I am in 6th Semester of Undergraduate in Computer Science at a university in Pakistan. My current GPA is 3.95 and I am at the top of my class. My goal is to get into a competitive graduate program in United States.

I am facing a difficult situation in this semester. I am taking a "Technical and Business Writing" course, and I have scored really bad in mid-term exam. I am thinking about withdrawing this class.

Now I have three options:

  • If I work hard on this course, I can secure an A- or A in it, but that will jeopardize my extracurricular research work, which I am doing for my research experience.
  • If I don't work that hard on it, and just go with the flow, I will get a B in it, which will affect my GPA.
  • I can withdraw this course and get a W in it. Then it will not count in GPA, and I will have to study it in my 7th or 8th semester. I believe that then I can get an A in it.

I have heard that withdrawals do not look good on a transcript. So what should I do?

  • We can't tell you what to do, but I would recommend calculating exactly how much it would change your gpa at this point. Also worth pointing out that often times schools allow you to present both your cumulative GPA and your major GPA.
    – Dawn
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 15:15
  • It seems weird that someone holds classes that you take just for fun against you when you withdraw. (But I don't know about the US.)
    – user111388
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


It seems very unlikely that withdrawing from a non-major class will have any effect at all in the US (probably elsewhere too). It might be good to drop now and start over later with a spurt of energy.

There are a lot of reasons for withdrawing. I once got overloaded and dropped a course with no effect on future goals.

But a lesser grade in a non-major course is also not something to obsess over, provided you pass. And GPA is not the only or even the major determinant of grad school admissions in US. Letters of recommendation in your field are much more important.

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