Enrolling in and Withdrawing from Courses

First Year Student Scheduling and Placement Exercises

In an effort to assist students in choosing the correct courses for their major and for timely progression to graduation, West Chester University creates a first semester schedule for all first-time, first year students. Schedule prototypes are created by department faculty and reflect a combination of general education and major courses.

All students are required to take the Mathematics Placement Exam and the WRITE Survey prior to New Student Orientation. Some students (all B.A. candidates and Exploratory Studies/Undeclared students) are required to take the Second Language Placement Exam. Results from these placement exams/surveys and other specific student information, including Dual Enrollment and AP courses (if known), are taken into account when creating a student schedule. Students may adjust their schedules one week prior to the beginning of the semester but are encouraged to seek the advice of their advisor or department chair.

Placement Exercises

Enrollment Portal

Each incoming first year student is assigned an enrollment portal within their myWCU. The portal combines all the placement exercises the individual student is required to complete before they begin classes. The enrollment portal is unique to each student and contains the required exams and questions that are needed for placement purposes.

For the 2021-2022 academic year, the placement portal is available to all incoming first year students. Transfer students will be assigned the enrollment portal if an equivalent to WRT 120 or higher is not transferred to WCU and should contact the Mathematics and Languages and Cultures offices if those placement exercises are required.

For more information on placement, see the sections on English placement, mathematics placement, and second language placement.

Adding a Course

Students may add a course through the myWCU portal if the course has available seats and all prerequisites have been met. If a course is closed, the student should speak with the department chair about the possibility of obtaining permission to enroll.  The drop/add period will extend to the eighth calendar day excluding holidays, and when the university is closed. For nontraditional semesters, such as summer and winter, the drop/add period will be adjusted to a percentage of the total class days excluding exams.  See the academic calendar for actual dates.

Dropping a Course

Students may drop any course from their schedule through the myWCU portal during the drop period. See the academic calendar published on the Registrar's Office website for the official drop deadline dates for each semester. After add/drop, students may do a course withdrawal through the myWCU portal. The deadline to withdraw from a course is the end of the ninth instructional week of classes. Course withdrawals will be noted on the transcript with a “W”.

Withdrawing from a Course

A grade of W (withdrawal) will be entered on the academic record of any student who withdraws from a course after the add/drop period and before the end of the ninth instructional class week or the equivalent in summer sessions. Students may withdraw from a course through myWCU.  A student may not withdraw from a course to avoid an academic integrity violation.

After the ninth instructional week of classes, students may not withdraw selectively from courses; they must contact the Office of the Registrar and withdraw from the University. The University will record a "W" for all courses in which the student is registered. However, if the effective date of official withdrawal is during the last week of classes, a letter grade or NG will be assigned for that course. A student may not receive a W during the last week of classes.

Students who fail to withdraw from or drop a course officially can expect to receive a failing grade for the course and are financially responsible to pay for it.

Scheduling Courses

Students may not schedule more than one section of the same course in any given semester.

Priority Registration Eligibility

The following guidelines determine eligibility for priority registration status. Being eligible for priority registration does not guarantee that a group will receive the privilege. (Note: The Provost is the individual responsible for awarding priority registration privileges.)

Priority registration is limited to a cohort of students that meet at least one of the following criteria:

  1. Students with a documented disability on file with the Office of Educational Accessibility (OEA) for their entire career.
  2. Academic Success Program (ASP) students in their first academic year.
  3. Student athletes and the students who are actively engaged in athletics as support personnel, if they must be present during all practices, which includes the marching band and color guard.
  4. Students who are concurrently taking at least 6 on-campus credits while completing a clinical practicum (internship, field experience) that requires student participation at specified times for a significant part of most days of the week. The practicum must be part of the program's required course work. The program must require that the student complete the practicum and all relevant work by a specified time in their academic progression.
  5. Students who have a specific set of 2 or more courses, each of which meets at only one time during the semester, and each of which must be taken in a specific order to make satisfactory progress towards graduation. If the student may take the courses in an alternate sequence, or select from different sections of given course, they are not eligible under this stipulation.
  6. Students engaged in the study abroad program, during the semester that they are abroad.
  7. Act 46 of 2014 requires public institutions of higher education in Pennsylvania to provide veteran students, as defined in the Act, with preference in course scheduling.

The eligible students will be further subdivided in three categories:

Enhanced Priority (EP)
These students, those that meet criteria 1, 2 and 3, schedule before any other students the university. They are granted this privilege because they have the most critical needs. They would have 48 hours to schedule their classes.

Priority Scheduling (PS)
These students, who meet criteria 4, 5, 6, and 7, would priority schedule by class standing and would have 24 hours to schedule before the other members of their class. The requester(s) of priority registration must clearly and convincingly demonstrate that no means exist of completing their program of study in a timely manner, other than through priority registration. Priority Registration cannot be used as an incentive to join a program or group and is not intended simply to be a reward for joining a program or group.

One faculty member will be designated as the Program Supervisor for each program/activity. The Program Supervisor shall maintain the names of those students who are eligible for priority registration and ensure that the list is accurate each semester. The Director of Athletics shall be considered the supervisor of record for all students involved in athletics. During the Program Review process, the Program Supervisor must submit justification for maintaining priority registration. The Provost may revoke the privilege if he/she feels that there is no longer justification for it.

Priority Scheduling Honors (PSH)
Students in the Honors College Core Program meet criteria 4, 5, 6 or 7 and place into their major classes sooner than traditional students; they would priority schedule by class standing one class beyond their entering class. They have 24 hours to schedule before the other members of the class immediately ahead of them.   

Implementation (Effective with the next registration cycle)
In implementing this change, the current priority scheduling population would be divided up as follows:

Enhanced Priority (EP)
Athletes Fall Events (EP for Fall Scheduling)
Athletes Winter Events (EP for Fall and Spring)
Athletes Spring Events (EP for Spring Scheduling)
Athletic Team Trainers and Managers (EP for the season of their Sports)
Students with Disabilities

Priority Scheduling (PS) by Class Standing
Off-Season Athletes
Respiratory Therapy
Study Abroad (when they need to register for their returning term)
University Ambassadors

Priority Scheduling Honors (PSH)
Honors College Core first year students; schedule 24 hours prior to sophomores
Honors College Core sophomores; schedule 24 hours prior to juniors
Honors College Core juniors; schedule 24 hours prior to juniors
Honors College Core seniors; schedule 24 hours prior to seniors

Withdrawal from the University

Term Withdrawal

Students are able to withdraw from all courses for a semester up until the term withdrawal deadline for the term and receive non-punitive grades of W for all courses. Please consult the academic calendar for term withdrawal deadlines.

To withdraw, students must provide written notification of the withdrawal. The withdrawal date is the date the student submits the withdrawal form to the appropriate university office.

Undergraduate Students: Return a completed and signed term withdrawal form to the Office of the Registrar.

Graduate Students: Return a completed and signed term withdrawal form to The Graduate School.

University Withdrawal

Students who do not intend to continue at West Chester University may withdraw from the university. Students who elect to withdraw from the university would then need to apply for readmission if they wish to re-enroll in courses.  

Students who have not attended West Chester University for three or more consecutive fall/spring semesters are classified as “Inactive” and withdrawn from the institution. Please see the undergraduate or graduate readmission policies under "Other Admission Information" for more information about re-enrollment after an absence.  

Administrative Withdrawal

Under exceptional circumstances the University may administratively withdraw students from a semester. This is done when the student is unavailable to complete the term withdrawal process due to extenuating circumstances (for example, incarceration or hospitalization of the student).

The Registrar’s Office will determine the utilization of the administrative withdrawal process. This will be done after confirming non-attendance with the student’s instructors and taking steps to confirm that the student is unable to complete the withdrawal process.

All courses will be given a grade of “W” for the indicated withdrawn term.

Retroactive Withdrawal Policy

It is the student’s responsibility to adhere to all deadlines published in the University’s academic calendar. However, the University is sensitive to students who find themselves facing urgent matters beyond their control. The retroactive withdrawal policy is designed to help those students when serious or unforeseen circumstances occur after the official withdrawal deadline for the term, making it impossible for them to complete that semester and adhere to published withdrawal deadlines.


A retroactive withdrawal is defined as:

  • A request to withdraw from a single course or multiple courses after the last day of class or
  • A request to withdraw from the entire term after the last day of the term.

Once a degree has been conferred and the student’s cumulative GPA has been sealed, changes to the academic record may only be made in instances where the University has made an error.

Retroactive Withdrawal Deadlines

Completed requests for retroactive withdrawals will be considered if they are submitted to the Registrar within one calendar year of the start of the class. For example, a class that begins in August 2020 will have a retroactive withdrawal request deadline of August 2021. Retroactive withdrawals will not be considered if submitted after the calendar year deadline.

Criteria for Retroactive Withdrawal

West Chester University generally discourages retroactive changes but will consider exceptions to this rule when a student makes a compelling case that withdrawal is appropriate and is able to provide documentation supporting their case. A retroactive withdrawal is an extraordinary remedy that is available only for the extreme circumstances set forth below:

  • The student experienced a mental or physical illness, injury, or other extreme circumstance that significantly limited their capacity to withdraw in a timely manner;
  • The student was forced to leave the University abruptly due to a health or safety emergency within their immediate family; or
  • The student was forced to abruptly relocate due to employment, loss of employment, or a housing emergency.

When determining what the University will consider “extreme circumstances,” keep in mind that the reason for seeking retroactive withdrawal must be:

  • Beyond the student’s control,
  • Unanticipated, and
  • Serious.

Retroactive Withdrawal Requirements

A request for retroactive withdrawal must:

  • Apply to all courses in the term unless a physical or mental health issue (or the issue’s required remedy – hospital visits, counseling sessions, etc.) prevented the student from completing a particular course. 
  • Explain why a course withdrawal or term withdrawal was not submitted prior to the advertised deadline. 
  • Include the following documentation:  
    1. An attendance record or other verification from the instructor indicating the student did not complete the course/term. Non-attendance and/or failure to complete assignments would be expected in instances of “extreme circumstances” as detailed above; 
    2. Documentation provided by the student’s physician or mental health professional when the request is prompted by physical or mental health conditions; 
    3. Documentation of other extenuating circumstances (obituary or other evidence of family 
      emergency, police report, eviction notice, etc.); and 
    4. A statement of support from the student’s academic advisor or student success professional. 

Inadequate Reasons for Seeking Retroactive Withdrawal

The retroactive withdrawal policy is not intended as a way for students to avoid receiving low grades. Faculty members are expected to give one major evaluation prior to the end of the eighth week of the semester so that students have an understanding of how they are doing in the class prior to the course withdrawal deadline. If a student has doubts about their ability to complete a course successfully, they are encouraged to reach out to their instructor or academic advisor before the course withdrawal deadline to discuss their next steps. That may mean seeking additional support through university resources or withdrawing from the course. The student is expected to make the decision by the course withdrawal deadline and not wait until the grades are posted for the semester. Poor grades are not an adequate reason to seek retroactive withdrawal.

Recovering from Low Grades

Students who find themselves with low grades should work with their advisor or student success professional to plan out a method of recovery. This may mean repeating courses or considering a change in their major.

Note on Tuition Adjustments

Students seeking retroactive withdrawal may be entitled to a tuition adjustment. The amount will be dictated by the number of weeks the student completed in the term.

Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Policy

To foster an environment conducive to learning and assure the safety of the community, the University takes appropriate measures to address student conduct that is destructive to self or others or results in serious disruption of the learning environment. In extraordinary circumstances, the University may require a student to involuntarily withdraw from the University when it determines that the student poses a significant risk of harm and this measure is the only way to protect the student and/or others and/or to preserve the integrity of the learning environment.

Please refer to the following website for the entire West Chester University Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Policy: https://www.wcupa.edu/policies/policies.aspx.

Title IV Federal Financial Aid Compliance Policy

See "Withdrawal/Enrollment Change and Aid" for information about the effects of an official or unofficial withdrawal from a term on Title IV financial aid funds awarded to a student.