Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Courses How bad is withdrawing from a course?

  1. Feb 3, 2012 #1
    Long story short, I'm taking 19 credits of science and math, and 2 weeks into the semester is the drop deadline. I'm wondering how bad it would be if I didn't drop anything and then later in the semester I had to withdraw? I would very much like to stay in the running for a spot at a top school. Would this impact it substantially? Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2012 #2
    Why would you have to withdraw? If it's because the work load is too great, my suggestion is to make that choice now and save yourself the hassle later in the term. Two weeks into the course should give you an idea as to whether you can handle all of the courses, and if it turns out that there is a course giving you some troubles, I would suggest dropping it before the deadline, rather than pushing yourself to exhaustion till mid semester.

    That being said, having a "W" on a transcript may require explanation, but it is not a deal breaker if the explanation is reasonable.
  4. Feb 4, 2012 #3
    Withdrawing is a lot better than failing. The danger is not so much that you withdraw, but if you put a lot of effort into a course that you later have to withdraw from, that takes time from your other classes, which lowers your grades there.

    Also one reason grades are important to graduate schools is not so much to show how smart you are, but they are a test of organizational and planning ability.
  5. Feb 4, 2012 #4
    To agree with others:
    Withdrawing is better than failing... dropping and showing no evidence of a course is better than withdrawing. Then the committee can perhaps assume you are making time for research, etc. if the schedule looks slim.

    You are, indeed, making some time for some form of research with a faculty member (or national lab, etc... if this is in your locale)... right? THIS is what top schools will really want to see from you... a strong research background, hopefully documented by some publications and presentations. Strong transcripts are just part of the picture.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook