What does it mean to drop a class with a W (withdrawal)?

Dropping a class means you have chosen to unenroll in that course and no longer have to attend it.   It is the student’s responsibility to drop themselves from a class and you do not need to notify the instructor.

What is the different between a W and an EW?

Students are allowed to drop with a W (withdrawal) online in myCuesta portal within the deadline noted on their myCuesta Class Schedule receipt, no justification required.  Review the information below on the consequences of a W on transcript.

An EW (excused withdrawal) must meet Title 5, section 55024 regulations if there are extenuating circumstances, beyond the control of the student, that student may submit by petition with verifiable documentation.  View grading policy on EW grade.

Do I get a refund?

  • Full refund is only if you drop the course before the semester/session starts OR before the first class meeting for a late start short course.

  • Partial refund is only if you drop by the end of the 2nd week for a full-term course OR within 10% of a summer session or short course.   A partial refund is for enrollment fee, non-resident tuition, and the $1 Student Representation fee.   You will not receive a refund for course material fees, Health Center fee, Student Center fee, ASCC Student ID Card, or student parking permit if you drop a course after the semester starts or as of the first day of summer session or short course.

Do I get a grade?

It depends on when you drop the course.   If you drop with a W for withdrawal, the W symbol will be on your transcript but does not effect your GPA.

  • Drop without a W is only if you drop the course for:
    • Full term:  at the end of the 2nd week for a full-term course
    • Summer session or short course:  within 20% of the course
  • Drop with a W is after the “without a W deadline":
    • Full Term:  until the end of the 12th week
    • Summer session or short course:  without 60% of the course

How am I supposed to know the deadline if it’s within 10%, 20%, or 60% of the course?  

The drop deadlines are posted on your myCuesta Class Schedule Receipt for your enrolled courses.   You can also click on the CRN for deadlines via the Class Finder after search results.

When is a W (withdrawal) bad?

  • If you have a lot of Ws, more than 50% of your passing grades, you are placed on Progress Probation. 
    • Two semesters of Progress Probation means you lose early priority to register at Cuesta
    • Three semesters of Progress Probation means you are placed on dismissal.  Dismissal means that you need to sit out the next term OR attend a Dismissal Reinstatement Workshop.  At a Dismissal Reinstatement Workshop, you sign an agreement following the recommendations provided at the workshop to keep attending Cuesta.
  • Financial aid students must pass 67% of units attempted each term and cumulatively to maintain eligibility for federal student aid.  Courses dropped with a W are included in the calculation under Financial Aid’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
  • If you are applying to the RN/Nursing Program, you will lose consideration points under the Multi-Criteria Point Allocation.  However, when you apply, there is an appeal process if you have extenuating circumstances that caused you to withdrawal.
  • The number of Ws on a transcript may be taken into consideration for academic transfer.   However, other factors are considered such as if the course was required for the student’s major, certificate, or associate degree.   Each transcript considers the individuals situation and reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  Overall, it is better to have a W, which does not affect your GPA, versus a D or F which brings down your GPA.
  • Full-time status is a requirement for many programs, including Pell Grant, athletic eligibility, and F1 Visa (International student).  Consequently, dropping with a W may put you below full-time status.  Before dropping, you should contact each program for recommendation and seeing if you may need to enroll in a late-start course to replace the units dropped.

How many times can I drop a class with a W? 

Three times is the maximum.  Also, you will not be allowed to repeat the same course for a 4th attempt at Cuesta.   You will have to repeat the class at another community college.

Why might dropping a class with a W be good?

  • It doesn’t drag down your GPA!   If you miss the last drop with W deadline, then you must receive a grade, usually an F, which will effect your term and overall GPA.   Even if you receive a C in the class and pass, you will be unable to repeat the course to get a better grade and raise your GPA.  Most classes cannot be repeated once you pass with a C.
  • It will significantly reduce your stress and anxiety.   If you are really struggling with a class, maybe this is an opportunity to be tested for a learning disability.
  • If a particular course is so challenging or time-consuming, it may cause your grades in other classes to suffer, so it’s better to drop the class.  This will strengthen your transcript in the long run because you’ll have a better chance of getting good grades in the rest of your classes.
  • If you are struggling in Math, there are variations of the same course that you can switch to which are slower-paced to allow you to learn the material.   For example for Math 123 or 127, there are two sequential equivalent courses that you can take over two semesters:
    • Math 021 and Math 122 = Math 123
    • Math 126A and Math 126B = Math 127
  • Do you need to know the material for future classes?   If the course is a prerequisite to other courses, especially in your major, you may want to drop the course and repeat it if you don’t understand the material by at least 50% of the class.  Remember the last drop deadline is the end of the 12th week for a full-term course or 60% for short course.  Maybe you can take advantage of financial aid to work les hours or utilize when the class begins, tutors or study labs to help you learn the material for a better foundation for future classes.