Home Academic information Course withdrawals must not appear on the transcripts of SU students

Course withdrawals must not appear on the transcripts of SU students


Preparing students for “participation in a changing global society” through quality education is part of the curriculum at Syracuse University vision and mission. This quality of teaching is reflected in grades, enrollment history and the cumulative grade point average on student transcripts. When students apply for jobs after graduation, employers can weigh student transcripts as part of their selection process. But one of the marks on student transcripts – “WD” for dropouts – can create unnecessary stress for students due to uncertainty over whether the withdrawal will affect their future careers.

A withdrawal from a course is not an accurate representation of a student’s academic success or their potential for success in career or other studies. But withdrawals are included in student transcripts at SU. If a student chooses to withdraw or is forced to leave a course without completing it, a withdrawal should not be noted on the student’s transcript.

A withdrawal refers to when a student leaves a course after the withdrawal deadline set by the university. US politics designates withdrawals from transcripts with the “WD” grading symbol, with no effect on the student’s GPA. This means that a student’s transcript will reflect courses they have not completed, even if courses not completed have little meaning in a student’s academic career.

The purpose of a transcript is to report a student’s academic record for the classes for which they are receiving grades – the withdrawal list does not report academic information. Rather, the registration of withdrawals is for administrative purposes. Kelly Campbell, SU University Registrar, explained via email, “Withdrawals are flagged on the transcript for financial aid purposes.”

Students who choose to withdraw from a course after the university deadline are financially responsible for the class. Those enrolled full-time at SU must meet financial aid requirements by taking a minimum of 12 credit hours. Withdrawing from a course while meeting this full-time requirement does not affect financial aid. And why does a financial note appear on an academic record?


The scoring of a course dropout versus a course withdrawal depends on when you choose between the two and how they relate to the financial aid. SU lists a student dropout deadline in which students can participate and attend a class until the deadline before the class is added to the student’s transcript for the semester.

Withdrawal and abandonment mean that the student has not completed the course. The distinction between the two, however, is arbitrary and solely based on when a student chooses not to complete a course. A withdrawal is indicated on the student’s transcript, while a course abandoned before the deadline is not. Also, despite WD marking, withdrawals are not calculated in a student’s GPA.

SU follows an industry standard when reporting withdrawals from its students on transcripts. Campbell said in an email that “about 80% of institutions report withdrawals on transcripts.” SU must report withdrawals to determine financial aid eligibility, but this may be separate from the notification of grades on a transcript. Although they can be used for financial aid purposes, withdrawals on a transcript are not an accurate record of a student’s education.

The elimination of indents on transcripts means that a student’s transcript can reflect appropriate information about their academic career at SU. There is no actual obligation by the school to report withdrawals on transcripts beyond advising students and financial obligations that do not need to appear on transcripts. Regardless of when a student leaves a course, it should not be noted on a transcript.

SU is used to prepare students for their careers, and courses that a student has not completed have no influence on their academic career. Other than the deadline and financial considerations, there is no difference between dropping out of a course and withdrawing from a course. Withdrawing from a course has no real effect on financial aid unless it drops a student below 12 credits, and it does not seem relevant to show a course that a student has not completed on his transcript.

Harrison Vogt is a junior specializing in environmental sustainability policies and communication and rhetorical studies. His column appears every two weeks. He can be contacted at [email protected]. He can be followed on Twitter at @VogtHarrison.