What a ‘W’ can mean for students

Fernanda Martinez , Reporter

Every semester, Bakersfield College allows students to drop classes on two separate occasions.

The first opportunity to drop a class is two weeks after the start of the class and the last is more than halfway through the semester. However, the last withdraw date does have the effect of leaving a ‘W’ on a student’s transcript.

This semester, the final date to drop a class and receive a W was March 24.

The BC website states that “a W will appear on the permanent record for courses dropped between the 20% and 60% date of the term,” yet, for a lot of students, the meaning of that W is still somewhat unclear.

After asking 10 students of their knowledge of what it means to have a W on their transcript, only two had an idea of what it meant.

“I’ve heard some professors mention it like, ‘Oh, for those of you failing my class you might want to consider dropping soon so you can get a W,’ ” said BC student Omar Herrera. “But I remember it’s something like your last chance to drop a class without getting an F.”

Another BC student, Natalie Gordon, mentioned that she had been told that a W could affect you in the long run.

“One of my professors once said that it can be hard to transfer if you have too many W’s and that even when you’re applying for jobs and they ask for your transcripts they might not want to hire you because they’ll think that you aren’t reliable,” she said.

“I’m not sure, but I’ve never had to worry about it because I always pass my classes,” stated another student who wished to stay anonymous.

The BC website also states that “a W grade is not used in calculating grade point averages, but excessive W grades will be used as factors in progress probation and disqualification.”

After asking another 10 students the same question, only one knew what a W was.

The student, who also wished to remain anonymous, stated “Yeah, I actually have two on my transcript and I only dropped those classes because I had a low GPA and I didn’t want my GPA to get screwed over more. So to save me they advised me to just get a W instead of an F.”

W grades do not affect a grade point average or academic probation but an excessive amount can result in progress probation.

If a student is facing the need to drop a class with a W, it is best to speak to the professor and an academic adviser about the possibilities there are to pass the class.