this often, and it certainly won’t affect your GPA.

We recommend you do the few things in your life perfectly rather than doing a lot of things together poorly. However, if there’s a pattern of your grade sheet having “W” at regular intervals, it is a problem.

You might be asked soon about the reasons for withdrawal if you are going for higher studies. Additionally, if you seek a job, you will be asked for these W’s.

Regular intervals in withdrawals will lead to a bad impression. The people in charge might find it to portray irresponsible or laziness. As a result, making the first impression bad.

Benefits And Limitations Of Withdrawing

Since the withdrawal option is available, you can withdraw from any course. But, such types of decisions have both benefits and limitations. We have listed both the benefits and disadvantages of withdrawing from a course.


  • No impact on your GPA
  • Removed stress from failing
  • Can focus on other classes


  • Loss of effort
  • It will require you more time to graduate
  • May impact scholarship/financial aid/visa.

How to Withdraw From a Class?

As mentioned before, there are three separate ways you can withdraw from a class. It depends on the college you are going to and their protocol for withdrawal. Nevertheless, we have separated 3 withdrawal systems;

  1. Email
  2. The college’s website
  3. A form from the registrar’s office for withdrawal

At least one of them will certainly apply to your college. So here’s what you need to do for each of them:

The College’s Website

The easiest method is to use the college’s website to withdraw from a class. Here, you should go to your college’s official website and find the location where all your registrations are available. You will often come across a drop/withdraw option.

Here, all you need to do is write the purpose for withdrawal, and if reasonable, it should be approved within a few days. You don’t need to mention any name or id as you have logged in with your student account.

A Form From the Registrar’s Office for Withdrawal

The most common method is taking a withdrawal form from the registrar’s office. It’s the most common one as every college has this method available in their colleges.

Just go to your college’s registrar’s office and ask for a withdrawal sheet. They shouldn’t be asking any questions about your decision.

Take the form and fill it up with the required information like student id, name, and purpose for withdrawal. Later, take it to the registrar’s office and submit it.


A more uncommon method for withdrawing from a class is through email. All you have to do is find out the email of your college’s registrar and write them a simple formal email about withdrawal.

You should mention your name, id, and the reason(s) for withdrawal. Moreover, you must be quite valid and transparent in your reasoning for the administration even to consider allowing you to withdraw.

Read: What Happens If You Fail the State Test?

Factors You Should Consider Before Withdrawing From a Class

Before you make the decision to withdraw, there are certain factors that you need to consider that may impact your education career. Let’s dig in deep with those so that you don’t regret your decision later.

Factors Consider Before Withdrawing From a Class
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International Visa

If you are on an international visa, your visa might get canceled if you drop below 12 credits. You need to follow certain criteria to keep your visa ongoing, such as keeping 12 units.

On the other hand, if you fail to do so, you might need to return to your homeland.

Scholarship/Financial Aid

You need to review your scholarship/financial aid’s terms and conditions again to confirm whether you can drop under 12 units. Most financial aids have requirements you must make sure of every semester.

As a result, withdrawing may lead to loss of financial aid or may need to return money to the bank.

Graduation Time

As mentioned, withdrawing from a class leads to less effort and increases time. While the effort may be overlookable, you cannot undo time. As a result, the career plans that you made for the future might be delayed.

Financial Factor

There are some colleges where there is a withdrawal fee attached to it. Additionally, you may need to buy new books and other items. So it’s best if you consider all the financial aspects as well.


Some most common questions are answered here to clear your remaining confusion.

Do universities care about withdrawals?

No, they don’t care about it unless your transcript has too many Ws. Additionally, the job sector will also skim through your transcript and might find it discouraging if there are too many.

Is withdrawing from a class considered failing?

No, withdrawing is not the same as failing. If you know that you are going to fail due to overwhelming pressure, it’s safe to get a ‘W’ instead of an ‘F.’


Withdrawing from class isn’t a great idea in any situation. Certainly, this has pros and cons, but if you just need it for yourself, do it. The procedure requires you to be transparent about your reasoning, which is then portrayed in the application. It can be emailed, done using the college’s website, or a form.

Nevertheless, let’s not forget that it may not affect your GPA, but a consistent number of ‘W’ leads to a bad impression. So we recommend you see your college’s advisor before making any decision, as your international visa and financial aid are at stake. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to