Should I use my one-time-only late withdrawal?

Choosing to withdraw from a course can be a difficult decision to make.
Choosing to withdraw from a course can be a difficult decision to make. Depending on the course, it may mean needing to put-off other courses, potentially delaying your graduation. In other cases, it may mean simply needing to fulfill that requirement in another semester or summer. Sometimes, it may be a course you do not need at all, but took out of interest and later realized you would not be able to successfully pass.

The University of Minnesota offers three separate withdrawal deadlines each semester:
  • Within the first two weeks of a semester, a student may withdraw from a course without a “W” (meaning withdrawal) on their record 
  • Beginning the third week of the semester through the tenth week, students may withdraw from a full-semester course with a “W” on their record 
  • Beginning the eleventh week of the semester through the last day of classes (or before you take the final for the course, whichever date comes first), students may use their One-Time-Only Late Withdrawal (OTOLW). 
Because the OTOLW is a one-time option, it is important to be very reflective before deciding to use it. A couple questions to ask yourself in reflection may be:
  • Am I unable to reasonably pass this course with a C– or better (for major- or minor-related courses)? This would be a great question to discuss with your instructor or TA. 
  • Would putting in the work to be able to pass this one course be so great that it would make my other courses suffer? This is a good question to discuss with your academic advisor, as they may be able to direct you to helpful resources to help you pass. 
If the answer to either of these questions is yes, it may be in your favor to utilize your OTOLW. If you are considering using your OTOLW, it is very important to discuss your options with your advisor, so they are able to speak with you about how withdrawing from the class may impact other courses you are currently taking, your graduation timeline, and/or options to fulfill this requirement in a future semester.

Using your OTOLW because you simply no longer want to be in the course or are able to pass the course with a grade that you feel is less than ideal are not recommended uses of the OTOLW, as you may need to have your OTOLW to use in case of true academic trouble in a future semester.

If you have questions as to whether or not using your OTOLW is a good option in your situation, contact your academic advisor. If you choose to use your OTOLW, you will need to attend CSE Advising drop-ins (Monday-Friday, 2p-4p via Zoom at to complete a small bit of paperwork and get it signed by an advisor. It is recommended you try to do this before the OTOLW deadline so if there is anything else you need to do before withdrawing, you have adequate time to do so.

As always, if you have questions, do not hesitate to reach out to your advisor!