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Articles / Applying to College / Impact of Online Class Withdrawal ... TWICE!

Feb. 26, 2015

Impact of Online Class Withdrawal ... TWICE!

Question: Hi. I’m currently a sophomore in the IB program. In freshman year, I was an exchange student and took online courses, one of them being AP Human Geography, which I was withdrawn from (WP – withdrawn passing). This year, I attempted the course again, got through the first semester, and was withdrawn from the second semester (WP). I still plan on taking (and hopefully pass) the AP Human Geography exam. Will the two withdrawals look bad to colleges?

“The Dean” is a little confused. You said you were an exchange student. Does that mean you were living in a foreign country and attending classes in a foreign language and thus you supplemented this academic program with online classes in English … or was the online program the ONLY academic program you pursued as a freshman? And, if so, how many other classes did you successfully complete and what were they? (With the answers to these questions, I could answer more effectively.)

In any case, the college folks may be mystified by your two (and possibly three) attempts to finish AP Human Geography online. So when it’s time to apply to college, you should use the “Additional Information” section of your applications (or write a separate letter to admission officials) to explain why you had to withdraw twice from the same course. You might have a very logical reason (or two), and the admission folks need to hear it. If you explain your decision, you will look a lot less “flaky” than if you don’t. Given that you are in an IB program—and assuming that the rest of your grades are good (they are, right? 😉 )– this little wrinkle should not have much of a negative impact–or even ANY–on your college outcomes, especially if you successfully complete the full IB diploma.


 

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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