How to apply for a Withdrawal under Extenuating Circumstances (WE)

You can only apply for a WE after week six of the term. Before that date, withdraw through goSFU and receive a WD notation instead.

1. Review the WE form, application process and WE FAQs. Before applying for a WE, consider consulting with your instructor to explore alternatives that would allow you to successfully complete the course. Explain in your letter what (if any) steps you have taken prior to applying for a WE. 

2. You may wish to seek advice from a Student Services academic advisor or your departmental academic advisor.

3. If you have been impacted by sexual violence, please connect with the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office (SVSPO) prior to completing a WE application. The SVSPO can provide assistance in various areas and support you in applying for a WE.

4. Write a personal letter (no longer than two pages double-spaced, 12 point type) indicating why you are applying to withdraw. (See FAQ #8, and Writing an Effective Appeal Letter).  If your withdrawal is selective (ie, not all courses in a term), include a detailed explanation of why some courses are included and not others.

5. Gather the documentation related to your request for a withdrawal. If everything except the final exam has been completed for a course from which you are requesting a withdrawal, you must also include a note from the instructor attesting they were unable to defer your exam. Documentation should include grounds for a WE (see below) and these should be original dated documents, on letterhead where appropriate, not photocopies. 

  • Medical Grounds: download the Health Care Provider Statement form and have your doctor fill it out. 
    (Sample)
  • Employment Grounds: a dated letter from your employer on letterhead, indicating the change in employment status which occurred after the course drop deadline date.
    (Sample)
  • Compassionate Grounds: documents supporting travel for attending to family emergencies: death certificate (see Note), published obituary, airline ticket, flight boarding pass (screenshot acceptable), a Health Care Provider Statement if applicable.
    (Sample)
  • Other Grounds: documents attesting to and explaining the precise circumstances. 
  • (Sample)

To scan documents: You can use printers/photocopiers at all SFU Library locations to scan to email, or use your phone camera/photo library, or scan documents with your phone or tablet.  

NOTE: All supporting documents must be submitted in English; it is your responsibility to have them officially translated. You should keep all of your documents for your own records.

6. Complete the WE form and submit the application. Your application will be automatically sent to withdraw@sfu.ca

7. Wait to hear from the WE office by email. Continue to attend classes and complete all course requirements, if applicable, as you wait for a decision.

The wait varies. Peak volume is immediately prior to the last day of classes at the end of a term, or during the exam period, when final grades are posted, or when the enrollment period is about to start.

When a decision has been made, you will be contacted by email and the decision will be recorded on your Academic Record on goSFU. Please check your SFU email account regularly. If you have not received a decision after 3 weeks you should follow-up via email to withdraw@sfu.ca.