What is the difference between dropping and withdrawing?

The difference between dropping a course and withdrawing from a course depends on when you decide to stop participating in the class. If this occurs before the end of change of registration period, it is a course drop. If you decide to stop participating in a course after the drop deadline (during the withdrawal period) it is a course withdrawal.

If you drop a course, the course will not appear on your transcript.

If you withdraw from a course, the course remains on your transcript with a notation of 'W.' 

How do I withdraw from a course during the withdrawal period (before the last day of classes)? 

From the main menu in Connect@MTA, select “Register and Drop Courses”. Here, you can withdraw from any course by checking the ‘Drop’ box next to the course. Confirm your schedule in ‘My Class Schedule’ to be sure you properly completed the withdrawal. You cannot withdraw from a course via Moodle. Withdrawal from correspondence courses can only be completed by email to regoffice@mta.ca. Non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal and any student who does not withdraw for a course will remain registered and will receive a final grade.  

What is a ‘W’ notation?

When students withdraw from a course after the drop deadline and within the withdrawal period, they receive a notation of ‘W’ on their transcript next to the course. The 'W' indicates that the student enrolled in the course but eventually withdrew prior to completing the course and receiving a letter grade. A ‘W’ is not a letter grade and it does not affect your GPA. 

Can I petition to have the ‘W’ removed from my transcript?

Students may not petition to have a ‘W’ removed from the transcript.

Will the ‘W’ be removed if I complete(d) the class in another term?

The ‘W’ will always remain on your academic record. This is true even if you complete the course in a later term, or completed the course in an earlier term. 

Does a ‘W’ count as a course repeat? 

A course assigned a ‘W’ notation holds no credit value and no grade point value. It does not count as a course attempt for the purposes of Calendar regulation 10.3.7 (Repeating Courses) and 10.9.7 (Repeated Courses, SGPA and CGPA). 

Will the ‘W’ affect my enrolment status?

In order to maintain full-time enrolment you must be enrolled in at least nine credits in both the Fall and Winter terms. Your status will drop to part time studies if the withdrawal drops you below nine credits per term.  

Students changing from full-time to part-time status should contact the Registrar’s Office regarding their fee obligations and/or eligibility for a refund. See calendar regulation 4.5.1 for more details. Your enrolment status (full-time or part-time) may be significant if you are an international student. It also has implications for scholarships, and funding or loan eligibility.  

What are the consequences of having W’s on my transcript?  Is it bad to have a ‘W’?

The impact of having a ‘W’ on your transcript may be minimal. Certainly, if you are planning to apply for further studies in graduate, medical, or professional programs, the intensity of your course load and record of withdrawals may be considered. Some programs may even require you to carry a full course load as a criteria for admission, so be sure to familiarize yourself with entrance requirements. 

However, this is only one piece of your application that may also include grades, entrance exams, letters of intent, references, volunteer and extracurricular experiences, and interviews. You should also have the opportunity to explain your reason for withdrawing from the course. 

Consider the withdrawal within the context of your entire academic record and your full application. Does your transcript otherwise demonstrate that you are able to handle a demanding course load and rigorous curriculum? Is there a single ‘W’ on your transcript, or does your record indicate a pattern of withdrawals? Does your transcript show a trend of improved grades? 

By itself, a single ‘W’ does not indicate difficulty with time management, workload or ability to perform at a high level. A withdrawal may simply indicate you made a thoughtful decision – perhaps the best decision – given the circumstances.

When is a ‘W’ a good or bad idea? 

We recommend that you take a W notation seriously, and use this option only when necessary.  Please keep in mind, if you withdraw you are not earning credits for the course and will likely need to make them up later. 

A course withdrawal can be an important preventive measure to avoid damaging your grade point average (GPA). It can also help to balance your course load and manage your well-being if you are feeling overwhelmed by various other circumstances. 

It may not be ideal to have a withdrawal on your record, but it is usually preferable to a failing grade and sometimes even an unsatisfactorily low grade.  It may also be a better option than focusing on the course to the detriment of your other classes. 

If you have experienced illness or missed many classes for other reasons, a withdrawal may make it easier to balance your remaining work and successfully complete your other courses. 

Ultimately, the decision is yours to make. Weigh your options carefully and honestly reflect on whether you can successfully complete the course. Ask yourself if you understand the material enough to succeed in the course. Will putting extra time and effort into this course affect your performance in your other courses? 

What are alternatives to withdrawing from a course?

Make an appointment or attend office hours to speak with your instructor and discuss your concerns about your performance in the course. Your professor can provide good advice about whether you are likely to pass the course, and what you would need to do to earn a passing grade. 

You can also seek academic assistance through the Writing Resource Centre, Math Help Centre, and Peer Tutor program. 

Assistance with time management and study skills is available through the Academic Support Service Coordinator (Dr. Shelly Colette at scolette@mta.ca). Students living in residence may also contact their Academic Mentor for support. 

Other services on campus may be helpful to you as well. For example, counselling services in the Wellness Centre can assist with stress, anxiety, adjustment to university, difficulty balancing responsibilities, academic pressures, and more. 

Should I consult with someone before withdrawing from a course?

Yes, withdrawing from a course is an important decision. If you are considering withdrawing from a class out of concern about your academic performance, you should discuss the decision first with your course instructor. 

In addition, consider the implications withdrawing may have on your progress towards graduation, enrolment status, student loan & scholarship eligibility, or visa status. It may be helpful to seek guidance prior to withdrawing from a course. 


  • If you are concerned with the academic implications of a course withdrawal contact the Academic Advisor at advisor@mta.ca. 
  • If you are an international student with concerns about visa contact the International Advisor at intadvisor@mta.ca. 
  • For questions about financial aid, loans and scholarships contact the Registrar’s Office at regoffice@mta.ca.