The Way of Things: a guide to OSU’s petitions and forms


El Guo

Photo illustration depicts Kylie Andrews (she/her) appearing frustrated while looking at her computer at the Memorial Union on March 8. There are many different types of petitions that could be submitted for late drops, withdrawals and grade changes.

Zeva Rosenbaum, News Contributor

Editor’s Note: This column does not represent the opinion of The Daily Barometer. This column reflects the personal opinions of the writer.

Illness, jobs, family and life in general can all get in the way of ideal academic progress, not to mention the confusing process of transferring credits from a prior college, or not wanting to take a class you know you already have the knowledge for. 

Thankfully there are resources available, although it’s hard to find them if you don’t know they exist. So here’s a little guide to Oregon State University’s petitions and forms, all of which are available on the Registrar’s forms page.

According to Chris Hunt, assistant registrar at OSU, the most common requests they receive are probably the change of grading basis, extra credits petition and the late change of registration. 

“(The forms) are all there for a reason,” Hunt said. “We certainly don’t look down on anyone for having to use them.”

Hunt said there are a lot of resources available through the Associated Students of Oregon State University and the Dean of Students to help provide support to students in processing  these petitions. 

“One thing people don’t usually know is that the Writing Center can help with creating the text that’s needed for justification for (the petitions),” Hunt said. 



When granted an Incomplete in a particular course, a student is given permission to complete missing assignments at a later date than the normal end of the term so they can still receive a grade without retaking. 

This request is perfect for students who may have fallen behind in a class for whatever reason; I’ve used this multiple times for a variety of issues including illness and mental health. Generally, you need to have completed at least half of the assignments in the class, but it’s ultimately up to the instructor. 

Incompletes generally need to be completed within one year of being granted, so if you’re granted an incomplete in winter term 2023, you’ll need to finish the work by the end of winter term 2024. Unlike some other petitions, this one is submitted directly to the instructor of the course.


Late Change of Registration:

If you missed the deadline to register for a class, to drop or withdraw from a class, or change a grading basis, or if you want to take more than 25 credits in a single term, this is the petition for you. 

While it’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card, the committee is generally pretty understanding. 

“This allows students flexibility if something happens to them during a term and they can’t complete, or if they just don’t think they did what they should’ve done — that’s a process that can help a lot of students,” Hunt said.

Hunt said he wants students to know the difference between a drop and a withdraw; a drop means the dropped class won’t appear on the transcript and the student won’t be charged for it but it does have a shorter deadline, while a withdraw will be charged at either 50% or 100% of tuition depending on the date of request and will appear on transcripts. 

I’ve personally used this a few times, in particular after a rough time dealing with COVID-19, mental health and family tragedies. I was able to petition to retroactively withdraw from the entire summer term and save my GPA.


Exam for Credit or Waiver:

According to Hunt, this petition is often for classes like Bacc Core requirements HHS 231 and Writing 121. Much like the title suggests, students can petition for class credit that will be applied to their record, or for a waiver that allows the student to skip the class altogether.

The petition can be submitted for most courses, but won’t work for some that require a lot of class participation. The class the student is petitioning for has to be available in the given term, and the instructor should be consulted early on so there isn’t any confusion. 


Audit a Course:

Audits are a great way to participate in a class without having to pay tuition or worry about grading. If a student is interested in auditing a course, they should talk to their advisor. Sometimes audits can’t be used in classes that are degree requirements, and audits don’t count toward degrees since they have no associated credits or grading basis.


Extra Credits:

In phase 2 of registration, students can petition to take more than the standard 19 credit limit. Students can also petition to take over 24 credits, but this is a different process since it would be an exception to academic regulations, according to Hunt. 


Late Registration Fee Removal:

“Sometimes students have to register late for reasons beyond their control,” Hunt said. “And sometimes that’s actually the university’s responsibility, something that didn’t happen that the student needed to happen to be able to register on time, so we do allow students to request that the late registration fee be removed.”

Justification for the fee removal does have to be provided in most cases though, according to Hunt, and they generally only allow this removal to happen once.   

Assuming there aren’t any issues, it generally takes around two to three weeks to either approve or deny a petition, as it has to go through multiple levels of approval, Hunt explained. He said the petitions have to be reviewed by the Academic Requirements Committee, although it is sometimes delegated to the Registrar.


Academic Fresh Start:

Hunt said students who struggled at a previous institution and want to effectively start over, this petition allows students to request parts of their record be removed from their GPA and credits. 


Biographical Change Request:

This is generally used for students who legally change their name; for instance, if you get married or have a legal name change in general. 

“It’s also possible for a student to request a change in first name as a ‘name in use,’” Hunt explained. “Then that name in use will be shown to most academic systems unless it’s really required that we need to have the legal name on some documentation. So the name in use wouldn’t show up on a transcript, a bill, or financial aid, but it would go out to Canvas and class lists, things like that.”


Enrollment Verification Request:

According to Hunt, this is often used to provide proof of enrollment for a variety of things that may require someone to be enrolled in school, such as remaining on a parent’s insurance policy. OSU has a partnership with Student’s Clearing House so students can get instant proof of enrollment instead of having to wait, but the Registrar can also provide more in-depth verifications. 

There are 19 other forms and petitions on the Registrar site for all kinds of things like reinstatement, extended leave, and more. I highly encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with them; it’s always important to know what options are available because life is unpredictable and being informed is something we should incorporate into all aspects of life.

“There’s a lot there and we’re always willing to answer questions,” Hunt said. “Students can email us at [email protected], they can come in, they can call us, and we’re willing to answer questions about what forms do what and how to work with them.”

Hunt also encouraged students to talk to their advisors about what petitions and forms are right for them, and to explore the website for more info. 

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