It happens. You take a class that stinks or that you’re not prepared for academically. Your professor is awful or you just can’t make yourself get up for an 8 o’clock class. There are a lot of reasons for wanting to call it quits. Consider these 5 things before dropping a class:
Have You Checked with Your Advisor?
You should always consult your academic advisor before pulling the trigger and hitting “drop”. Are you in a program that requires you to stay in the course for that specific semester? Is the icky class offered every semester or do you run the risk of dropping it to find out that you have to wait another calendar year before it’s scheduled again? Is the class a prerequisite or co-requisite course that has to be taken at a specific point in your degree plan? The answers may all be “No” but it’s best to hear that from someone that specializes in your field of study and knows the ins and outs of your college major requirements.
It’s better to check before so that you know you won’t be surprised later by having to take an extra semester to complete all of your requirements. That would really suck.
Have You Checked with Financial Aid?
You might think you’re ok to drop that Chem course because your roommate tells you it won’t affect your financial aid. The problem is your roommate (though filled with the best intentions) may be devastatingly wrong. These days, students are coming to college with more complex financial aid plans than ever before. There are usually grants, loans, scholarships, etc. that make up part or all of your financial package. It can get really confusing trying to keep up what the restrictions and requirements are for each.
Before dropping that course, go to your financial aid office and have someone pull up your personalized account package. Make sure that dropping the course won’t negatively impact your ability to continue receiving all of your financial aid. Nobody likes going to the Financial Aid office! Sure, the line is long and you’re going to have to wait a while. It’s better to wait in line a while then to find out you’ve dropped below the minimum hours and can kiss your 20K in expected scholarship money goodbye.
Can I Save This Train Wreck?
There are times when you have to cut bait. Make sure this is one of those times. Before freaking out that you can’t make a decent grade and dropping the class altogether, seriously consider how much time is left in the semester and how many available points are left to be earned. While you might feel awful and panicked because you flunked YOUR FIRST TEST EVER, if it’s only worth 20 % of your grade, you might not be in as bad a shape as you think.
Professors are people. Even the mean ones. Go to your professor and talk with them if you are having trouble in a class. They might be able to offer you a way to improve your grade or have ideas on how to get extra help and pull through. It’s not a wise idea to pay for classes that you don’t get any credit for. That’s exactly what you are doing if you drop past the date to receive a reimbursement. It’s like taking a Lit course that costs $700 worth 0 hours! No one would do that. Make sure there is no way to salvage the grade before throwing in the towel.
Consider the Money, Time & Energy
Speaking of wasting time and money…exactly how much have you devoted to the class you are wanting to drop? You might hate dragging yourself to class every other day, but you have already devoted a lot of time and energy into the course. Think about your total effort before dropping a class.
Do you just not like the material or the instructor? Is it really so bad that you are willing to overlook how much you have invested? If you’re only a few weeks from the end of these semester, it might be more beneficial to suck it up and stay in rather then to drop it late and receive no credit. Sometimes students get overwhelmed with the amount of work left to complete and turn in. You should also consider how much you have already been able to accomplish in the class.
If it is a required course for your degree, ask yourself it is worth taking the same boring material again. The only thing worse than sitting through Physics might be sitting through it for a semester and a half when you could just push through the last few weeks and be done with it once and for all.
What About Off Schedule?
You’ve carefully considered and still believe that dropping is in your best interest? There are some things you can do to maintain your academic status for financial aid and completion reasons. Many colleges today offer off-schedule courses that only meet for a portion of the regular semester. Many times they are classes offered during the first half or second half of a regular semester.
If you must maintain 15 hours but you just can’t stand World Civ for one more minute, check to make sure you can’t drop World Civ and pick up another half semester/off schedule course. This will keep your academic course load at 15 hours. You’ll still end up paying for the extra class. However, it might be worth it to preserve your GPA and keep from losing your federal financial aid package or scholarship.
Have you ever dropped a college course and then regretted it? I did, only to find out that it was only offered in the Fall semesters so I had to wait the calendar year to take it again? Tell me your story…inquiring chicken minds want to know!