C+/B- or a W

Can I get some spot check advice here please?

3.92 current GPA (all A’s plus a C+ in Orgo I). Multiple W’s or withdrawn semsesters over the years. Had lots of F’s/D’s from 20 years ago that I lobbied to have turned into retroactive W’s or in come cases “O” - No Grade Reported, Not Included in GPA.

Last semester withdrew from primary university as a way of surviving a divorce, but still carried 12 hours at the community college.

This semester, cut back on work, but not far enough, have 15 hours of Physics, physiology, Biology, Rhetoric. Looking like A in Bio, B or so in Physio, have a mid range B now in Physics.

Two midterms tomorrow, paper due in Rhetoric Wed, Midterm on Friday, am trying to make up a late lab report from last week now, been working overnights in the ER all weekend/last night. I am not ready for the exams, nor do I expect to be due to schedule issues/accumulating fatigue.

Next Monday is the last day to drop a class. I am not going to get 4 A’s this semester. Mathmatically, several of the classes are unlikely to yield an A regardless of what I changed to try to focus on them, even if they were the only class I had left. The numbers just dont crunch . . .

Option 1 - stick with all of the classes, all nighters all week, ignore the kids, call in sick one shift, beg for forgiveness on a missed paper assignment, yaddie, yaddie Thinking B’s to B minus across the board are possible. Might land one A. (probably not the Rhetoric anymore after blowing off the paper.)

Option 2 - shed the Rhetoric with it’s writing requirement (time suck) or one of the other classes, probably the physiology course (not a basic physio, an upper level). Keep the physics with a B-, C+ (i’m far enough behind at this point) and retake next semester.

Option 3 - resume drinking and find work in the food service industry.

Help me weigh the C+ vs a W vs a C+ with a retake. I know I’m being intense about the GPA, but I have some other distractions in my application so I want to be blemish free where I can be.

I wasn’t aware of how much W’s were frowned on until recently. Are they worse than a C with a retake later?

Thanks for any input,


Can you afford the drop in GPA? Personally, I would opt for a W instead of a C+/B-. This will maintain your GPA but you’ll have to explain your W.

Looks like you have a full plate at home and work. Is there a reason why you’re taking such a heavy load of classes? I would try to scale back a bit. Anyways, good luck man.

How do you go about getting a grade changed to a W? I didn’t know this was possible. Thanks.

Well I presume that most of us have schools that allow a withdraw with nothing appearing on the transcript the first couple weeks of class and then have a date, say 1/3 of the way into the semester, when you can withdraw to avoid a bad grade, but it shows a W on your transcript. But you may be asking about how I had the other grades changed. . . if so. . .

I, like many of us, had miserable grades that were, in my case, 20+ years old. I had a semester at a CC with a B and two F’s. 18 years old and just stopped attending. (Still got a B in the one class LOL and shaking my head).

20 years old and stopped attending CC #2 without dropping and had a C, D- and two F’s.

22 years old, attending my state university had a semester of 4.3 and then a 0.89 with F’s, D and a C I think. Cum GPA with some other A’s - 1.89!

Both of the community colleges had programs where, after a significant absence of a year or two, a student coudl return and meet certain criteria (essentially attend more classes, pay them more money and explain how you were different) and they would change the grades to O - No Grade Reported. I did that, attending both community colleges for a total of 61 credit hours (60 being the max I could transfer to university) and improved my CC GPA to a 4.0, but with O’s and some W’s showing up. I didn’t realize that W’s would count, so I often would take an overload and then drop a class after the free deadline. My bad.

Transferred to my university (same one from age 21), cum about a 3.2 or 3.3 and began clawing my way back up, one A at a time. The university offered a ‘fresh start’ program where they wouldn’t remove a grade, but would take them off the GPA and not count them against the 2nd Grade Option limit of four classes. I applied for that, figuring what the heck, it opened up some retakes for a DO application and still might look better on a transcript.

Dean of that college turned me down, indicating it was about getting people up to a 2.0 GPA for graduation. I explained my plight, showed 20 years of improvement, 70 hours of A’s, but no dice. Then out of the blue she offered a retroactive withdrawal of the one offensive sememster if I could prove my circumstances of 20 years ago. I could with some paperwork and the fact one of my TA’s back then actually remembers me as a prof now! I considered it, weighed it, took one W for the entire semester, but improved my cum to 3.92.

Since then I’ve drifted down to a 3.8 something, continue to drift a little bit with some of the advanced classes, and took another semester W for the divorce last year.

Overall, it’s still messy, but it is what it is and it isn’t a 1.89 GPA anymore.

Hope that helps,


  • syr_eng2md Said:
Can you afford the drop in GPA? Personally, I would opt for a W instead of a C+/B-. This will maintain your GPA but you'll have to explain your W.

Looks like you have a full plate at home and work. Is there a reason why you're taking such a heavy load of classes? I would try to scale back a bit. Anyways, good luck man.

Thanks for the reply Syr Eng!

I ended up not dropping anything, worked my tail off!!!!! Pulled 48 hours of nights in ten days in the ER, took two midterms and two quizzes with A- for the low grade on everything. Some good work, but a fair amount of luck too I have to admit.

I am so far behind now on my daily stuff for all classes, but I have some breathing room to maybe catch up. My rhetoric prof didn't want me to drop, let me flex the rest of the semester, but won't let me have the A. I'm back to nights this week, but am off next week with 5 days to prep for a biology type midterm. The lab is killing me, but right now B+'s look doable on everything, provided no monumental failures. A-'s maybe if I stay of the innerweb and keep my nose to the book!

I know I should scale back, but I'm nearer the older end of the spectrum here, with kids and family responsibilities, an adamant refusal to borrow for undergrad and feeling like if I don't make the push to get the BS done soon that it will be too late and I will be out of money/energy/family leeway (I quit my full time job and our primary income 2.5 years ago, thinking I would be done by now). I may be wrong, but it's what I signed up for this semester.

Thanks for weighing in though!!!


Hey. Good for you! Yea, I understand, you gotta do what you gotta do. My only advice is to study for your MCATs when you are done with your pre-reqs. If you can dedicate 3 solid months to just the MCATs, you’ll get at least a 30. I went from my first practice test of a 19 to an actual MCAT of 32 so I know it’s possible.

I’ve seen people say that you need to dedicate three solid months of studying for the MCAT. Does this mean three hours at night after work or does this mean that the MCAT study is equivalent to a full-time job for three months? I don’t want to derail the thread, but I’ve been curious about this point for a while.

Crepitus, just some anecdata here–I have plenty of Ws, all of them work-related, and I’m getting interviews right now. Sure, for a 20-year-old undergrad with no family, a W may be avoidable, but a person has to keep their job.

On my application I said, hey, I had to take a W there because my hours increased (or what have you–the truth in each case).

Banker2Doc, I dedicated 3-4 hours every weekday after work. 12 hours on the weekends (Sat, Sun). You should try to get 40 hours a week if possible. So yes, it’s the equivalent to a full time job for three months. It’s a tough 3 months but it’ll be worth it when you get a good MCAT score. You only want to take it once.

Thanks lurkation. I’m hoping that this will be the case when I make my case for my W’s. I’m not terribly worried about it, but I also understand that at some point, as I make this last push, that they need to come to a stop.

Banker, no worries on the hijack. I was going to actually ask Syr Eng the same question. I originally was going to have a light spring semester and MCAT study for June/July, but when I lost last semester I would have to take Bio II, Orgo II, Physics II and another summer science class, plus study for the MCAT between January and July.

I don’t think I can treat MCAT as 40 hrs a week for 3 months and make it fit. I’m going to try 15 hours a week for a semester with two sciences, say Physics II and Bio II. If I feel ready I may take it this summer, otherwise I will take Orgo over the Summer session, Biochem in the fall, study some more and lose a year. but better than falling flat the first try.


I’m in a similar situation. I was a psych major in undergrad and I ended up dropping two semesters in a row two years in due mental health issues. I saw my friend shot through his chest with a .370 “unloaded” hunting rifle. He spent three months in the ICU after they removed his lung and I was there every day. I showed classic symptoms of PTSD and it took me a couple of years just working and not going to school to get myself back together.

To clarify, I wasn’t the one with the gun. The one with the gun pulled it out while I was in the bathroom to show off. He’s one of those idiot people who you don’t know really how they got into your group of friends. He’s not now.

Do you think this would negatively affect me? How much detail should I go into on why I took that break?

Oh, Banker2Doc, I didn’t mean to imply that there was no good reason for a regular undergrad to take a W or withdraw for a semester. I meant other things being equal, a regular undergrad might have a harder time justifying a W. I am sorry you had to go through that and I hope your friend made a full recovery.

As for how much detail–I think it would depend on how many years ago it was. I would tend to err on the side of less detail in either case. “Schoolyear 2001-2002 did not go well for me because I unfortunately witnessed a friend’s traumatic injury and played a major part in his recovery. After some counseling and a steady job during the next year, I was back on track for schoolyear 2003-2004.” That would be all I would say unless the recovery process itself helped lead you to medicine. Others tend to give more information than I would, but it varies by individual taste.

If it really was more than a decade ago, I might even consider saying “personal matters” and leave it at that.