Registrar implements new ‘one time exception’ drop policy

John Farey

Undergraduate students will now be allowed to drop a single class past the deadline to withdraw once during their college career without suffering academic penalty, according to a document provided by the registrar’s office.

The new “One Time Exception” provision means that undergraduate students who may not have urgent, substantiated or nonacademic reasons such as illness can withdraw past the mid-semester deadline providing they do so before the last day of class and have not yet received a final grade for the course.

The drop appears on the student’s academic record as the symbol “Q,” denoting that the course was discontinued without academic penalty and counts toward the six-drop limit available to undergraduate students, according to the document. Sophomores, juniors and seniors will only be allowed to request an OTE drop if their average in the class is a D+ or lower.

Livy Knox, senior academic adviser in the Cockrell School of Engineering, said there are many understandable situations in which an OTE drop might be necessary.

“Sometimes, students are overconfident picking courses, and maybe should have started [further] back in a sequence, and they didn’t realize until they get that second midterm back,” Knox said. “For first semester students, they start out in a major and don’t know what it is until they get into it, and they want out of the class.”

Knox said students in the engineering school would not be allowed to request an OTE drop before discussing their situation with an academic adviser.

“We’re going to sit down with a student no matter what and see what their situation is,” Knox said. “If it’s non-academic, we can refer them to support services such as a healthcare provider or disability services.”

Finance sophomore Scott Hickle said he believes in second chances for students looking to maintain a high GPA.

“A high GPA is probably one of the top three things graduate schools look at, and it’s essentially an indicator of how well you can be trained how good you are at learning,“ Hickle said. “If you’re doing really well in a course but you bomb an important midterm, it’s like a one-off get-out-of-jail-free card. My only concern would be that it might cause grade inflation, but that seems unlikely.”

The OTE will not be available to students in the Graduate School, the College of Pharmacy, the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the School of Law or the School of Information. A spokesperson from the registrar’s office was unavailable to comment Wednesday.

Published on Thursday, November 10, 2011 as: Undergrads now allowed to drop one course after official deadline