Withdrawal dates in need of reform

Illustration by Nick Part
Illustration by Nick Part

A constant worry for college students and faculty each semester are drop dates that could potentially hinder their performance.

One way this could be fixed would be to extend the last day to drop without a “W” to one more week, and reduce the amount of days to drop with a “W” to five weeks before finals start.

Extending the drop date for a “W” would beneficial for students while the change to the second drop date would help teachers near the end of the semester so they have a better idea as to how many students they have left.

The community colleges in California follow a 10-20-75 percent format to schedule drop dates each semester, according to Golden West College’s academic calendar.

Unlike other colleges from different districts, Pierce and the rest of the LACCD choose to have its last day to drop with full refunds and last day to drop without a “W” as the same day.

Schools such as Moorpark, City College of San Francisco, and Orange Coast along with the other colleges in their districts have a drop date for refunds at the two week period, 10 percent of the semester.

A week after that day, the semester’s 20 percent mark, there is another drop date for students so they can withdraw from a class without a “W”.

For Pierce and the other LACCD colleges having the second drop date could be beneficial to its students who don’t drop classes so quick into the semester. It will also give them the opportunity to try a class for another week and drop without the implication of a “W” on their transcript.

As for the last day to drop a class with a “W”, it comes far too late into a semester and should have an earlier date.

The 75 percent “W” drop date is too lenient for students and gives them an easy out with such a late drop date, which hurts them. It also hurts classes because they empty out so late in the semester.

While Pierce is following the 75 percent of the semester formula, the Nov. 23 drop date was only three weeks before finals, which begin Dec. 15.

If the college wants to follow the 75 percent format then it should be from the last day of instruction, not the last day of finals. Doing so would have pushed the drop date forward to Nov. 16, and the Spring 2015 semester deadline from May 10 to May 3.

This date change would be five weeks prior to the first day of finals, a timetable that students know whether or not they will be able to pass a class.

These minor changes to a system that is already set in place could boost the performance of both students and faculty .

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The Roundup is the student-run news outlet at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.