How To Drop Courses Effectively

We engineers have to take a lot of courses. We eventually have to deal with long days, 3 hour classes, multiple lab sessions a week. To most students the maximum courses they take is four maybe five courses a semester. But in our first years, we think six or seven courses is a sane amount. This series of posts are geared towards how to handle a large courseload and the tips and tricks I have learned along the way!


Today’s post will focus on why you should drop your course, financial penalties regarding dropping courses and when is the best time to drop courses.

Dropping Courses Meme


Dropping Courses

Sometimes we don’t do to well in our courses and we need to drop our courses. It can be hard admitting defeat but part of fighting the battle is knowing when to cut your losses.

There is a point in your course where you receive your grades and you can see how likely it is that you will do well in your course. Now because we’re engineering students and can deal with handling a lot of stress, we sometimes can be too optimistic and believe we can change 30% to an 75%. But sometimes it is just not possible as a significant amount of the course has gone by.

You can find when the drop deadline is for your term from YorkU Important Dates and see when the last day to drop courses are. By that day if you are still not doing well in your course and you are at risk of not passing the course, it may be time to drop the course. It is always better to drop the course and redo it later than to have a failed attempt bringing your GPA down. But dropping all your courses because you are doing bad in them can have severe financial penalties.


Financial Penalties

You can check the YorkU Refund Tables to figure out how much money you will lose when dropping a course.
These range from Full Refund to No Refund. Let’s look at the Winter 2015 Semester for example:

Credit 1 Full Refund 10% Course Fee Withheld 2 20% Course Fee Withheld 2 60% Course Fee Withheld 2 No Refund
Term W Up to and including Jan. 11 Jan. 12 – 18 Jan. 19 – 25 Jan. 26 – Feb. 1 Feb. 2 onward

In this case Withheld means how much money the University will keep for your amazing learning experience in the course. These dates are also posted in our EngSoc Calendar that you have access to from our webpage.

Note that today (January 11th) is the day that you can drop courses and get a Full Refund on them! So it best to drop them before the Full Refund date but most of the time you will find out you don’t want to continue in the course after you got a few grades back. So when is the best time to Drop Courses?

Best time to Drop Courses

Now this is the best question to ask! When do I drop my courses?

We’ll begin by looking up the dates for the last day to Drop courses. We do this by checking YorkU Important Dates for the Winter 2015 Drop Deadline Information.

Term W
Last date to enrol without permission of course instructor Jan. 19
Last date to enrol with permission of course instructor Jan. 30
Last date to drop courses without receiving a grade March 6

We can see here that the last day to drop courses without it staying on your transcript is March 6th.

Disclaimer: It is not my fault if you don’t get into your courses or you fail out if you follow my advice. This is just my personal opinion and I am just sharing another opinion. Always ask the opinion of Faculty Advisors and it is ultimately your responsibility for any mishaps.

That being said, let’s go over a trick that I use. In my opinion, the best time to drop a course is before taking it. Now this may sound confusing, but let’s take a closer look. When I am still deciding if I should take a course, what I do is avoid enrolling in the course until the last possible date. While those who know me will say this is just because I’m a procrastinator and indecisive here is why this method makes the most sense.

Traditional Method

I decide to take for example PHYS 2020 and realize I may be doing bad in it. When March 6th comes by I drop the course and realize I lost all my money 🙁

Lost my Money


KJ Method

I decide to take for example PHYS 2020 and realize I may have a tough time with it. I decide to drop the course, get my Full Refund and continue going to classes . When Jan 30th comes by (last day to enrol with permission), I realize that it probably is safer if I drop the course.

Because I didn’t enrol in the course and now decide I shouldn’t take the course I save all of my money! I could also enrol right now and pay the same amount I would have paid if I enrolled early. This technique is almost like shadowing the class and enrolling when you are sure this is the course for you.

WARNING: I highly advise against trying this trick in lower year courses (first or second year) as these courses fill up and you will end up with no spot to enrol into. This trick is optimal for upper year courses or courses that stay empty.


The only difference between these two techniques is with my method, I have one month of extra time to think about my decision, try out the class and see how I am doing. The caveats of this trick are when you have courses that fill up quickly such as first and second year courses or General Education Courses. This technique works well towards Upper Year Engineering courses because these classes are generally empty and after a few years, most of the people have dropped out.

It is important to note that, you don’t save any money this way but if you do end up deciding not to take the course you avoid paying more fees. I would always talk to a professor and ask for permission to attend their class without enrolling and be courteous of the class. Most professors would have no issue but there will be some disgruntled professors.

So consider my method if you are unsure about the courses you are taking or want to avoid losing money if you think you might drop a course this semester!

When trying to decide on which courses to take in upper year, or whether you have to retake a course for whatever reason, it’s important to look at course conflicts. Stay tuned for our upcoming post on How to Decide on Which Courses to Take.

If you have any additional questions or concerns feel free to contact us via the website or message our Facebook Page!


Kajendra Seevananthan
2014 – 2015 President of Lassonde Engineering Society

One comment

  1. February 11, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    how did it work out for you this year with all of your courses? any setbacks?

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