Dropping a class is a struggle for many university students. Sometimes dropping a class is the right decision, and it will give you more room to focus on other courses. Before you drop a class, though, I would love for you to read this guide. We want this decision to leave us feeling less stressed, not more stressed. I feel this guide is the best course of action for anyone wanting to drop a class.
What To Think About Before You Drop A Class
Fortunately for me during my undergraduate college career, I never had to drop a class. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same fate. Sometimes dropping a class and retaking it later seems like a better thing to do, over completely failing a class and still having to retake it later. When you are considering dropping a class, there are some things you need to take into consideration.
Will Dropping This Class Effect My Scholarship?
First and foremost, I think you should definitely ask yourself this question. Often, you can take a class during the summer to make up for lost hours, but not all scholarships count hours taken during the summer. Make sure your scholarships will let you take a class to make up for the one you dropped. This is important if you need a certain amount of hours to keep a certain scholarship. If you decide to keep the class and fail, how will this affect your scholarship? And also, if you drop too late and end up with a WF like discussed in question three, how will this affect your scholarship?
Is Dropping This Class A Costly Decision?
For the most part, if you receive money back—you probably won’t receive that much. If you need your GPA to be spotless (meaning nothing lower than Bs), consider dropping. If you think you can manage at least a C or God help you D, consider staying, especially if your other classes are As or Bs. But if not, you may want to drop.
When Are The Drop Dates At My School?
You want to make sure you drop by the correct drop date. Try to get dropped by the correct date because some drops show up negatively on your transcript—while others don’t. Withdraw Pass/Withdraw Fail are critical words. Remember that. If you don’t drop by the correct withdrawal date, you could end up with a WF on your transcript, and that affects your transcript. Professors are likely to report what was going on in the grade book, especially if you haven't talked to them about dropping.
If you were failing when you withdrew, you could end up with a WF. Try to drop by the plain W withdrawal date so that it doesn’t possibly affect your transcript. If you missed the W withdrawal date, let your professors know why you want to drop and reason with them. Sometimes, if you have a good talk with your professor, you can get them to not put a WF on your transcript, but you have to talk with your professor for that to happen.
If You Decide That You Might Want To Drop That Class; Do These Things First
Even if dropping a class is the right decision, it's still a tough decision. Always talk with the right people before you decide to drop a class.
Talk With The Teacher
They may be able to give you some pointers about the class, help you with things you don’t understand, or give you words of encouragement. Remember that, for the most part, class grades are not determined during the first half of the year. Maybe too much of the class is decided during the last half of the year thanks to the finals and projects teachers like to give out last minute. The grade you have now could go up exponentially at the end of the year.
Talk With Your Advisor
Tell them that you are thinking of dropping a class, but you are not really sure if you want to. Tell them your story with all the details, and they will be able to give you solid advice. It’s an advisor's job to help students with these sorts of things, so don’t be afraid to drop by and ask for their advice.
Talk To Financial Aid
Alert them of the scholarships you have, and they will probably be able to tell you more about the requirements if you are not sure about them. They will definitely be able to answer the first question for you with extreme accuracy. Their entire job is to help you understand the financial aid you have.
Talk To Your Parents
Parents are amazing people filled with vast knowledge, and they should definitely know if you plan on dropping a class—because they might be the ones footing the bill when you need to retake the class.
Talk To A Friend/Me
I am always here to help you if you need it. Email me, and I will try and give you the best advice possible. Definitely talk to a friend at your college, especially if that friend is in your class. They may be able to give you study tips you never thought of before, and help you bring your grade up.
Important Course Dropping Definitions
Now that you have gone through all those steps, all the conversations and evaluation, and decide that you still want to drop this section is for you. I will give you a bit of lingo about different types of dropping and other words related to it. Then I will give you some information on what the dropping process is usually like.
- Drop/Add: During the first week of classes, there is usually a small window of opportunity where you can drop a class you don’t like and add another. This is for the class when you go to the first day and know it’s not what you bargained for, and you want to switch to another class as quickly as possible. You have really got to be hip to the knowledge of when the cut of date is. Drop/add is usually is sometime right after the first day of classes.
- Withdraw: This is just a plain withdraw. You don’t take the class anymore, and it just shows up as a W on your transcript. You don’t get the grade for the class, but it doesn’t affect your GPA.
- Withdraw Passing: Same terms as above you were passing when you withdrew on your transcript as WP.
- Withdraw Failing: This negatively affects your transcript. It means at the time you withdrew, and you were failing the class. Seen on your transcript as WF.
- Grade Forgiveness: At my school, if you receive a D, F, or WF in a class, you can forgive the grade in up to 4 courses. This is good if you slipped up and don’t want the grade to still be on your transcript. The way this works is that both grades will remain on your record, but the later and hopefully best one will be used to calculate your GPA. This is great if you made an oopsie one year, so you should check to see if they have this at your school as well.
How To Drop
To drop a class, you need to see your Academic Advisor. They will be able to give you all the information you need on dropping the class. They may make you do some quick talks again, but what’s the hurt in having a few more conversations about dropping? If you’ve made it this far, you probably are pretty dead set on dropping the class.
Notes About Dropping A Class:
- Be mindful about drop dates. Either ask your advisor about them or check out the school website. The academic calendar usually has the drop dates listed.
- Don’t just stop going to class and assume you're dropped. Some teachers will drop you immediately if you aren’t showing up to class, but some don’t notice it. Be sure to drop officially.
- I want you to think long and hard about your decision to drop a course. The act of dropping a class is not a decision to be taken lightly. Dropping classes left and right doesn’t do anything for your GPA. Dropping classes doesn’t do anything for the amount of money you have to spend on college. You don’t get all of your money back.