When a grade has not been assigned for a course, the notation "W" (Authorized Withdrawal), "I" (Incomplete), or "Z" (Unauthorized Withdrawal) will be recorded on the student's transcript. No refunds are given.
Types of Withdrawal Status
The notation “W” indicates that a student left a course after the fourth week of classes, but on or before the last day of classes, in the fall or spring semester. The notation remains on the student’s permanent record and 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.
The notation “Z” is assigned when a student has registered for a course but has not attended class or done any graded work for the course. 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 re-register for courses in which they received a “Z,” but the notation will not be changed by registering for the course or by taking its equivalent elsewhere.
The notation “I” on the transcript indicates that students have provided a satisfactory explanation to the instructor for their inability to complete the required course work in a timely fashion, due to circumstances beyond their control. Students are responsible for informing the instructor of these circumstances, and for seeking the instructor's approval, before the date when grades must be reported. This notation may be applied only if the student’s prior performance and class attendance in the course have been satisfactory.
Incomplete work must be completed by the date set forth by the professor, but no later than one calendar year from the last day of the examination period for which the grade of “I” was assigned. If the Incomplete was taken prior to the Fall 2014 semester, upon completion of the course work, the “I” remains on the student’s permanent record, along with the assigned grade (e.g., “IA,” “IB”). If the Incomplete was taken after Fall 2014, the notation of "I" will not remain on the transcript once the course is completed. If the course work is not completed within this period, the grade automatically becomes an “F,” and constitutes a failing grade.
Deciding Whether to Withdraw
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 to Talk To
- POD Advisor
Your CCAS undergraduate academic advisor is a great resource to help you understand your situation and decide whether or not withdrawing from a course makes sense for you personally and academically. Schedule an appointment with your POD advisor or stop by office hours to talk about your concerns.
Professors can help you understand where you stand 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 behind. We encourage this conversation to be in person if possible, so that you can get all your questions answered and understand the stipulations of withdrawing.
- Teaching Assistant
TAs are particularly helpful resources for classes that have a lab or a discussion section as part of the course. Students may feel more comfortable approaching a TA rather than the professor when it comes to deciding whether to withdraw from a course.
- Faculty Mentor/Advisor
Your academic advisor may be very helpful as they can give you some insight into the course you are struggling with in terms of the overall picture of your major requirements, which can be helpful as you make your decision.
There are several offices and pieces of information you should consider during the decision process that may have an impact on you academically or financially.
- Housing. GW Housing programs require all students living on campus to be registered for at least 12 credit hours, known as full-time status. If you are registered for a relatively low number of credit hours while living on campus, withdrawing from a course could put you below full-time status, which is against GW Housing Programs policy. Get in touch with the Campus Living and Residential Education division at [email protected].
- 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. Questions? Check with the Office of Student Financial Assistance or speak with a representative in Colonial Central.
- International students/VISA status. International students are required to be registered as full-time students (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. Questions? Check with GW's International Services Office website or speak to one of their advisors in person:
International Services Office
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 GW's Military and Veteran Services website or speak a representative in Colonial Central.
If you are planning on completing an authorized withdrawal, remember the window: between the fourth and last week of classes. To submit a withdrawal request online:
- 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.