Withdraw from a Class

After the add/drop/swap deadline, you may formally withdraw from a class by filing a petition to Request a W (Withdraw) grade notation with your college academic advisers.  You cannot withdraw from a class through the MyUCSC portal.

The W grade petition must be filed by the end of the sixth week of instruction (see the Academic and Administrative Calendar for deadlines). After the deadline, you may only withdraw from a class for documented medical or emergency reasons.

What is a W?

A withdrawal (W grade) is GPA-neutral: instead of earning a grade, you will receive a W notation which will not bring in grade points (or credits). The class and W remain on your schedule and transcript which  allows you to keep full-time status  (except for international students). Once the W grade is filed, you stop attending the class so you can focus on the other classes in your schedule.

How do I request a W?

There are two ways to do this: in person with an adviser (preferred), or by sending an email to your specific college. If you are at all unsure about whether a W is right for you, we recommend you come meet with us. If you send an email, you must include the following:

  • Your full name
  • Your student ID#
  • The specific class (department and course number) you want to withdraw from
  • The detailed reasons for your withdrawal (ex: I am having trouble keeping up, I failed a midterm, I was sick")

Keep in mind the firm 6th week deadline for requesting a W grade. Email withdrawals must be received by 11:59 pm on the deadline. Upon review of your record, it is possible you will be asked to meet with an adviser before your W is approved -- please continue to check your email.

When is a W a good (or bad) idea?

If you feel you are unlikely to earn a C or higher in one of your classes, you might want to consider a withdrawal grade.  If you are considering withdrawing from a class out of concern about your academic performance, we recommend discussing your performance with your instructor or TA before making this decision; you may be able to improve and pass by the end of the term. If you have experienced illness and have missed many classes, a withdrawal may make it easier to balance your remaining coursework. A W notation is usually preferable to a non-passing grade, though it is important to note that withdrawal means you will not earn credits (whereas C-, D+, D and D- grades earn credits, though no major, general education, or prerequisite satisfaction).Consult with an adviser at your college about the benefits and drawbacks of withdrawing from a course. Here are some other important considerations about W grades:

How does taking a W impact the double repeat policy?

A "W" in a course still counts as an attempt and will remain on your record. University Policy states that a course taken at UCSC may not be repeated more than once. If this is your first time taking the course and you plan on repeating the course in a future quarter, the next time will be your final attempt. If you are withdrawing during your second attempt, you will not be able to take the course again at UCSC. This is especially important to note if the course you might withdraw from is required for your declared or proposed major. You should meet with your major adviser for more information on major requirements, repeating the course, and grading qualifications.

Does a W Affect My Financial Aid? What about Grad School?

A withdrawal is not the same as a drop. It does not affect financial aid for the current quarter, because you are still technically enrolled in the class. But it can affect your progress. Keep in mind that if you withdraw, you are not earning the credits for the class and will likely need to make them up later. Financial Aid requires students to meet the PACE requirement of the Satisfactory Academic Progress regulation  to remain eligible. Summer classes are a good way to make up coursework if you will be short units after Spring quarter.  

We recommend that you take a W grade seriously, and use this option only when absolutely necessary. Many graduate schools may look unfavorably upon a pattern of W grades.

I am an international student. Am I eligible for for a withdrawal grade?  Will this affect my visa?

International degree-seeking (F-1) and international exchange students (J-1) are required to be enrolled in at least 12 units to maintain visa status. Special permission from the International Student Scholar Services (ISSS) must be provided before a withdrawal grade can be approved. International students must (1) meet with a college adviser in person and (2) must obtain permission for a Reduced Course Load from the International Education Office. EAP exchange students should also reach out to their home university and UCEAP.  

We hope this helps you consider your options for success, and always be sure to consult with your college advisers if you have questions!