Quit While You’re Ahead: Knowing When to Drop that Class.

Dropping a class is something, often ominously, mentioned at the beginning of the semester in every class. The drop date is bolded on the calendar, and more often than not, the teacher will go through the steps necessary to drop the class, at least in vague terms, if not going through the process specifically.

To me, the good student, this is something that is often ignored, or that serves as a reminder to keep up my work in that class to pass (in the case of a really difficult class). It was never something that I had to really consider, that is, until I took economics last semester.

I knew coming in that it would be a difficult class. I had heard from both friends and teachers that it would be hard, and, on top of that, math had never been my strong suit. And yet, here I was, 9:30 in the morning, starting Economics. Curse those required classes, I thought.  My teacher, starting class, reviewed the usual policies; study every day, homework dates, tests, drop dates.

I knew that it would be difficult, but I still didn’t take it terribly seriously. I was a senior, after all, and a fairly smart one at that. I wasn’t expecting an A in the class, but I felt sure that I could pass it without problem.

Long story short, I was in for an unpleasant surprise, culminating in my first ever early warning notice.  I had two options; 1) drop the class and take it again my final semester, or 2) suffer through the last couple of weeks and try to eke out a passing grade.  After much deliberation, grade calculation, and phone calls with my parents, I chose the latter.

I don’t regret the choice, but neither am I proud of it.  As it turns out, either my projected grade was off, or I did not do as well on my final as I had hoped. The end result? A ‘D.’ so, how do you know if dropping a class is a good idea?

  • Do drop the class if: It’s a last resort, but if you know that you’re not going to pass the class, it’s your best bet. Additionally, it’s a GPA saver. A “w” is better than an “F” on your transcript, believe it or not.  Dropping a class. Additionally, you’ll be most likely taking that class again, and it will give you a chance to get  better grade, or at least  a heads up on what you will be doing in that class.

Drop dates are designed that they are far enough into the semester that you should have the majority of your grades for the class done to have a pretty good guess of what your grade is going to look like, barring any major shifts.  If it’s bad, then that is a good sign that dropping the class is a good idea.

  • Don’t drop the class if: It depends a lot on your schedule as well. In my case, I wouldn’t have been able to fit econ in the upcoming semester unless I went over my credit limit, or did not get credit for my internship. Either way, the result was undesirable, and was a huge factor into whether or not I did drop the class.

Dropping a class is a huge decision, and not one that should be taken lightly. However, sometimes it is necessary, and it is important to know when it is a worthwhile investment, and when it is not.

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Stefanie Hughes

Stefanie Hughes

Stefanie Hughes is a senior at Benedictine University, with a double major in Writing & Publishing and Theology. She spends her free time working on Benedictine’s newspaper, The Candor, as well as being a member of Daughters of Isabella, Students for Life, and helping around University Ministry. Any other extra time is filled with reading, writing, cooking, video editing, biking or walking around the lake.