FAC approves consequences for dropping classes late in year

Chronicle Staff

 

By Daniel Rothberg

In an effort to bring consistency to the process of dropping classes, the Faculty Academic Committee has approved a new policy that sets restrictions on when students are permitted to drop a course.

Starting next year, students enrolled in a year-long course will have up to one week after the first quarter ends to decide whether they wish to drop it. If a student chooses to withdraw from a class after that point, the action will be noted on his or her official transcript.

The same rule will apply for semester courses. However, due to the shorter length of those courses, students will have four weeks to decide whether they wish to drop them.

FAC Chairman Kent Nealis said that the consequence for dropping a class after the official deadline is meant to serve as a punishment for not fulfilling a commitment to complete the course.

“[Dropping a class] is something that should be done with a fair amount of thoughtfulness,” Nealis said.

Under the old policy, requests were dealt with on a case-by-case basis, Upper School Dean Canh Oxelson said.

“We really didn’t have a policy where we could say with any consistency [that] it’s too late to pick up a new class or it’s too late to drop a class,” Oxelson said.

Nealis and Oxelson believe that a relatively small number of students will be affected by the new policy.

Oxelson also said that a withdrawal noted on a student’s transcript might negatively affect him or her during the college process.

“If it does turn out that a student has a withdraw on their transcript it does raise a little bit of a red flag with a college because they are going to want to know why the withdraw happened,” he said.

Nealis said that exceptions may be made to the policy should extenuating circumstances arise.

“If there are significant extenuating circumstances, certainly allowances would be made and strict adherence to policy is not something we are going to demand as a matter of course,” Nealis said.

“It will force kids to be more thoughtful about what they are going to take and thoughtful about whether they can handle that particular course load,” Oxelson said. “I actually don’t think that a lot of students will end up with a withdraw on their transcript becasue most students know early enough whether or not they want to stay in a class.”