To drop or not to drop?

Picture of student stressed out.Dropping a class is a big decision…and a difficult one.  Your semester may be going smoothly and then suddenly – when you least expect it – life happens.

Students drop classes for many reasons…sometimes for reasons even beyond their control and sometimes when they don’t want to – but have to.  Though you may need to make some changes with your iSEP (education plan), your goal is still within your reach.

Before you drop a class, there are a few questions to ask yourself so that you make the best decision.  For example, how will dropping the class affect you or is there a possibility that you may be able to improve your grade before the end of the semester?  It may be helpful to meet with your professor or with a counselor to discuss your options, but, ultimately, the decision is one that you will make on your own.

And remember this: dropping a class is NOT the same as dropping out of college!

Below are some questions to think about…

Is there a way to improve your grade before the final exam?  Dropping a class 3 weeks into the semester is different than dropping a class 12 weeks into the semester.  Think about how many more weeks are left in the semester and sort out what projects, assignments, and exams you have remaining.  Sometimes there is still a possibility that – with hard work, extra study time, and focus – you can improve your grade and pass the class.

Be honest about why you are dropping your class.  Come on…do you really hate the class that much or is there another reason?  For example, are you dropping your class because you have an “F” grade going into the midterm?  If so, why do you have an “F” grade?  Early on in the semester, you probably made a promise to yourself that you will study, find a tutor, read every chapter, take notes, and meet with your instructor.  Where are you with those goals?  If you decide to withdraw from your class, take the time to reflect on your experience and think about how you plan to make positive changes the next time around.

Think about how the drop will affect you.  Dropping a class may have a domino effect on many things:  completing enough units for transfer, completing enough units for graduation, financial aid, health insurance, athletics, or employment.  For example, if this is your last semester at SCC before you plan to transfer, will dropping the 3-unit transferable course affect this?  Of course, even if you keep the class, the grade that you receive in the end will also be a factor with your admissions status!  Also, if you drop the class, how many more attempts will you have to repeat it especially with the new policy taking place?  (See the note below.)

IMPORTANT:  Students are only allowed to take a class three times.  Included in the three attempts will be grades of D’s and F’s, W’s, and NP’s.  And, be aware that all attempts from any Los Rios Community College will be counted.  This means that students will NOT be able to jump from one college to another to repeat courses multiple times!

Financial Aid  This is a tough one…many students want to maintain enrollment to keep their financial aid, but that is not enough. Aside from maintaining enrollment, you will also need to achieve good standing…that means earning a 2.00 GPA.  If you are unable to maintain good standing with your enrollment, you may be placed on probation with financial aid.

You’ve tried your best to no avail.  Sometimes it is hard to catch up, especially when you have missed multiple class meetings or haven’t had the money to buy the textbook.  If you have tried your hardest, but can’t seem to make progress in the class, it is up to you whether to drop or not.  Sometimes it helps to talk with your instructor before you make this decision.  If you want to avoid receiving a substandard grade on your transcript, then dropping the class is certainly an option.

Has the deadline passed?  There are different types of deadlines:  one deadline is to drop a class without any notation on your transcript and the second deadline is to drop a class with a “W” on your transcript.  Make sure to check the academic calendar every semester so that you are aware of important dates and deadlines.  Also, dropping a class doesn’t mean that you get a refund.  There is a form and deadline for that as well.

The balancing act is getting more challenging. – Dropping a class doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t have the knowledge or skills to pass it.  Sometimes there are other duties in life that become a priority such as your health, family, and financial situation.  Dropping or keeping a class can affect your level of stress.  It is important to maintain a balance with your school, work, and family obligations.