Nerdify Tips: How to Decide Whether You Should Drop a Class

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This time Nerdify decided to speak up on a kinda tuff theme: a decision to drop a class.

When a college student feels like dropping a class, the moment comes with an endless stream of questions, apprehension, uncertainty, and stress. It does not matter whether you have registered for a class that was not exactly what you have expected or you cannot cope with a part-time job and doing well in each class, – you still want to know when (and if!) a decision to drop the class has to be made. The choice is never an easy one because it may feel like you have given up your future and failed. No, it is not the case and it does not mean that you are not smart enough! On the contrary, it is an important decision that a student can make due to a variety of reasons. The question is in how will it affect the graduation schedule, financial aid, and your life in general.

Dropping a Class or Withdrawing?  

Before we dive into the depth of decisions and the reasons, let us learn the difference between dropping the class and withdrawing, which is not always the same! The difference is that the majority of colleges and universities have a clear policy, which allows for two week period to add or drop the class at the start of each semester. It is a period that allows you to schedule your classes and carry out the changes without a penalty. If you choose to drop the class during this particular period, the class will not appear on your official transcript list. In other words, there will be no sign of your enrollment anywhere. However, there is one thing to keep in mind that relates to financial aid program! If the class is dropped, there is a return of funds policy that may come in power in most cases. Now when the two weeks period is over, your action is defined as withdrawal, which is an entirely different matter! To cut the long story short – your official transcript list will have a “W” mark next to the class you have withdrawn from.  

Some Things to Be Aware Of:

If you choose to withdraw from the class or drop it, as most students still refer to the practice, you should be aware of the following:

  • It is possible that you will be charged for tuition fees in certain conditions, so make sure to review the terms and conditions before you make a final decision.
  • Keep an eye for specific dates and the deadlines that you have to follow! Make sure that your schedule with the other classes is not affected by the change.
  • Your overall progress may be affected in case you do not have a sufficient amount of study hours.
  • While you will have a “W” on your graduation transcript if you withdraw from the class, a “W” grade in any class dropped will NOT affect your GPA!
  • In order to receive a financial aid from your college or university, you have to complete at least 70% of your classes taken successfully. It means that F or W is defined as unsuccessful, unlike D or anything better!
  • You need at least twelve credit hours to be considered a full-time student. Do not ever drop below 12 credit hours, so you do not find yourself in a situation without insurance and financial aid!
  • Check with your college or university about special class dropping policy in terms of your progress through the semester and other rules that may be applicable!

Before You Drop The Class:

Before you decide to drop the class and implement changes to your life and professional career, always talk to your college advisor first! One of the crucial reasons to do so is that they may be aware of specific implications and future challenges that you may not even know about! As you talk to the advisor, make sure that you ask these questions to help both of you to decide what to do and see whether it is right or wrong:

  • Will dropping of this particular class affect my graduation date and an overall academic schedule?
  • Are we dealing with a prerequisite course that a student can only take once a year?
  • Is this particular class necessary for graduation this year? In other words, if you already two semesters close to graduation date, your decision may affect the day.
  • Will dropping of this class affect my financial aid support and the scholarship?
  • Will I have fewer credits in total? If so, how will it affect my financial state and is there a funds return policy?
  • Will dropping a class influence my full-time student status? It is always better to ask because it affects your applicability for financial student aid and a scholarship among other things your college or a university may offer!

Now it is only you who can decide whether you should drop a class or not, therefore, ask yourself these three simple questions:

  • Why do I want to drop the class and what is the true reason for that?
  • Can I settle down the issue without dropping?
  • What kind of help and what changes do I need to continue with the class?

While it is hardly possible to list all the reasons that may be suitable or not suitable for dropping the class, it is most likely because the class seems to be “too difficult” or you “have to work and just cannot manage it all”. No matter what your particular case is, let us deal with the aforementioned situations and see what can be done.

You are trapped in a situation when you have to work way too much to keep yourself going or to earn a little extra. The first case is a reason to ask for additional financial aid if you are determined to do your best academically, but financial struggles get in the way. Now the second case is not really worth ruining your studies because it is much wiser to avoid dropping the class and focus on your long-term goals instead of treating yourself with additional earnings. Ask yourself about what matters more to you, but remember that it is your life and that studying well always rewards you in the future!

Now the second case is when the class seems to be too difficult or not what you have expected it to be. If it is the first case and things seem unclear to you, remember that dropping a class is not the best solution since you can ask your university tutor or a college professor for help. A bit of a guidance and a list of your concerns addressed may help you to receive that missing link to feel better about the class and see all the benefits. Challenge yourself and try to learn more about the class while you can! Still, if the class is really not what you thought it would be, talk to your academic advisor to weigh in all the pros and cons, read of the possible consequences, and do what you feel is best!

Several Valid Reasons to Drop The Class:

  • You need to drop the class in order to maintain your scholarship.
  • You do not have sufficient time to complete the class due to personal circumstances.
  • Dropping the class will not damage your overall academic progress.
  • You have a sufficient amount of credit hours and you can safely switch the class and make changes, while there is a “two weeks” period.
  • You are dealing with a military duty.
  • Adding a different class will be more beneficial to you!

Do not forget that when you struggle with a particular class, there are still special rescue courses that usually start in the middle of a semester! However, if you have to deal with an illness or major changes in your life, the best thing you can do is withdraw from all classes entirely. Likewise, with the military duty, you can apply for special programs that meet your situation and allow you to receive all the necessary credits.

Even if you decide to drop the class and have already talked to your college or university advisor, always sign up for the rescue class and give it one more chance! Trust Nerdify, talking things out always helps to see the situation clearer and do what’s best for you!