Withdrawing From a Class
You can drop a class without receiving a W during the first two weeks of a 12-week quarter. (During summer session, the deadline will vary depending on the course.) After that, if you leave a class before the end of the quarter (or the end of summer session), you may receive one of the following nonevaluative marks on your transcript.
A mark of I (Incomplete) is given when academic work is incomplete for unforeseeable, emergency and justifiable reasons at the end of the term. A student may qualify for an Incomplete only after at least 75% of the course's duration has passed.
A mark of W (Withdrawal) is assigned when students drop a class during the third through ninth week of a regular 12-week quarter – or, for a shorter term like summer session, between the dates on which the course has met for 20% and 75% of its duration. (After 75% of the course duration, students will receive an evaluative grade such as A through F or Pass/No Pass, unless there are verifiable extenuating circustances to qualify for an Excused Withdrawal).
A mark of W will not be used in calculating GPA. However:
- It will be a factor in probation and dismissal procedures.
- It will also apply in calculating limits on repeating a class. (A student may not enroll in the same course more than three times, including times when they received a W or substandard grades.)
An Excused Withdrawal (EW) is assigned when a student is permitted to withdraw because of verifiable extenuating circumstances that prevent them from completing the course.
An EW will not be counted in calculating GPA or units attempted. It also will not count in progress probation or dismissal calculations, or against limits on repeating a class.
EWs may be granted after the deadline to drop a course without a W, but they are granted only when a student can provide verifiable documentation and meet other conditions as listed here. Click the red bars to carefully review the process and requirements for requesting an EW.
Click for Important Rules About EWs
What are “extenuating circumstances”?
Examples of extenuating circumstances that may be considered in granting an EW are unforeseen and verifiable events such as
- Accident, assault or injury causing significant disruption in the student’s life
- Acute illness or the onset of chronic illness
- Death of an immediate family member
- Job transfer outside the geographical region
- Illness in the family where the student is the primary caregiver.
- Immigration enforcement action that directly affects the student
- Natural disaster that directly affects the student
- Release from custody or involuntary transfer from incarceration before the end of the course
- Other unforseen, verifiable circumstances that make it impossible to complete the course
Examples of circumstances that will not qualify for an EW include:
- Disliking the class format
- Disliking the instructor
- Disagreeing with the grade received
- Chronic conditions without a significant change of circumstances
- Account holds or computer glitches – If a student is unable to access their account before the deadline to drop without a W, the student is responsible for contacting the Admissions and Records Office for assistance.
Limits on Excused Withdrawals
You will NOT be considered for an EW under these circumstances:
- You passed the course with a grade of C or higher
- You've received EWs for all courses you’ve taken in two consecutive terms (quarters or summer session) – unless you have completed at least 12 units since then
- You've received EWs in multiple classes, representing a total of 24 units or more – unless you have completed at least 12 units since then
- You've received EWs for the last two consecutive terms (quarters or summer session) in the same course for which you are submitting another EW request
- Your request concerns a course taken before summer 2019.
For requests involving courses taken in the current quarter:
- You may submit a request even if you already received a W
- You must submit your request no later than the Friday before finals week begins
For courses taken in a previous quarter:
- Your request will not be considered if you already received a W in the course.
- EWs must be requested no later than two years after the quarter or summer session in which you took the course. (For example, for a course taken in spring 2023, you must submit your request no later than the end of spring 2025.)
How to Request an Excused Withdrawal
The college will assign a grade if you do not follow these required steps. You must:
- Be sure to use the correct form. There are two forms posted on the Admissions and Records Student Forms webpage:
- Use the Excused Withdrawal Petition for CURRENT Quarter if you are requesting an EW during the quarter or summer session that you took the course.
- Use the Excused Withdrawal Petition for PAST Quarter if you are requesting an EW for a course taken during a previous quarter or summer session
- If you are requesting an EW during the quarter in which you took the course, you must submit your request no later than the Friday before finals week of that quarter.
- Meet with a counselor or academic adviser. Be sure to schedule an appointment so you have enough time. Don’t try to do this in a drop-in session.
- Provide verifiable documentation of your extenuating circumstances. The documentation must include your name, the date of the events or circumstances and details of the circumstances.
- Examples of acceptable documentation include a letter from a doctor or therapist, a police report, an obituary or a death certificate.
- Examples of documentation that will not be accepted include photos (except for photos of acceptable documents) or letters from the student or a family member.
- Photos of self-administered COVID tests will not be accepted.
- Your documentation must indicate that the extenuating circumstances arose during the quarter for which the EW is being requested.
Requesting an EW can have negative consequences if the withdrawal causes you to drop below the minimum number of units required for certain benefits or eligibility. This may include
- Athletes competing in intercollegiate sports – consult your coach or academic adviser
- Financial aid recipients – consult the Financial Aid office
- International students attending on an F-1 visa – consult the International Student Programs office
- Military veterans or dependents using veterans’ benefits – consult the Veteran Services office
Another Option: Retroactive Pass/No Pass
Under a special policy adopted in consideration of the disruptions caused by COVID-19, there is no deadline to request Pass/No Pass retroactively for classes taken in certain terms. This may be helpful, but there can be drawbacks. Visit the Pass/No Pass webpage to learn more and carefully consider the pros and cons.
Military Withdrawal: MW
An MW is assigned when a student who is a member of an active or reserve U.S. military service receives orders compelling them to withdraw from a course. Upon verification of such orders, an MW will be assigned at any time after the deadline to drop a course without a W.
- An MW will not be counted in progress probation and dismissal calculations.
- An MW will not apply against limits on the number of withdrawals or limits on repeating a class.
- In some cases, at the student's request, the college may issue a refund of enrollment fees for an MW