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withdrawing from a course

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:29 pm
by stardust
Does anyone know the impact of withdrawing from a class? I signed up for an advanced physics class and decided I should withdraw 2 days after the first 2 weeks when we could withdraw so I would now get a 'W' on my transcript. I apparently misjudged the level that I would need the prerequisites. But, will withdrawing from a physics course look bad for grad school applications in physics? Will it be something I would have to explain?

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 3:33 am
by quizivex
@ Stardust

This topic was discussed briefly on a page called "Late Drops and Graduate school"

Do an edit/find to get it.

Everybody has a different opinion on withdraws, but... I think you'll be ok if you still had a strong roster of challenging classes remaining. For instance, if you had 2 upper level physics and math classes remaining after the withdraw and did well in them, then you should be in good shape. But if that was your only challenging class that semester, then it will look like that semester was a waste.

@ Anyone...

As far as "explaining," I'd like to know what people mean when they refer to explaining. Do applications give us an area specifically to explain mishaps? Or do we have to throw them into our personal statement or something?

I have a few issues I'd like to get off my chest without giving too negative an impression, and I'm just wondering if I have to figure out a way to casually slip them in the SOP or if I could just write it all in some specially printed "Section 3B" haha

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:06 am
by stardust
I couldn't find the Late Drops page. If anyone can, please post.

Regarding explaining. I wonder too because if you point it out you are drawing attention to it. When is better not to draw attention to something less
favorable. But, if you keep silent, I heard they will make up their own explanations in their head.

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 12:54 am
by hpharty
I have one from Calculus 3 my sophomore year. It doesn't worry my too much, the professor was awful that semester and the number of withdraws after the first midterm was outrageous. My professor the following semester was fantastic and I credit him with most of my success in calculus. I am however planning on addressing somethings about those two semesters in my letters, mentioning the withdraw, but focusing on a larger problem of no focus in my studies at the time; it took me until my junior year to declare physics. I suspect you could explain away your withdraw in a similar fashion.

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:43 am
by stardust
@hpharty: Thanks for your response. It is strange when a large number of people withdraw. It's like a waste of everyone's time and money. But the question comes up of whether to explain the W at all. I think one thing I would never do in a million years is describe myself as unfocussed. Even if you got out of it they may still think you are prone to it. I don't know if that's a good idea. The bad professor and lots of people dropping sounds like a better reason. I think one thing schools are really afraid of is spending money on a student and then they change or drop out. But that 's just my opinion and other people may have something different to say. Maybe there is a better way of saying it: like you knew what you wanted to do or got more focussed without emphasizing being unfocussed.