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What does it mean to drop a course?

This section concerns dropping a course from a student's class schedule.

If a student wishes to drop a course (or courses), this means that he/she will drop one or more classes from a specific semester or term while still staying enrolled in at least one course. UW-Madison does not refer to this process as "withdrawing from a class".   If a student wishes to drop all of his/her classes and not stay enrolled in any classes for a specific semester or term, the student will need to formally withdraw from the semesterStudents who are only signed up for one course and wish to "drop" their one class must officially withdraw from the session/term.   For more information about withdrawing, see Cancelling Your Enrollment - Withdrawals.   

Dropping a course

Students may drop a course or courses via the MyUW Student Center at any time until the end of the 9th week of classes in the fall or spring term (specific deadline dates are listed under Deadlines at a Glance on the Registrar's website).   NCAA student-athletes or international students on an F-1 or J-1 via must consult with their advisor within the Fetzer Center or International Student Services before dropping below 12 credits.  Detailed information about dropping classes can be found at what does it mean to drop a course(Please note that the drop deadlines for the summer sessions are located under Summer Key Deadlines on the Registrar's website.  Additional information about summer deadlines is located at Calendars.)
  • Please note that the drop deadlines for modular courses (courses that are shorter than a full term which can start and end on any week during a term) are different from the traditional drop deadlines during the fall and spring terms.   Information about these deadlines can be found at modular courses.
It is always a good idea for students to contact their academic advisors prior the the 9th week of classes before making any drastic changes to their registration or if students are unsure about whether they should keep a class or drop it.  

Courses dropped within the first two weeks of classes (usually before the 8th day of classes) during the fall/spring term do not appear on a student's transcript.  (Please note that the summer session deadlines for dropping a course so a DR does not appear on a student's record are usually in the first couple of days during the first week of a summer session.)  Students must consult the appropriate semester or term's Deadlines at a Glance on the Registrar's homepage for the exact date since DRs will not be erased from a student's records after the official deadline has passed.  Courses dropped after this official deadline through the end of the 9th week of classes will appear on students transcripts with the DR in place of the grade.  The "DR" does not affect a student's grade point average or have any negative implications regarding graduate school or future employment. 

Students should consider a few things prior to dropping a course:  
  • It is better to drop a class than to fail it.
  • Dropping a class does not mean a student is a failure or a quitter.
  • Dropping a course and having a DR on one's transcript or even a couple DRs is not a bad thing.  It shows that a student is conscientious and realizes that (for whatever reason) the course was not going well.
  •  A student should not expect to do really well on the final exam or remaining homework assignments and papers to bring up his/her grade in a course if the student has not been doing well during the first nine weeks in the semester.
  • If a student is not sure how well they are doing in a course, the student should talk with their instructor or teaching assistant (TA).  The instructor or TA might be able to give the student some helpful advise about whether remaining in the course is a good idea or what the student would need to do in order to earn a passing grade.
Students enrolled during the fall and spring terms who are receiving financial aid and who are planning to withdraw from the term or drop below six (6) credits should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid as soon as possible for more guidance regarding the impact on their aid.  More information can be found at Withdrawals: Refunds and Repayments.  

Information on dropping a course can be found on the Registrar's Office webpage How to do it: step-by-step tutorials under Drop a Class.  Please note that many of the step-by-step tutorials are in Flash format which may not play on some browsers and devices, including many mobile phones.

See Also:

Keywords:dropping a course, dropping a class, drop, deadline, "DR", modular courses, late drop, retroactive drop, withdrawal   Doc ID:21705
Owner:Tori R.Group:L&S Administrative Gateway
Created:2011-12-12 23:49 CDTUpdated:2018-02-01 00:34 CDT
Sites:L&S Administrative Gateway
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