What is a Drop?
A drop is when a student removes one or more course(s) from his or her schedule via the Student Center Course Enrollment system but is still enrolled in at least one course. (A drop that involves all of one’s courses is called a withdrawal, which is a process of formally leaving the University).
A course can be dropped for any number of reasons: it no longer interests you, you have too many credits, you’re not achieving the kind of success in it that you had expected, another class fits into your schedule better, etc.
Drops are designed to help you make adjustments to your schedule that will be beneficial for you.
The first drop deadline period is usually within the first two weeks of classes. The last drop deadline is usually near the end of the ninth week of classes.
Keep these deadlines in mind as the semester progresses. If you receive grades that are not what you had expected, you would likely benefit most by consulting with your instructor or TA about steps you can take to improve your performance in the course. Further, you might seek resources that can help you with study skills. If your grades have not improved by the ninth week of classes, they likely will not in the remaining weeks of the semester.
Since your grades are a permanent part of your transcript (i.e. even if you repeat a course, your previous grade remains on your transcript and is part of your semester and cumulative GPAs), it is sometimes in your best interest to drop a class rather than complete it with a lower-than-expected grade.
Having a drop appear on your transcript is not a bad thing. It is common for students to have one drop on their transcript during their undergraduate experience at UW-Madison.
Do I need permission from anyone to drop a class?
Although you do not need to get permission to drop a class, it is a good idea to consult with an advisor before you do so. Drops may have an unexpected effect on your future academic plans. Athletes, International Students and students who receive financial aid, in particular, should discuss possible outcomes from dropping, especially if they will drop below full-time (12 credits) status.
How do I drop a course?
Instructions for dropping a course can be found below these questions and answers.
When can I drop a course?
You can drop a course until the ninth week of the semester. After that, you will need a Dean’s permission to get a late drop.
What is a late drop?
Late drops are courses that are dropped after the last drop deadline that are granted by a Dean for circumstances that are serious or are beyond a student’s control and either prevented a student from dropping his or her course(s) before the last drop deadline or prevented a student from completing his or her course(s). These circumstances must be verifiable with documentation: serious illness or injury, death in a student’s immediate family, etc.
If you would like to make a case for a late drop, contact your School or College’s Student Academic Affairs office to schedule an appointment. Most students assigned to CCAS are L&S students, but if you are unsure, please feel free to stop by any of our CCAS offices and ask us about next steps.
It is important to gather any documentation that would be relevant to your request (e.g. doctor or hospital records, death notices, court records, etc.) and submit it when you meet with an Assistant Dean or other authorized staff from your Dean’s office.