Ask Meaghan: withdrawing from a course without cause

My name is Meaghan and I’m the Student Advocacy Resource Coordinator with the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University. I have so much to tell you about self-advocacy!! Through this bi-weekly series, #AskMeaghan, my goal is to answer any questions you may have about this crazy-little-thing-called-UNIVERSITY ♫ (see this video to sing along).

Over reading week I got one of my marks back for a midterm. I thought I did better than a C-… I am thinking about withdrawing but I have no sense of how the rest of the semester will go. What are my options?

I hope everyone’s reading break was restful, productive, and warm. Did anyone go somewhere tropical? If so, I hope you brought the sunshine back with you. What feels like a never ending polar vortex and snowy roads (aka “whose lane is it anyway”) is getting a bit tiresome #amirite? The good news is that at this point in the semester, you are at the half way mark to the last day of classes!! I hope this is an indication of warmer weather on its way… 🤞

There are six weeks remaining in the semester before exam period begins. Nervousness often kicks in as we cannot predict how the rest of the semester will go. Unless you are a genie and can wish for all A’s, it can be challenging to assess whether or not withdrawing from a class is the right option. These decisions are tough to make as there are a lot of factors to consider: If I stay in the class and fail, how will an F affect my GPA? If I withdraw, will it affect my student loan funding?

These queries can feel overwhelming. I hope that the information below will give you some insight as to whether or not withdrawing is the right option for you.

First off, did you know that according to the Grades and Examinations Policy, “Formal evaluation feedback accounting for not less than 25% of the total final grade must be communicated to students no later than the open of business on the Monday preceding the withdrawal deadline”? For this semester, the withdrawal deadline is Friday, March 15, 2019. This means that you must receive 25% of your final grade by Monday, March 11, 2019. If this doesn’t happen, you should speak to your instructor right away to come to a solution. Not comfortable speaking with them alone? No problem. Check out the Student Advocacy Resource Centre’s list of services to learn more about the role of a meeting attendant.

Unlike a withdrawal with cause application (WC grade), you do not need a medical letter to support this application nor do you need a personal narrative. Learn about the difference between withdrawal and withdrawal with cause here.  Another thing to consider about withdrawing is that having a ‘W’ on your transcript does not affect your GPA whereas having an ‘F’ does. Having an ‘F’ will affect your GPA and can have serious impacts to your academic standing. I would recommend talking with an Academic Advisor should you be interested in withdrawing as some programs have limitations on the number of times you can do this. Before withdrawing, consider that if you’re accepted into a program in the Faculty of Health, Community & Education, you may want to confirm whether or not the program you’re enrolled in has any kind of two-strike policy. Check out the current MRU Academic calendar here for details on which programs this applies to, by reading the section that applies to your program. A withdrawal could very well impact your ability to remain in a program, so don’t hesitate to talk to someone first. Not sure who to speak with? Here’s a handy link to all the on-campus advisors.

If you do choose to withdraw, the FREE application is at the Registrar’s Office. Pick up your Starbucks, turn left and voila, you’ve arrived at your destination! Having trouble filling it out? Book an appointment with us at the Student Advocacy Resource Centre and we’d be happy to walk you through this. Please note that the application must be submitted back to the Registrar’s Office no later than 4:00PM on the withdrawal deadline (once again, March 15, 2019). This date also marks “World Sleep Day” so please reward yourself to a much deserved nap after this exhausting process.

Lastly, you will not get a refund when you withdraw. You may, however, want to visit the Student Awards & Financial Aid Office to determine how withdrawing from a class can impact your external funding(s). It is best to check this out prior to withdrawing, especially if you have bursaries or are considering dropping down to part-time studies. If you don’t end up receiving 25% of your final course grade within the timeline mentioned above, you can of course withdraw by the deadline, if possible. One best practice of managing this situation is to keep a screen shot of your course grades on Blackboard, showing the dates of when your grades were entered, on March 15th. Come and speak to us about not receiving 25% of your final course grade, if not knowing prevented you from withdrawing in a timely way or you want to consider additional options.

How to submit your questions to Meaghan:

Get involved today and #AskMeaghan to discover how you can become a #SAMRUselfadvocacy champion! Submit your questions by using the #AskMeaghan hashtag on social media or email me directly at m.paturel@samru.ca. I’m in the Student Advocacy Resource Centre (Z303) in Wyckham House from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm but feel free to pop by during drop-in hours from 12 to 2 pm on weekdays. The Student Advocacy Resource admins or myself would be happy to help you!

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