Preparing For The Inevitable: The Dropped Class

It happens to every student at least once.  The stress of the semester is at an all-time high, and you head to that one class: your most dreaded class.  Perhaps you just cannot deal with the professor’s teaching methods, or you are not grasping the content.  Either way, this class is simply the lone pimple on the otherwise clear face of your semester’s schedule, and you know it.  One more failed homework assignment or disagreement, and it’s decided.  You’re dropping.  Now, you just need to learn how to do it as smoothly and effectively as possible.

Always consult your advisor before making a drop.

These are the situations that your academic advisor is made to deal with.  They know all too well the struggle of new students to adjust to a college campus.  Ask them their thoughts on the situation and if they think a drop would be best for you.  If you are just stressed, they may be able to get you to see the light and stay in the class to give it some more time before actually dropping it.  So before you decide to drop a class, make an appointment to see your advisor because they seriously know what they are talking about.

Know your deadlines.

Universities give students a lot of leeway at the beginning of the semester.  At times, you have several weeks to add or drop a class with no penalties.  It is absolutely vital to know these dates because you want to make this transition with as little a dent to your academic record as possible.  If you drop too late in the semester, you will receive the equivalent of a failing grade.  However, if you drop at the appropriate deadline, it will just show up as a withdrawal.  The bottom line is: know the dates, and dropping will be much easier.

Find a replacement for the class.

Chances are that your class is a gen-ed that you absolutely need to get your degree.  Research other classes in that category that can also count for that particular credit.  This goes hand-in-hand with seeing your academic advisor because they will be able to give you a few options to replace the class.  Also, you want to make sure that you do not fall below your required number of credit hours in one semester.  Try to look into 8-week courses because those are mostly online and easy to pick up late in the semester.

Prepare yourself for round two and re-take it.

Of course, you cannot sweep all classes under the rug and never think about them again.  Sometimes, the class will be mandatory.  I know several friends who had to retake a certain calculus class because the first go was not their best.  In preparation for such occasions, take the pre-requisite for that class or study up on the material after dropping it.  Do what you can to prevent another bailout by either researching different professors, times, what have you.  Remember, you cannot always run away from your problems.

Above all, stay calm, think it out and act accordingly.

Good decisions are not made under a mountain of pressure.  Take a step back from all the action and think long and hard about your plan of action.  College is not meant to be scary.  It is fairly flexible and entirely what you make of it.  This is your education, and you alone choose what you think is best for your curriculum.  While it is best to avoid dropping a class altogether, you cannot prevent the inevitable at times. Do not feel bad about it.  Just embrace it.  As the British say, “Keep calm and carry on.”

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Tori Stukins

Tori Stukins

Tori Stukins is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Theatre. On campus, Tori can often be found working on various projects for Her Campus Illinois, acting in a production or reading. While at home, she enjoys working at her family’s restaurant or exploring with her friends.