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Education News and Views: Questions to Consider Before Dropping a College Class

There are many different reasons why a college student might
consider dropping a class. Some people might think that any college student who
drops a class is a total slacker, but there are academic and personal reasons
why it might be a good idea. The important thing is to be aware of all of the
restrictions and repercussions before you drop, so that you can make a wise,
informed decision. Here are some things to consider before dropping that
dreaded class:

What is your
motivation?

If you are in week one of an elective course that seems like a total yawn and
you could easily gain entry into a different class, then you may want to
consider it. If you tested into the class but already feel way over your head
in week one or two, check into taking a lower-level class to boost your skills
and confidence. Then when you move onto the dropped class, you will be ready
for it. If you just don’t like the class or professor, you can look into your
options, but keep in mind that if the class is required and it is too late to
get into a different section, you may be pushing back your graduation date.
Sometimes it’s worth it, but sometimes in life, you just have to stick it out.

Have you talked to
the professor?

Some students freak out when they see their first score on a test or
paper. They think that they are never going to pass the class, so they just
drop without ever talking to the professor. This is unwise. The professor can
offer you more information about why your score was low so that you can make an
informed decision about staying in the course or not.If you are having a
difficult time understanding the material or are not doing well in the class,
talk to your professor before you drop. They may be able to clarify the issue
so that you can continue. Most professors are happy to help out students who
really want to learn, and you may find that you aren’t doing as poorly as you
think you are. This is especially important if the class is required for your
major.

When are the drop
dates?

It never ceases to amaze me when students who are considering dropping
a class have no idea about the university’s drop dates. If the class seems like
a poor match for you and your skills, find out what the dates are for getting a
full refund. If it is too late to get one, that might help you decide to stick
it out and work harder or get a tutor. Other times, you may decide that it
isn’t worth it and you will take a partial refund just to escape. Being
knowledgeable about the drop dates can assist you in making a sensible
decision.

How will it impact
your financial aid, scholarship and residency?

It is your responsibility as the student to check into any
repercussions dropping a class can have on your financial
aid, scholarships
and residency. Is it going to be worth dropping that class if you fall below full-time
and have to move out of your residence hall? Probably not. Will you have to pay
back some of the financial aid if you drop below a certain number of credits?
Or, will you lose your scholarship if you don’t stay in the class? Take the
time to learn about how all of this could be impacted before you rashly drop a
class.

How much of the
semester is left?

If you are considering dropping a class because of a family emergency
or personal long-term illness, first find out if your university offers
students an “incomplete” as a grade. This allows the student to deal with the
emergency issue and then come back to finish the course at a later time. Many
students don’t realize that this is usually an option. If you think this might
work for you, make sure that you fully understand the requirements. You
typically will have to have already completed a certain percentage of the class/assignments
with a certain grade and you will need to finish the class within a certain
time period. You will also need to discuss this option with the instructor to
ensure that they are on board with the idea and to have them make sure you meet
all of the requirements.

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