Withdrawing from a class can seem super scary if you’ve never done it before. Depending on how your advising/guidance works at your school, you may or may not be encouraged to withdraw from classes you are having extreme difficulties with or know you will not be able to complete the work. There are actually several benefits to withdrawing from a class you are struggling in.
1. It looks a lot better than failing.
While withdrawing does admit that you couldn’t or didn’t want to complete the course work, employers will find it admirable that you identified and admitted your weakness instead of trying to take on too much work and failing. Acknowledging you have too much on your plate is a good thing, especially if you’re a person who has trouble saying “no.” As long as you do well in all of your other courses, withdrawing from a particularly difficult one will probably benefit you in the long run.
2. If you change your major.
Sometimes plans change, even in the middle of the semester. If you’re taking a class (especially a difficult one) for your major and end up switching it before the withdraw deadline, it might be best to get rid of the class you don’t need as a requirement anymore. If employers ask why you withdrew, simply say the class didn’t correspond with your career goals anymore and you wanted to focus your efforts on your other classes. Simple.
3. Sometimes it’s the professor’s fault.
While I’m not saying you should always blame your professors for your academic shortcomings, sometimes there is just that one professor that you can’t connect with or learn from to save your life. Maybe it’s taken you a little too long to notice this and you can’t drop the class without penalty. Withdrawing might be a good option here. If you still need to take the class for a requirement and know you can take it with a different professor during a later term, you may benefit from withdrawing and trying again later.
4. If your course load is too much.
This kind of coincides with it being better than to withdrawn than to fail, but on a bigger scale. If you schedule yourself for 18 credits this semester and are just now realizing you can’t handle it, consider withdrawing from one course that you can take later. Most programs allow you ample time to complete your required courses in the standard four years, so don’t feel pressured to load up your schedule each semester. Make sure you know the workload you can handle and schedule accordingly next time.
5. If it’s a general education requirement you just really hate.
This one is a bit iffy, but still a situation where withdrawing may be helpful. If you know you need to take any philosophy class in order to graduate and pick one that sounds interesting but you end up hating, it might not be worth it to continue in the class if you have other options to pick from later. Being in a class that you really despise can taint your ideas on the subject and even classes entirely, so don’t let one bad class ruin your whole college career.
When choosing to withdraw from a class, always speak with your advisor/counselor before making an official decision. You need to make sure that withdrawing won’t affect your program status or your status as a full- or part-time student. If everything checks out, then go ahead and withdraw, but this shouldn’t be something that you ever make a habit of. Withdrawing is usually used for extreme scenarios where passing the class is most likely not an option.
Lead Image Credit: Margrethe Vesth-Wiersholm via Pexels