I am an undergraduate student studying mathematics and I am planning to apply for PhD programs after my graduation. However, I have 11 W's on my transcript currently, and I worry how it will affect my admission. I had 2 W's in my first year in non-related classes (history and Spanish) and 9 others from Summer/Fall full semester withdrawals due to medical reasons. Outside of this, my GPA is about 3.8-3.9 and I have a major GPA of 4.0 (I am in the early years of my undergrad career) Will this have impact on my chance of getting into graduate schools? And how can I address it effectively?

Edit: I had semester withdrawals because I could not recover from COVID for a few months while I thought I was able to. I also took a semester off afterwards.

  • 2
    Are they truly marked identically to a regular W? Nov 14, 2023 at 0:43

1 Answer 1


It will certainly raise questions, but they can be answered effectively in some situations. The question isn't so much that you have Ws in your past, but whether this can be expected to continue and how successful you will be in future studies. For things that are truly behind you the explanation is simple. For continuing issues it is a bit harder.

If it was COVID related then it is easy to explain and get past. It affected a lot of people, some quite severely. The same is true for many other medical issues. Some mental health issues might be different. Lots of possibilities in between.

Those writing letters of recommendation, such as are needed in the US, need to confidently and honestly predict your success. If they can do that, then you can probably get through the process, though with, perhaps, a lot of explaining. Good Luck.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .