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Withdraw from a Course

A page within Records and Registration

Considerations for undergraduates regarding withdrawing from a course*

Students who decide to withdraw from a course should complete the withdrawal by the last day to drop with a "W" deadline. Academic dates and deadlines for the current and upcoming terms are posted online and in your WINGS Student Center.

Academic withdrawal dates are different from tuition refund dates. Consult the Cashier's website for tuition refund schedules, billing information, and the bill due dates for the current and upcoming terms. For more information, contact Cashiers at or 608.785.8719.

Withdraw from a Course questions

When is withdrawing from a course a good option?
  • If your current status in the course makes it unlikely that you will be able to pass the course.
  • If your current grade in the course is already very low and you do not have the time to focus on the course and bring up your grade substantially. This may be especially true if you are on academic probation. 
  • Your faculty member and/or advisor recommend it.
  • If you have more study time and energy to focus on your other courses, it will likely provide for a better overall academic outcome.
  • If you have personal reasons (work, family, wellness) that will make having a lower credit load a benefit, it is better to withdraw.
What is the outcome of withdrawing from a course? Does it look bad?
  • A “W” for withdrawal will show on your transcript. However, employers and graduate schools are likely to see your decision to withdraw as a good decision rather than a sign of academic concern – especially if your other grades are strong and/or you are successful in the course another semester. In most cases, a withdrawal is better than receiving a failing grade.
  • A pattern of withdrawals will be viewed negatively but an occasional “w” will not. 
  • A “W” does not negatively affect your GPA at UWL. 
Why should you consider NOT withdrawing from a course?

If you have attempted the same course more than once and could pass the class without withdrawing, it is likely better to stay in the class and pass the class. Graduating in a timely manner saves money and time.

What to consider if withdrawing from a course brings you below 12 credits (full time status)?
  • Graduate Students – Withdrawals have a different impact in graduate programs and should be discussed with both your advisor and the program director.
  • Financial Aid – if you are a financial aid recipient, talk to the office if you drop a class within the first 10 days.  If you drop after the first 10 days, contact the office only if you are a recipient of a Lawton grant, Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship, or Fund for WI Scholars grant.  Always reach out if you are currently on a Satisfactory Academic Progress plan and want to drop enrollment.
  • Residence Life – if you live in a residence hall please inform Residence Life that you are enrolled in less than 12 credits.
  • Veteran’s or Military – consult with Veteran Services for any decrease in credits if part or full time student.
  • Military connected students must consult with the Office of Veteran Services for any changes in credits as this likely impacts your certification requirements to the VA.
  • International Students – consult with International Education and Engagement.
  • Student Athletes – consult with the Deputy Director of Athletics prior to dropping below 12 credits.
What should you consider if you are using military educational benefits?

Military connected students must consult with the Office of Veteran Services for any changes in credits as this likely impacts your certification requirements to the VA. If you have added or dropped a class after the term has started, report it to the Office of Veteran Services.

A change of status from full time to part time, or visa versa, also impacts your certification requirements.

Additional info

  • Is the course a prerequisite for another course you need for your program or degree?
  • Is the course required to be successfully completed for admissions to a graduate program? If so, do you have time to take this course at a later date when you may be able to be more successful in it?
  • Graduate students: If you withdraw from your only course, you are withdrawing from both UWL and your program. Consult with your program director before withdrawing. 

*Both undergraduate and graduate students considering withdrawing from ALL classes should speak with the Office of Student Life.