To Drop or Not to Drop

February is a great time to review your current load.  You have been to class, taken a look the syllabus, and possibly completed an assignment or had a quiz.  Now is time to reflect on your progress in your currently enrolled classes.  If you think that the material may be too much for you to absorb, if you think you have taken on too much, or if you think the class load will hinder your academic success, now is the time to consider dropping a class. The best scenario is to drop the class without it having a negative effect on your transcript. You want to make decisions that will not affect your chance to graduate on time or to graduate with a higher grade point average.

Dropping a class is all about timing.  The registrar’s office will have specific dates that you must adhere to in order to successfully drop a class.  Sometimes the steps are quite easy and will simply allow you to just drop the class.  In other classes you may have to obtain a signature from the professor, an advisor, or even the dean.  The second factor to consider is how “the drop” will appear on your transcript.  Your preference is for “the drop” not to appear on your transcript at all; this of course is the best case scenario and will be the earliest deadline.  The later the deadline is in the semester, the more detrimental it will be toward your grade point average.

Dropping a class is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is a mature decision that almost all students have to face at one point in their academic career.  Dropping a class should also not be a way to avoid hard work.  As you progress through your academic program your courses are designed to become more challenging and pushing your complex thinking to the next level.  Shying away from hard work or a more challenging professor will not prepare you for your professional field or life after college.  Consider the course is only 12-16 weeks and in the end you will benefit the most from it.  So before dropping a class consider your true intentions behind dropping the class.  Meet with your advisor and discuss the class and the ramifications of dropping the class. Consider getting a tutor for the class or seeing if the professor offers one-on-one sessions or has any other resources to help you be successful.  If you find that the class is just too much for your current load, you can also consider retaking the class next year or find a suitable replacement.

Dropping classes is a great option to have as a student, but before dropping classes ensure that is the best solution in the long run.  Making a quick decision should not have long lasting effects on your academic career.  Consult your advisor, exhaust all of your possibilities, and make the best decision.

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