Withdrawing is better than taking a fail

Some people think receiving a W on their transcript is like becoming Hester Prynne marked with an ‘A’ in The Scarlet Letter. Except in this case, a W does not mean the letter grade ‘A’ (or that you committed adultery).

W’s on a transcript simply mean you withdrew from a class after a certain date during the semester. And that date usually follows the last day you can drop classes without a grade. Withdrawing from a class often means you’ll have a withdrawal noted on your transcript; if you drop a class, however, it will simply look as if you never registered for the class in the first place.

Consequently, dropping a class is often a much-preferred choice. What is the date by which you need to drop a class? And if that deadline has already passed, what is the deadline by which you need to withdraw? Make sure you know what these dates are.

One of the benefits of a W is that it will not be calculated into your GPA. It simply just shows up on your transcript. Now, withdrawing from a class does not automatically translate to: “I was definitely going to fail, so that’s why I dropped it.” (even if that was the case).

There are a number of reasons that lead to withdrawing from a course. But, having too many W’s on your transcript can look bad, too.  So even though a W does not always mean an F, be wary of your own situation and think of these questions before dropping every course you want.

You might want to be careful of withdrawing from courses important to your major. Dropping it now may mean you still have to take it later on. But also keep in mind that since it is part of your major, that class usually is really important. I would just suggest not to withdraw from more than two related to your major. Ask yourself: How many W’s does your transcript have already?

There’s a point when the W’s can get to be too many, but how exactly is too many? The best person to talk to is your school counselor, professors, or anyone who would know about the grading system. This is especially important if you plan on applying to graduate school in the future. As you may know, grades carry great weight. You may also want to check with the university you plan on applying to what they think of W’s on transcripts.

Let’s be real, if you are struggling in a class, and are sure that it won’t get any better, drop the class. At least the W is not calculated into your GPA, while ending up with a ‘D’ in the class will.