It is probably right about now the workload from your classes is starting to pile up. Stress is setting in. First quizzes and assignments are due. You got your first assignment graded and did not do so well. You think to yourself “I am in way over my head.” If you are having these thoughts you should start to evaluate if you are taking the class or classes you have seriously.
Are you giving the class the appropriate amount of time? It is recommended that for each unit/credit hour you are taking, 1-2 hours of study time should be dedicated to the subject per week. So if you are taking a 3 unit/credit hour course you should be minimally be studying 3-6 hours per week studying for just that class and so forth for the rest of your classes. If you are taking a full load (12-18 units/credit hours) you should be spending anywhere from 12-54 hours per week studying depending on the class and the difficulty of the class. Also, note more challenging courses like the sciences or math courses may require 3-4 hours per unit or credit hour.
Let’s say you are studying and giving the subject the attention it needs and you are still not grasping the material, it may be time to pay your professor a visit. Office hour visits can be scary at first, but have been proven to be beneficial. Meeting with your professor allows you to get a one- on-one personalized explanation of the material. You are free to ask questions, have the professor go further into depth, and explain where you may be getting lost. This meeting also allows the professor to let you know their expectations and for you to figure out where you may be getting lost. Meeting with the professor gives you the opportunity to get to know each other on a more personal level and for them to make a connection with you and not just be another name on their roster of students. Professors really appreciate students using office hours, because it shows you have drive, you are taking initiative, and care about your education. Professors often recount these visits when it comes to calculating grades. Those students who have made an earnest effort to better understand the material get much more favorable results when it comes to final grading than those that did not take the time to let the professor know they were struggling. Please note there is a fine line between seeking the professor for guidance on the material and seeking the professor as a tutor. Most professors are not there to tutor students; if you find a professor willing to tutor you UTILIZE them. Professors are there to show you the light, but it is your job to see your way through the tunnel. Once you meet with the professor, if you still need assistance attempt to find a classmate to study with, a study group, or a tutor on the subject.
Now you have met with the professor, received tutoring and it is just not working. You may want to consider dropping the class. There are several ways to drop a class, you should refer to your class catalog to find out the options you have. The class catalog can often found online, in the registrar’s office, or in the department’s main office. It is very important to look for dates, as these dates often dictate the type of drop you will be permitted to do. A general rule of thumb the earlier you drop the better. Your goal with dropping is to receive very little to no negative effect. You want to avoid a failing grade being reflected on your transcript. You also want to avoid your grade point average being affected. Lastly, if possible you want to avoid being mandated to retake the class later in your college career. Again, check with your school to see what options you have common options include: Withdrawal, Pass/Fail, Withdrawal Passing, Withdrawal Failing, and Instructor Withdrawal.
Remember when signing up for classes; be sure to take classes you genuinely intend to see through to the end. You do not want to be caught in a situation where you stuck with a class that you really did not want to be a part of. Make sure you are giving each class the attention it requires. Some classes like science may require more than the 1-2 recommended study hours per week. What worked in high school may not work in college switch up your studying style; see what works for each unique subject. Talk to your professor and let them know what is going on with you. Professors are people too and will understand if you get lost and are there to help you find your way. Lastly, if you think you have taken on too much consider a dropping the class, but first know dates and ramifications of dropping the class. Dropping classes can affect everything from your grade point average to financial aid.