Course Withdrawal Considerations
Students should consider the potential academic benefits and adverse consequences of withdrawing from any course. Although this decision is ultimately up to the student to make, Skidmore strongly encourages students to discuss the implications with their faculty advisor, OP advisor, and/or the Office of Academic Advising before deciding. Visit the Office of the Registrar's Course Withdrawal Process web page to learn more.
Application to Withdraw Without Grade Penalty (Prior to the last three weeks of the term.)
Application to Withdraw With Grade Penalty (During the last three weeks of the term.)
Course Withdrawal Policy
Once the Add/Drop period has passed, students may no longer drop a course. Instead, they have the option of withdrawing from a course without grade penalty before the stated deadline in the academic calendar. Unless there are extenuating circumstances where the student can provide supporting documentation, the maximum number of course withdrawals that a student may take during their studies at Skidmore is two.
Exceptions to the two W rule (and deadline) are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) and are granted only for extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the student (e.g., severe medical problems). Documentation is required for such petitions.
The course withdrawal deadline is posted in the academic calendar and is about 10 weeks into the Fall/Spring semesters. Most students will have a sufficient understanding of their academic standing in each course by this point in the semester to make an informed decision about their ability to persist in the course.
Students who do not submit a completed form with the approval of both their instructor and faculty advisor to the Office of the Registrar by the deadline will receive grades as earned in each of their courses. The Committee on Academic Standing will consider late withdrawals when there are extenuating circumstances (e.g., medical issues with supporting documentation).
For fall 2023, the course withdrawal deadline is Thursday, November 16th.
Students receive a grade of “W” that is not factored into their GPA. However, it does appear on students' transcript.
falling below 12 credits
In most cases, students maintain their full-time status and remain eligible for on-campus housing even if withdrawing from a course causes them to earn fewer than 12 credits for the term. However, there are important implications for several student populations:
- Students who receive NY State grants may become ineligble.
- Student athletes may be ineligible to participate in NCAA athletics.
- In order to maintain visa status, international students must obtain approval from the International Student Advisor in Student Academic Services and stay within International Studies guidelines as a full-time student.
The potential benefits of withdrawing from a course may include the following:
- Prevent students from earning a low or failing grade.
- Allow students to concentrate their efforts in courses that they can be more successful in.
- Allow students to redirect their academic goals.
- Lighten students’ course load so they can focus on other personal matters or medical issues.
Although a grade of “W” does not adversely affect students’ GPA, there are other consequences, including the following:
- Students do not earn credit for the course(s) they withdraw from.
- Students’ timeline to graduation may be delayed.
- Students may have to wait one or more semesters until the course is offered again, which is particularly important if the course is a requirement for their major or minor.
- Students may need to take an increased credit load in a subsequent term(s) to make up for the loss of earned credits.
- Students may need to take a summer course to make up for the loss of earned credits.
- If students complete fewer than 14 credits for the term, they are ineligible for the Dean's List.
The cost of college attendance is expensive. Skidmore charges a flat fee for full-time tuition, so students pay the same amount whether they are enrolled in 12 credits or 18 credits. If students withdraw from one or more courses and no longer have the option of earning 12 or more credits, then they must weigh the potential benefit of successfully completing their remaining courses against the value of what they are paying.
In some cases, it may be in students’ best interest to take a personal leave of absence by the stated deadline and return to Skidmore the following semester. The Schedule for Liability from the Bursar’s Office illustrates the refund percentage according to the date that students take a leave of absence.
Additionally, students who are struggling with their physical or mental health may benefit from taking a medical leave of absence to focus on their recovery and wellbeing. If students have tuition insurance, they may be eligible to receive a greater refund of their tuition, fees, room and meals.
Visit our Leaves of Absence web page to learn more about this academic option.
The staff in the Office of Academic Advising are available to discuss these considerations and academic options with students in greater detail.