"W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

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dolphlaw

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"W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby dolphlaw » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:40 am

I am a senior at a large state school with a 3.75 GPA. I have never taken a withdrawal through my undergrad career, or gotten any grade under a B. However, I am currently taking 18 credits while training for a marathon and working 20+ hrs a week on a congressional election.

I am considering taking a "W" in an online course I am taking that I am nervous I may receive a poor grade in. I would then retake the course next semester (final semester) in a classroom setting in hopes of getting an A in the course. Would this be worth it? How bad does a W senior year look although you have never had one before? How largely to top school's factor W's in general? I am hoping to apply for t14 after gaining more work experience and LSAT score. Thanks.

albanach

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby albanach » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:21 am

dolphlaw wrote:I am a senior at a large state school with a 3.75 GPA. I have never taken a withdrawal through my undergrad career, or gotten any grade under a B. However, I am currently taking 18 credits while training for a marathon and working 20+ hrs a week on a congressional election.

I am considering taking a "W" in an online course I am taking that I am nervous I may receive a poor grade in. I would then retake the course next semester (final semester) in a classroom setting in hopes of getting an A in the course. Would this be worth it? How bad does a W senior year look although you have never had one before? How largely to top school's factor W's in general? I am hoping to apply for t14 after gaining more work experience and LSAT score. Thanks.



The W itself doesn't matter, what matters is your GPA. Your GPA is already below median at most of the T14 - you should't do anything to jeopardize that and everything you can to increase it. If T-14 is your goal, you need to drop one or more extracurriculars.

dolphlaw

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby dolphlaw » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:26 am

albanach wrote:
dolphlaw wrote:I am a senior at a large state school with a 3.75 GPA. I have never taken a withdrawal through my undergrad career, or gotten any grade under a B. However, I am currently taking 18 credits while training for a marathon and working 20+ hrs a week on a congressional election.

I am considering taking a "W" in an online course I am taking that I am nervous I may receive a poor grade in. I would then retake the course next semester (final semester) in a classroom setting in hopes of getting an A in the course. Would this be worth it? How bad does a W senior year look although you have never had one before? How largely to top school's factor W's in general? I am hoping to apply for t14 after gaining more work experience and LSAT score. Thanks.



The W itself doesn't matter, what matters is your GPA. Your GPA is already below median at most of the T14 - you should't do anything to jeopardize that and everything you can to increase it. If T-14 is your goal, you need to drop one or more extracurriculars.


Great. So you agree I should drop the course and try for an A next semester? Would writing an addendum be necessary for explaining the W? If you say, the W does not matter...When do "W's" start to matter? After 2 drops or more, or ever?

albanach

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby albanach » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:36 am

dolphlaw wrote:Great. So you agree I should drop the course and try for an A next semester? Would writing an addendum be necessary for explaining the W? If you say, the W does not matter...When do "W's" start to matter? After 2 drops or more, or ever?


That depends. Does your school consider a W non-punitive? You need to be absolutely sure that LSAC will not consider it a 0 on your cumulative GPA. You need to double and triple check this both with your school and as against the LSAC policy. A mistake here would be very costly.

dolphlaw

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby dolphlaw » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:48 am

albanach wrote:
dolphlaw wrote:Great. So you agree I should drop the course and try for an A next semester? Would writing an addendum be necessary for explaining the W? If you say, the W does not matter...When do "W's" start to matter? After 2 drops or more, or ever?


That depends. Does your school consider a W non-punitive? You need to be absolutely sure that LSAC will not consider it a 0 on your cumulative GPA. You need to double and triple check this both with your school and as against the LSAC policy. A mistake here would be very costly.


I have just emailed back and forth with an academic advisor at my university, she said the following: "I think it’s fine to drop that class this semester and retake it next semester. A W has no effect on your GPA and is often unnoticed on a transcript, especially one that is filled with so many other good grades."

Do I still need to check with LSAC?

albanach

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby albanach » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:54 am

dolphlaw wrote:
albanach wrote:
dolphlaw wrote:Great. So you agree I should drop the course and try for an A next semester? Would writing an addendum be necessary for explaining the W? If you say, the W does not matter...When do "W's" start to matter? After 2 drops or more, or ever?


That depends. Does your school consider a W non-punitive? You need to be absolutely sure that LSAC will not consider it a 0 on your cumulative GPA. You need to double and triple check this both with your school and as against the LSAC policy. A mistake here would be very costly.


I have just emailed back and forth with an academic advisor at my university, she said the following: "I think it’s fine to drop that class this semester and retake it next semester. A W has no effect on your GPA and is often unnoticed on a transcript, especially one that is filled with so many other good grades."

Do I still need to check with LSAC?


LSAC calculate your GPA for the purpose of law school admissions, not your school. I would absolutely check with them.

As to your other question, no I would not write an addendum for a W - especially if it's going to say I was too busy for school work due to athletics and politics. It's not exactly a strong message. W's begin to matter as soon as a reasonable human looking at your transcript would start to question why they are there. A single W is unlikely to rise to that level. Two in one semester, maybe. Three back to back, probably. Use common sense to judge.

QContinuum

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby QContinuum » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:58 am

dolphlaw wrote:
albanach wrote:
dolphlaw wrote:Great. So you agree I should drop the course and try for an A next semester? Would writing an addendum be necessary for explaining the W? If you say, the W does not matter...When do "W's" start to matter? After 2 drops or more, or ever?


That depends. Does your school consider a W non-punitive? You need to be absolutely sure that LSAC will not consider it a 0 on your cumulative GPA. You need to double and triple check this both with your school and as against the LSAC policy. A mistake here would be very costly.


I have just emailed back and forth with an academic advisor at my university, she said the following: "I think it’s fine to drop that class this semester and retake it next semester. A W has no effect on your GPA and is often unnoticed on a transcript, especially one that is filled with so many other good grades."

Do I still need to check with LSAC?


The key is whether the school considers the grade "nonpunitive" (not necessarily whether the school includes it in your school GPA - remember, LSAC independently calculates a LSAC GPA using its own rules). There have been cases where grades excluded from school GPA have nevertheless been factored in to LSAC GPA (usually to the applicant's detriment). I'd check with LSAC regarding how they treat Ws at your school.

dolphlaw

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby dolphlaw » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:00 am

albanach wrote:
dolphlaw wrote:
albanach wrote:
dolphlaw wrote:Great. So you agree I should drop the course and try for an A next semester? Would writing an addendum be necessary for explaining the W? If you say, the W does not matter...When do "W's" start to matter? After 2 drops or more, or ever?


That depends. Does your school consider a W non-punitive? You need to be absolutely sure that LSAC will not consider it a 0 on your cumulative GPA. You need to double and triple check this both with your school and as against the LSAC policy. A mistake here would be very costly.


I have just emailed back and forth with an academic advisor at my university, she said the following: "I think it’s fine to drop that class this semester and retake it next semester. A W has no effect on your GPA and is often unnoticed on a transcript, especially one that is filled with so many other good grades."

Do I still need to check with LSAC?


LSAC calculate your GPA for the purpose of law school admissions, not your school. I would absolutely check with them.

As to your other question, no I would not write an addendum for a W - especially if it's going to say I was too busy for school work due to athletics and politics. It's not exactly a strong message. W's begin to matter as soon as a reasonable human looking at your transcript would start to question why they are there. A single W is unlikely to rise to that level. Two in one semester, maybe. Three back to back, probably. Use common sense to judge.


Got it. LSAC seems to state that this "W" would not be calculated into my LSAC GPA: https://www.lsac.org/applying-law-schoo ... marization

However, would I be able to speak with an LSAC representative to ensure this? Or do those exist?

kellyjohnson

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby kellyjohnson » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:02 am

I was on a full scholarship in UG and could take as many classes each semester as I wanted without paying any extra. I often signed up for 1 or 2 more classes than I actually wanted to take, and then a month or so in I would drop the two (or one) that seemed the most uninteresting or the least useful (we have all had classes where, a month in, it becomes obvious the class is a waste of time). So each semester I had one or two W's. To me, this was a very smart thing to do and I dont understand why more people wouldnt use such an approach (assuming you dont pay more for each class).

I got into multiple T6's with no addendum.

albanach

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby albanach » Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:04 pm

kellyjohnson wrote:I was on a full scholarship in UG and could take as many classes each semester as I wanted without paying any extra. I often signed up for 1 or 2 more classes than I actually wanted to take, and then a month or so in I would drop the two (or one) that seemed the most uninteresting or the least useful (we have all had classes where, a month in, it becomes obvious the class is a waste of time). So each semester I had one or two W's. To me, this was a very smart thing to do and I dont understand why more people wouldnt use such an approach (assuming you dont pay more for each class).

I got into multiple T6's with no addendum.


The approach seems sound. My point was simply that, if your transcript looks unusual and there's a straightforward explanation, it probably makes sense to include a paragraph giving it context. Perhaps you had so many W's that it was obvious what was going on, but the risk of a school not accepting you because they misunderstood or misinterpreted seems sufficient to merit a few sentences.

Nonetheless, I wouldn't add an addendum for a single W, particularly if OP is dropping the class for the reasons given.

QContinuum

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby QContinuum » Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:28 pm

albanach wrote:
dolphlaw wrote:
albanach wrote:
dolphlaw wrote:Great. So you agree I should drop the course and try for an A next semester? Would writing an addendum be necessary for explaining the W? If you say, the W does not matter...When do "W's" start to matter? After 2 drops or more, or ever?


That depends. Does your school consider a W non-punitive? You need to be absolutely sure that LSAC will not consider it a 0 on your cumulative GPA. You need to double and triple check this both with your school and as against the LSAC policy. A mistake here would be very costly.


I have just emailed back and forth with an academic advisor at my university, she said the following: "I think it’s fine to drop that class this semester and retake it next semester. A W has no effect on your GPA and is often unnoticed on a transcript, especially one that is filled with so many other good grades."

Do I still need to check with LSAC?


LSAC calculate your GPA for the purpose of law school admissions, not your school. I would absolutely check with them.

As to your other question, no I would not write an addendum for a W - especially if it's going to say I was too busy for school work due to athletics and politics. It's not exactly a strong message. W's begin to matter as soon as a reasonable human looking at your transcript would start to question why they are there. A single W is unlikely to rise to that level. Two in one semester, maybe. Three back to back, probably. Use common sense to judge.


IIRC I had two Ws in one semester, and 3 total - did not write an addendum, did very well in admissions. I wouldn't write a W addendum unless there were 3+ Ws in one semester and there was a compelling explanation (i.e., something more than just "I was too busy to be a good student" - think something along the lines of an illness or a family issue or something).

dolphlaw

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby dolphlaw » Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:33 pm

Great, this is all super helpful. I have talked to two advisors now who have recommended I just take a W and get an A next semester. I am checking with our registrar's office to ensure that the W will be considered "non-punitive". From what I can gather, it is non-punitive but want to be sure.

ditt0

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby ditt0 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:16 am

dolphlaw wrote:Great, this is all super helpful. I have talked to two advisors now who have recommended I just take a W and get an A next semester. I am checking with our registrar's office to ensure that the W will be considered "non-punitive". From what I can gather, it is non-punitive but want to be sure.


From my experience with registrars, they might not be too helpful. You can check directly on the LSAC if your school's Ws are non-punitive or not.
https://members.lsac.org/MenuItems/IGUG ... earch.aspx

dolphlaw

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Re: "W" Withdrawal on Transcript Senior Year

Postby dolphlaw » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:35 pm

QContinuum wrote:
albanach wrote:
dolphlaw wrote:
albanach wrote:
dolphlaw wrote:Great. So you agree I should drop the course and try for an A next semester? Would writing an addendum be necessary for explaining the W? If you say, the W does not matter...When do "W's" start to matter? After 2 drops or more, or ever?


That depends. Does your school consider a W non-punitive? You need to be absolutely sure that LSAC will not consider it a 0 on your cumulative GPA. You need to double and triple check this both with your school and as against the LSAC policy. A mistake here would be very costly.


I have just emailed back and forth with an academic advisor at my university, she said the following: "I think it’s fine to drop that class this semester and retake it next semester. A W has no effect on your GPA and is often unnoticed on a transcript, especially one that is filled with so many other good grades."

Do I still need to check with LSAC?


LSAC calculate your GPA for the purpose of law school admissions, not your school. I would absolutely check with them.

As to your other question, no I would not write an addendum for a W - especially if it's going to say I was too busy for school work due to athletics and politics. It's not exactly a strong message. W's begin to matter as soon as a reasonable human looking at your transcript would start to question why they are there. A single W is unlikely to rise to that level. Two in one semester, maybe. Three back to back, probably. Use common sense to judge.


IIRC I had two Ws in one semester, and 3 total - did not write an addendum, did very well in admissions. I wouldn't write a W addendum unless there were 3+ Ws in one semester and there was a compelling explanation (i.e., something more than just "I was too busy to be a good student" - think something along the lines of an illness or a family issue or something).


From the LSAC:
"In answer to your question, a grade of ‘W’ from University of____ would be excluded from the GPA. If you were to be assigned a grade of ‘WF,’ the grade would also be excluded from the GPA; however, the credits would appear on the CAS report as ‘non-punitive’ credits.

A withdrawal that does not imply failure (such as the ‘W’) would be excluded from the report entirely if the issuing institution does not include such grade in their GPA calculations. This type of withdrawal grade is neither included in the GPA nor reported as non-punitive hours."

From my understanding, it looks like I am okay to take the W grade with no real penalty from my University or the LSAC, correct? Thank you all for input.



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