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Drops, Withdraws, and Leaves

During your college career you may have to make a change to classes or even take time away. Use the information below to review your options. Click on the box that best describes your situation to see the process and timeline. For help or more information contact your advisor or the Office of the Registrar.

Withdraw from classes or from the term

Drop a class by the add/drop deadline

Courses can be dropped through the eighth day of instruction. From the portal, use Student Center to drop one or all of your classes by the add/drop deadline. Please update Degree Planner with changes.

How to Drop classes

Withdraw - "Serious and Compelling"

"Serious and Compelling" course and term withdrawals occur after the add/drop deadline until the 7th week of instruction.

Things to consider Before withdrawing from your course(s)

  • Withdrawing before the end of the 7th week of the term is only permitted for "Serious and Compelling" reasons.
  • Serious and compelling circumstances are definable by the department approving the course withdrawal or term withdrawal request. It should be emphasized that poor grades, irregular attendance, or dissatisfaction with the course are not in themselves sufficient reasons for withdrawal approval.
  • Talking to your instructor and/or advisor about your current circumstances in the course.
  • Seeking out academic support such as faculty office hours, tutoring and workshops.
  • Talking to Campus Health and Wellbeing or Dean of Students for personal support.
  • There could be implications on Financial Aid or refund policy, Campus Housing, graduation, Health Insurance, or Change of Major contracts.
  • Grades: If you are permitted to withdraw, you will receive a ‘W’ grade symbol. It carries no adverse connotation of quality of student performance and is not used in calculating grade point averages.
  • Failure to provide notification or to obtain formal approval to withdraw will be subject to failing grades (WU or F).
  • Students may withdraw from no more than 28 quarter units during their time at Cal Poly for non-medical reasons. Withdrawals for medical reasons require appropriate, signed documentation attached to the form.
  • If you are only enrolled in a single course in a given term, and you would like to withdraw from that course, you must submit a Term Withdrawal, not a Course Withdrawal.

Process

  1. Request a copy of the Course Withdrawal - Serious and Compelling or Term Withdrawal - Serious and Compelling from your College Advising Center. You will use the Student Request Form to request access to either document (links can be found below under the "FORMS" subheading).
  2. The Adobe Sign copy of the form you receive will provide directions to write a statement and complete your student information. The form will then route automatically to the remaining signers.
  3. You must submit your form to the Office of the Registrar before the end of the 7th week of instruction. See Planning Calendars for dates.
  4. Update Degree Planner to reflect when you plan to take this class in the future.

Timeline/Deadlines

  • Students can fill out and submit paperwork to withdraw from a course or term for Serious and Compelling reasons between the add/drop period and before the end of 7th week of instruction.
  • Deadlines can be found in the Planning Calendar for the given term.

FORMS

Withdraw - "Emergency"

"Emergency" course and term withdrawals occur after the 7th week of the term until the last day of instruction.

Things to consider Before withdrawing from the quarter

  • Withdrawing after the 7th week of the term until the last day of instruction is only permitted if an "Emergency" situation exists beyond the control of the student.
  • Emergency circumstances are definable by the dean of the college offering the course. It should be emphasized that poor grades, irregular attendance, or dissatisfaction with the course are not in themselves sufficient reasons for withdrawal approval.
  • Talking to your instructor and/or advisor about your current circumstances.
  • Seeking out academic support such as faculty office hours, tutoring and workshops.
  • Talking to Personal support such as Campus Health and Wellbeing or Dean of Students.
  • There could be implications on Financial Aid or refund policy, Campus Housing, graduation, Health Insurance, or Change of Major contracts.
  • Grades: If permitted to withdraw from the term, you will receive a ‘W’ grade symbol for all your courses. It carries no adverse connotation of quality of student performance and will not be used in calculating grade point averages.
  • Failure to provide notification or to obtain formal approval to withdraw will be subject to failing grades (WU or F).
  • Students may withdraw from no more than 28 quarter units during their time at Cal Poly for non-medical reasons. Withdrawals for medical reasons require documentation attached to the form.
  • If you are only enrolled in a single course in a given term, and you would like to withdraw from that course, you must submit a Term Withdrawal, not a Course Withdrawal.

Process

  1. Request a copy of the Course Withdrawal - Emergency or Term Withdrawal - Emergency from your College Advising Center. You will use the Student Request Form to request access to either document (links can be found below under the "FORMS" subheading).
  2. Withdrawals for medical reasons require a note from a physician.
  3. Refer to the Student Accounts Office Refund page for information regarding refund eligibility.
  4. Update Degree Planner to reflect when you plan to take these classes in the future.

Timeline/Deadlines

  • Course and Term Withdrawals submitted after the 7th week of instruction until the last day of instruction for the term are for emergency reasons and require approval from student's college Associate Dean. Form must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the last day of instruction for the term. See Planning Calendars for dates.
  • If the request is denied, the Dean’s Office, from the college offering the course, will notify student.

FORMS

Withdraw from a previous term (Retroactive)

A student may petition to have all grades retroactively changed to the administrative grade of W. The student needs to demonstrate and document the serious and compelling reasons or circumstances that resulted in poor performance for the quarter and interfered with their ability to withdraw by the specified deadline.

Refunds of registration fees are not available for withdrawals following the last day of instruction. For more information, contact the Office of the Registrar.

Things to consider Before withdrawing from the quarter

  • Students who wish to apply for retroactive withdrawal must petition within one calendar year of the last day of the quarter petitioned.
  • Students do not have to be enrolled at Cal Poly at the time the application for retroactive withdrawal is submitted.
  • Students may not retroactively withdraw from selected courses during a particular quarter, but must petition to withdraw from the entire quarter.
  • Grades: If permitted to retroactively withdraw from the term, you will receive a ‘W’ grade symbol for all your courses. It carries no adverse connotation of quality of student performance and will not be used in calculating grade point averages.

Process

  1. Students should directly contact the Records Unit of the Office of the Registrar to request access to the Retroactive Withdrawal Form.
  2. Update Degree Planner to reflect when you plan to take these classes in the future.

Timeline

  • The petition will be submitted to the Committee for Retroactive Withdrawal for discussion, evaluation, and decision. The committee generally meets once a month. Once a decision has been reached, the Office of the Registrar will notify the student of the decision via the email address provided on the petition.

Take time off for one or two quarters maximum

Informal Time Off for a quarter or two

Things to consider Before taking time away

Process

  1. You can take 1 or 2 quarters off without jeopardizing your eligibility to enroll at Cal Poly and only need to complete the Undergraduate Informal Time Off form.
  2. Contact University Advising/Retention to discuss options and receive proper support to maintain your program of study and access to services while you are away.
  3. Undergraduate students must update Degree Planner quarterly. Adjust your term to zero units to signal that you will be away. Log in to Degree Planner before the deadline during the term before your return. Logging in will guarantee that you are compliant for the next enrollment period and are not penalized with a delayed appointment when you resume attending Cal Poly.
  4. Students who have not enrolled in three consecutive quarters (excluding summer term) and are not on an approved leave of absence will be discontinued. You must file an application for readmission if you wish to return. See Former Student Eligibility.
  5. For information on continuous enrollment for graduate students, please see the Continuous Enrollment policy.

Timeline

Students need to return and register for classes by the add/drop deadline for the term they are expected to return.

If you have not attended any of these consecutive quarters: Then the next quarter you have to attend to avoid discontinuation is:
Winter, Spring, Summer Fall
Spring, Summer, Fall Winter
Fall, Winter Spring

FORMS

Take time off for more than two quarters

Coordinate with the Office of the Registrar to navigate the required Leave of Absence process. A Leave of Absence is a leave from the university, which may be necessary during your career. A Leave of Absence ensures that your program of study and access to services remain active.

Educational Leaves

An Educational Leave is a temporary leave from the university, which may be necessary during your career. This leave ensures that your program of study and access to services remain active. NO leave is extended beyond the two-year limitation for any reason.

Things to consider Before filing for an Educational Leave

  • No more than two leaves totaling a maximum of 8 terms (including summer) will be available to each student.
  • A planned Educational Leave must contribute to your educational objective and be approved by the advisor and department chair/head.
  • Application must be initiated and approved before the leave begins and will not be granted retroactively.
  • You must be eligible to enroll for the term in which the leave begins.
  • Educational Leave will be considered to be in continuous attendance with the purpose of returning to the same curriculum that was in effect when leave began.
  • During Educational Leave, you are not required to apply for readmission provided you return to the same major and within the time period agreed upon when your application was approved.
  • Failing to return and enroll within the time limits specified by the leave agreement requires an Application for Readmission, payment of an application fee and possibly new curriculum requirements.

Process

  1. Approved Educational Leaves must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by first day of classes during the term in which the leave is to begin.
  2. To change the length of a leave, a new, approved Educational Leave form with the revised return date must be submitted by first day of classes for the approved returning term.
  3. Complete the form (links can be found below under the "FORMS" subheading).
    • An Educational Leave for undergraduate students must contribute to your educational objective and be approved by your advisor and department head/chair.
    • An Educational Leave for graduate students must be approved by the graduate coordinator and dean of research and graduate programs.
  4. Undergraduate students must update Degree Planner quarterly. Adjust your term to zero units to signal that you will be away. Log in to Degree Planner before the deadline during the term before your return. Logging in will guarantee that you are compliant for the next enrollment period and are not penalized with a delayed registration appointment when you resume attending Cal Poly.
  5. There could be implications on Financial Aid or refund policy, Campus Housing, graduation, Health Insurance, or Change of Major contracts. Please reference the Absence Procedures and Contact Information sheet to ensure you are able to continue using services when you return and that you do not incur unnecessary charges.
  6. Note for Freshmen: If you are taking a Leave of Absence in a term for which you have been block scheduled, you will need to drop those courses from your Enrollment tab in your Student Center in order to avoid paying fees or being assigned a grade of "F"/"WU".

Timeline

You will be notified via email when your request for a Leave of Absence has been processed.

FORMS

Medical Leaves

Medical Leaves provide time for you to receive treatment or to recover from a disabling injury or other medical condition(s) and must be approved by a medical doctor.

The Medical Leave begins the term following your last term in attendance and may be granted retroactively based on your personal situation. A written letter together with medical documentation is required. Information concerning Leaves of Absence may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar. NO leave is extended beyond the two-year limitation for any reason.

Things to consider Before filing for a Medical Leave

  • No more than two leaves totaling a maximum of 8 terms will be available to each student and cannot be extended beyond the limit.
  • You must be eligible to enroll for the term the leave begins, but not be enrolled in the term the leave begins.
  • During medical leave, you are not required to apply for readmission provided you return to the same major and within the time period agreed upon when the application was approved.
  • Failing to return and enroll within the time limits specified by the leave agreement requires application for readmission, payment of an application fee and possibly new curriculum requirements.
  • Undergraduate students must have their Degree Planner up to date by the add/drop date of the term prior to the term they are returning.

Process

  1. Approved Medical Leaves must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar.
  2. To change the length of a leave, you must submit a new, approved leave form with the revised return date by the first day of classes of the approved returning term.
  3. Complete the Medical Leave of Absence (link can be found below under the "FORMS" subheading).
  4. Undergraduate students must update Degree Planner quarterly. Adjust your term to zero units to signal that you will be away. Log in to Degree Planner before the deadline during the term before your return. Logging in will guarantee that you are compliant for the next enrollment period and are not penalized with a delayed registration appointment when you resume attending Cal Poly.
  5. There could be implications on Financial Aid or refund policy, Campus Housing, graduation, Health Insurance, or Change of Major contracts. Please reference the Absence Procedures and Contact Information sheet to ensure you are able to continue using services when you return and that you do not incur unnecessary charges.
  6. Note for Freshmen: If you are taking a Leave of Absence in a term for which you have been block scheduled, you will need to drop those courses from your Enrollment tab in your Student Center in order to avoid paying fees or being assigned a grade of "F"/"WU".

Timeline

Students are notified via email when their request of a leave of absence has been processed.

FORMS

Military Leaves

Students called to active U.S. Military duty should attach their orders to a Military Leave of Absence before submitting the form to the Office of the Registrar. If you are using VA Educational benefits, the associate processing these forms notifies the certifying official.

Additional military leave questions should be directed to the Veterans Affairs School Certifying Official.

Things to consider Before filing for a Military Leave

  • Students must be eligible to enroll for the term the leave begins.
  • You cannot be enrolled the term the leave begins.
  • Student will be placed on a two-year military leave of absence for military duty beginning with the term following the last term enrolled and attending.
  • If an extension is necessary, an additional two year extension may be authorized with a copy of the your U.S. Military Orders. An updated form complete with U.S. Military orders is required.
  • Undergraduate students must have their Degree Planner up to date by the add/drop date of the term prior to the term they are returning.

Timeline

Students are notified via email when their request of a leave of absence has been processed.

FORMS

Leave Cal Poly permanently

Leaving Cal Poly permanently or transferring to another school.

NOTE: Recently admitted students should not use this form. If you choose not to accept Cal Poly's offer of admission, please directly contact Admissions.

If you plan to permanently leave Cal Poly and/or transfer to another institution, submit a University Departure form. A University Departure form means you will be permanently discontinued from your academic program, course of study, and the rights and privileges offered to Cal Poly students.

Things to consider Before you commit to leaving Cal Poly

If you are a current undergraduate student and are uncertain whether or not to submit a University Departure form, you are strongly urged to contact your college Advising Center to explore your options.

Process

  1. Discuss your permanent leave from Cal Poly with your Department Chair, advisor, Dean or Associate Dean of your college or Dean of Students.
  2. Understand that completing this form means you will be discontinued from your academic program, course of study, and the rights and privileges offered to Cal Poly students. You will have to apply for readmission if you wish to return. The departure form is appropriate to submit if you plan to transfer to another institution.
  3. If you don't want to finish the current quarter, drop or withdraw from all of your courses.
  4. Complete the Notice of University Departure form (link found below under the "FORMS" subheading).

Timeline

  • Complete this form when you decide to permanently leave the institution.
  • This form will be processed by the end of the quarter it is submitted. Students will have access to their my.calpoly portal for eight quarters.

FORMS

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