Each course on a student’s transcript has a letter grade printed to its left side. Some students take a withdrawal, or “W,” instead of a grade they consider unsuccessful, but when is the correct time to make that choice?
As classes are in full swing, students may feel overwhelmed in certain courses or realize the class is no longer necessary for their degree. It is in these cases dropping a course may be on students’ minds.
Professors and officials in the Registrar’s Office advise students to choose their actions wisely when deciding whether to drop a course.
Tracy Roberts, registrar, said it is important for students to be informed of the process for registering and dropping a course.
“Students are required to use MyGate to drop a class,” Roberts said. “To audit a class, students must get written permission from the instructor and bring the written permission to the Registrar’s Office, Sparks Hall basement, by the deadline.”
Although students may recognize what it means to drop a course, some may not yet understand how auditing a course may benefit them more.
Roberts said professors may be willing to allow students to audit a course rather than dropping.
“Talk with your instructor and academic adviser to see if dropping the class is the best option or if there is another solution,” Roberts said. “Sometimes the professor will allow the student to audit the class so he or she can still gain the knowledge of the course and be better prepared for repeating the class at a later date.”
If students feel overwhelmed, Daniel Wann, professor of psychology, suggested auditing a course if that course is required for a student’s major.
“It depends on who the student is and what is this class supposed to do,” Wann said. “If they have to take it again, they may as well audit and get the information.”
Wann said he does not believe a withdrawal on a transcript will disinterest an employer unless there are multiple withdrawals. Wann said students who are struggling in courses related to their major may consider auditing or dropping a course if they are going to attend graduate school in the future.
If a student must drop a course, half-semester courses are an option to consider. Students should also be aware of the registration dates for these courses.
Wann said he encourages the idea of half-semester courses. These courses are designed for the first or second half of the semester but may require more hours per week than when offered as a full semester course.
“They are very much a good option,” Wann said. “I wish Murray State would offer a few more.”
Before making any changes to a schedule, Wann and Roberts both suggest speaking to the course professor.
“Students should know that before they make this type of decision they should really talk to the professor,” Wann said. “I have had students on rare occasion audit or withdraw that probably shouldn’t have because they didn’t realize there were opportunities to raise their grades and panicked.”
Story by Tiffany Whitfill, Staff writer