Withdrawing From and Dropping Classes

Content adapted from the Advising Canvas site for the Hart School

The difference between "dropping" and "withdrawing from" a class

Dropping a class removes it from your schedule and erases it from your transcript. Withdrawing from a class records a grade of “W” to your transcript, which does not affect your GPA or add to your credit hours. A class can only be dropped in the first few days of a semester. Once the drop deadline has passed, you may withdraw from a class until the course adjustment deadline. After the course adjustment deadline, withdrawals are at the discretion of the instructor.

Thinking of dropping a class?

If it is before the drop deadline (usually the second Tuesday of the semester), you may drop yourself from a course using MyMadison. Ask yourself:
- Will you still be full-time (at least 12 credits)?
- Do you have another required class or an elective you can replace it with?
- Will you still be on track to graduate on time without that class?

Thinking of withdrawing from a class?

If it is after the drop deadline, but before the course adjustment deadline (usually about halfway through the semester), you may withdraw yourself from a course using MyMadison. In addition to the questions about dropping a class, ask yourself:
- Have you spoken with the professor? There may still be an opportunity to raise your grade between now and the end of the semester. What would your professor advise?
- Would assistance with writing papers, test taking, etc. improve your performance? If so, there are campus resources that could help.

To withdraw from a class before the course adjustment deadline, simply log into MyMadison and drop the class. This will result in a grade of W. Withdrawing after the course adjustment deadline can only be done with special permission from the instructor of the course, and results in a grade of WP (indicating passing at the time of withdrawal) or WF (indicating failing at the time of withdrawal). If the instructor grants the request, he or she will assign the grade at the end of the semester; no further action is needed from the student. I do recommend sending an email after your conversation with him/her recounting what was agreed upon and thanking them. This way you’ll have a paper trail of the conversation.

How will it show up on my transcript, or alter my GPA?

Dropped classes do not show up on your transcript in any way. Withdrawals result in W, WP, or WF. None of the “W” grades affect your GPA at all, and if you're struggling in a class, it's far better to have a W than a D or an F.

Does dropping/withdrawing from a class impact grad school, getting a job, or financial aid?

It depends. Dropping a class from time to time is perfectly fine, but you want to make sure that over the course of your four years at JMU you don't develop a habit of withdrawing from courses. Future employers or graduate programs may frown upon this if they notice a pattern. Your JMU financial aid and scholarships can also be impacted by a pattern of withdrawals. If in doubt, speak with a staff member in Financial Aid to see how your “Satisfactory Academic Progress” could be affected by a withdrawal.

Will I need to retake the class later?

It depends. If it was a major or minor requirement, then yes. If it was a class that counted towards GenEd, you could take a different class from that cluster to make up that requirement later.

Will this delay graduation?

Not necessarily, but you'll probably need to make up some credits. You need to have an average of 5 classes each semester to graduate in 4 years. So if you drop a class, at some point you will either need to add a summer class, or take 6 classes in a semester to get back on track. If you had prior credit from AP, IB, or Dual Enrollment, this would probably already make up for the credit.

Who needs to be in on this decision?

You can meet with the CS Advisor to discuss your decision to drop and how it would impact your future courses. You can schedule a meeting with Paige Normand via MyMadison Connect

Also consider talking with your parents/guardians about the decision to drop a class, just to make sure that you're on the same page with this decision. Your tuition at JMU remains the same when you take 12 or more credit hours, so a withdrawal from a class does not necessarily mean a refund.

Ok, I've decided to drop/withdraw. How do I do it?

To drop a class, or withdraw before the course adjustment deadline, you don't need anyone's permission, so you can do it on your own in MyMadison. Look under Student Center > Academics > Enroll, and choose “Drop” for both dropping and withdrawing. If appropriate, the W will be automatically assigned. Look for the green checkmark to confirm the action.