Dropping a Class in College: Is It Really a Big Deal?

Last updated on November 27, 2017

With autumn term nearly half over (where does the time go?), you may have come to realise you’ve taken on too much or that a certain subject just isn’t for you. Maybe you’ve had undermining circumstances that has delayed homework or perhaps your test scores could have been better. Either way the grade you want to achieve doesn’t appear as if it’s going to happen. In fact, should you pass the class, the resulting score might drastically damage your GPA. What options do you have?

Option 1

Do you really believe you’ve done as poorly as you think? Make an appointment to see your professor/TA (Teaching Assistant). Ask them how you’re doing, and if the answer isn’t great ask for help on how to improve your performance. Sometimes getting some face time is what you need to get on track. It also shows your professor you’re interested in the class and want to do well. It’s always worth asking if there are extra credit assignments too. Every little bit helps.

Option 2

Join a study group. Ask others in your lecture if they want to make up a study group for the courses. Schedule a night to go over notes, proofread each other’s essay’s or share textbooks and answer each other’s questions (if you can-if not, try to find the answer!) Maybe a subject was clear to you but wasn’t to someone else and vice versa. It’s a win-win situation for everybody. It might also be possible for tutoring help as well if it’s provided from the university. Ask an advisor from the department for a list of tutors. You might be required to pay for their time, or perhaps they have one night a week where they offer free assistance.

Option 3

If you’ve tried everything else and you still think you won’t be achieving the grade you want-make an appointment to see your advisor. Tell them how the course is going, ask them for advice as to if you should drop the class or not. It’s a serious thing. On one hand, if you know you’re going to receive a poor grade (or worse, a fail), dropping the class will save your GPA from plummeting. On the other, you’ve spent how many weeks of time, money and effort, and you won’t receive the credits should you at least gain a pass in the class. How will you make up the lost credits? It might mean taking on a bigger workload next quarter or some weeks during summer term. Which equals more time, and more money to make up for what was lost if the course is dropped. Make a schedule for future terms with your advisor, so that if you should drop the class you’ll be able to stay on track and prevent it from happening again.

Bottom line

Dropping a class is serious business. Most universities have a deadline, and it’s usually a month before final exams. If you miss the ‘Drop Deadline’ you will have to continue the course or withdraw and receive an ‘Incomplete’ on your official transcripts. Universities want you to succeed, but sometimes challenges come along that cause you to rethink what you want to achieve this term. Make use of your advisor, that’s what they are there for. There may be other opportunities that can equal success in the course, but ultimately only you can choose which choice is the right decision for you and your academic career.


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