Withdrawal FAQ

Withdrawal Definition

The notation “W” indicates that a student left a course after the fourth week of classes, but before the end of the eighth week, in the Fall or Spring semester. The notation remains on the student’s permanent record, and appears on the transcript, but has no effect on the student’s GPA. Students may retake a course for which they received a “W,” but the notation will not be changed by retaking the course, or by taking its equivalent elsewhere.

What should I be doing when considering withdrawing from a course?

The withdrawal period is a key point in the semester when it is important for you as a student to reflect on how you are performing in your classes. Some suggestions of questions to ask during this process could be:

  • Am I doing well in all my classes this semester?
  • Do all of my classes make sense for my academic plan?
  • Am I managing my time well in order to be successful academically in all my classes this semester?
  • Am I taking the course in question for a specific degree requirement?
  • What is the outcome should I withdraw from a course(s)?
  • Will withdrawing from the course delay my graduation date?

Who should I talk to when considering withdrawing from a course?

  • Advisor – This person is a great resource to understand what your situation is and whether or not withdrawing from a course makes sense for you personally and academically. Schedule an appointment with your advisor or stop by office hours to talk about your concerns and get all your questions answered.
  • Professor – This person is also a great resource to understand where you are in your class compared to your classmates and whether or not there is adequate time left in the semester to improve your grades if you feel as though you are falling behind. We encourage this conversation to be in person, rather than email, so that you can get all your questions answered and understand the stipulations of you staying in the class versus withdrawing from the course.
  • Teaching Assistant (TA) – This person might be a good resource particularly for those courses that have a lab or a discussion section as part of the course. Students normally may feel more comfortable approaching a TA of a course rather than the professor so having the conversation about the TA about where you are in the course might be helpful when making the decision to withdraw from a class.
  • Faculty Mentor/Major Advisor – This person may be very helpful as a resource especially if the course you are considering withdrawing from is a course for your major. Your Faculty Mentor may be able to give you some insight into the course in terms of the overall picture of your major requirements, which can be helpful during the decision making process of withdrawing from a course.

What are the possible implications of withdrawing from a course?

When considering withdrawing from a course, there are several offices and pieces of information that need to be considered during the decision process that may have an impact on you academically or financially.

  • Housing – GW Housing programs requires all students living on-campus to be registered for at least 12 credit hours, or full-time status. If you are registered for a relatively low number of credit hours as well as live in on-campus housing, withdrawing from a course could put you below full-time status which is against GW Housing Programs policy. Check living.gwu.edugwhouse@gwu.edu, 202-994-2552, or speak with someone in the JQA building on Eye street.
  • Financial Aid/Scholarships – If you were awarded federal aid or scholarship aid, there are certain criteria that must be met, which may involve staying registered as a full-time student (at least 12 credit hours).  If you are registered for a relatively low number of credit hours as well as were awarded financial aid, withdrawing from a course could put you below full-time status which could have serious financial implications. Check financialaid.gwu.edufinaid@gwu.edu, 202-994.662, or speak with a representative in Colonial Central.
  • International Students/VISA Status – As an International Student, you are required to be registered as a full-time student (at least 12 credit hours). If you are registered for a relatively low number of credit hours and have an F-1 Visa, withdrawing from a course could put you below full-time status which could have serious Visa implications. Check internationalservices.gwu.eduiso@gwu.edu, 202-994-4477, or speak with an advisor in Old Main Suite 205.
  • Veteran Services – As a veteran there are certain criteria that must be met, which may revolve being enrolled full-time (at least 12 credit hours). If you are registered for a relatively low number of credit hours and are a veteran registered with the Office of Military and Veteran Student Services, then withdrawing from a course may serious implications financially and academically. Check services.military.gwu.eduvetserve@gwu.edu, 202-994-9570, or speak a representative in Colonial Central.

How do I withdraw from a course?

You can withdraw from a course online through the following steps below or with an RTF-EZ form submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

  • Log in to the GWeb Information System
  • Click 'Student Records and Registration Menu'
  • Click 'Registration Menu
  • Click 'Register, Drop and/or Add Classes'
  • Select the appropriate semester
  • Select, in the drop-down menu next to the course in question, 'Web Withdrawal'
  • Click 'Submit Changes' - you should see immediately if the transaction went through