What to Consider Before Dropping a Class

Many students consider withdrawing from a class because of fear they will receive a bad grade. Looking only at your Baylor grade point average, withdrawing for this reason may seem like a smart decision. However, from a law-school-admissions perspective, it is a good idea to think carefully about the decision to withdraw from a course. Law school admission officers look beyond your GPA to carefully scrutinize your undergraduate transcripts. One or two withdrawals typically do not present much of an issue. However, a pattern of withdrawals will cause law schools to question your academic preparedness and ability to manage a demanding academic load. Deciding whether a withdrawal will benefit your law school admission chances is a context-dependent decision.

Ultimately, a drop that is not punitive at Baylor will not have any impact on the LSAC (Law School Admissions Council) GPA, which is very important to the admission process. Therefore, a first or second withdraw is frequently better than a D or an F in a course. Students frequently ask about dropping a course to avoid getting a “C.” While this is generally not advisable, a withdrawal might be a good decision if it would be your first C and your struggles in the class would endanger your other grades.

Your decision might also be influenced by whether you have a reason for withdrawing from the class other than the difficulty of your academic work or demands of your schedule. Law schools will allow you to provide explanatory addenda detailing why you dropped a class or classes. They are more likely to be forgiving of a drop that was caused by unexpected circumstances, such as serious illness or family issues, than they would if you dropped a class simply because you did not like the professor.

When determining whether to withdraw from a course, you should also consider the inherent value of persevering through academic challenges. Legal education is very demanding, and it is generally not possible to drop a law school course without derailing your academic progress. Before making the decision to withdraw from a course, take advantage of all the resources Baylor provides to help you succeed. You should also talk to the Pre-Law Coordinator about how the decision to drop will influence your law school application.