How to Withdraw From College

How to Withdraw From College
  • Opening Intro -

    College students that wish to withdraw from college may do so at any time.

    The requirements for withdrawing vary from institution to institution, but it is common for students to be required to put their request in writing.


If you plan on leaving your school, the following are the steps to take as you prepare to make your exit.

Step No. 1 — Personal Introspection

What reasons do you have for leaving college? Even if your college does not ask you this question, it is something you should ask of yourself.

If your reasons are strictly financial, make an appointment with financial aid to explain your plight. Your college may be able to work something out with you, enabling you to stay in school. If your reason has everything to do with adjusting to the school, a visit with a college counselor can help you.

Once you are satisfied with your reason for leaving, then consider what you will do once you withdraw.

Step No. 2 — College Requirements

Learn what you must do to officially withdraw from college. Keep in mind that if you withdraw in the middle of the semester, notice of withdrawal may result in a grade of “W” on your transcripts. For instance, at the University of Pennsylvania, leaving after the fifth week of the semester will result in the “W” grade.

Your college has its own rules for withdrawing. Contact your college’s registration office to learn the correct procedure and follow the same. You should know that once your withdrawal has been accepted your student ID/pass will be deactivated. Also, your student loan lenders will be notified.

Step No. 3 — Assemble Your Paperwork

Your college most likely has an academic withdrawal form that must be filled out. On it you will identify the type of withdrawal being pursued: a leave of absence, a dropped class or a full withdrawal.

You may also be required to include a brief letter outlining your intent. In that letter you should state the reason why you are leaving. If that reason includes your intent to transfer, then say so. You will need to work on transferring college credits separately.

Step No. 4 — Submit Your Paperwork

When your paperwork has been assembled, then submit same to the appropriate department. Some colleges require an exit interview where your college ID will be returned, your dorm room inspected and outstanding payments handled.

Once the withdrawal process has been completed, obtain your copy of the form. Your copy should be signed and stamped by the college. Keep it with all your important information.

Withdrawal Considerations

Students that withdraw from college and have a scholarship should notify the financial aid department directly of that decision. Similar notification should be given for recipients of the federal Pell Grant.

See AlsoShould You Transfers to a Different College?


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Categories: Academics