Should I drop that class? How do I decide?
Sometimes, even after you have a study group or a tutor and have been working with the professor, the situation just doesn’t get better. There are many reasons (some good, some not so good) that you might consider dropping a class:
- Change of direction - “I no longer need this class anyway.”
- Poor performance - “Even with help, I just don’t get it.”
- Fear - “I’m in over my head. There’s no way I’ll pass.”
- Outside influence - “My friends/roommate/parents/team tell me to drop."
- Perfectionism - “I’m not going to get an “A,” so I’ll drop this class.”
- Too busy - “I’m doing too much. I don’t have time for this class.”
- Lack of effort - “I just never got motivated. Now I’m in trouble.”
- Over confidence - “I never should have signed up for 17/19/20 credits.”
- Bailout - “I’ll just take this in the summer, or next year.”
- Doom - “It’s too late to save the situation, I’ll just drop.”
- Strategy - “Dropping this class will help me catch up in my other classes."
Potential consequences for dropping a class and reducing your credit load:
- Delay graduation - lack of credits or specific requirement needed
- Sequencing - you can’t take the next class in sequence
- Enrollment status - your load affects loans and financial aid
- Academic progress - a minimum credit number are needed each year for aid
- Dependent status - your load affects your parent's tax situation
- Health insurance - a parental health policy may require full-time status
- Eligibility - credit load limits apply to athletic eligibility
How can I get help with this complex decision? Where can I gather information?
- Financial Aid Office: Determine effect of any load under full-time (13 credits)
- Coach: Check for athletic eligibility of new credit load.
- Syllabus: Determine what assignments remain and what points are left to gain.
- Professor: Get an accurate estimation of where you stand.
- Ask about if you stay at the same level, improve some or decline some.
- Ask what else you can do to improve your situation.
- Ask about the consequences of dropping the course.
- Calculation: See “Improving my CPA” to understand the effect of different solutions.
- Family: You may want their input.
- Internet: Check out summer courses at other schools—maybe take the course there.
- Advisor: Take all this information, and your thoughts about it, to your advisor.
- Your advisor will help you gain perspective on your decision.
- Consider remaining in the class and repeating it later.
- Registrar: General help, or appt with Sue Deel, for what other students have done.
- Obtain a drop/add form from the Registrar.
- Fill it out completely—include section numbers and any labs.
- Talk to your advisor and obtain their signature (professor doesn’t sign).
- Return the form to the Registrar by the stated drop deadline.
- This is your responsibility; your advisor will not do it for you.
- Talk to your professor:
- It’s okay (and polite) to leave a note, an email or stop by to warn your professor you have dropped the class. They may worry about your absence, since a drop form can take up to a week to reach them.
- Realize classes dropped by the deadline disappear off your record entirely, but a low credit term tells its own story to alert viewers.
- Obtain the petition form (purple) from the Registrar and complete it.
- You should consult with your advisor for appropriate strategies.
Remember, the final decision is yours. As educators, we often want you to stick it out, in the hope of eventual triumph. Only you can really understand your situation, and take responsibility for your choices and actions.
How to “drop” a class:
If you miss the drop deadline, you must petition to drop:
Since Alma College has a very generous drop policy (until very late in the term), it will take unusual circumstances to be granted after the deadline. Possible reasons for a late drop include unusual/serious health problems, or lack of a major assessment grade in time for drop date.
Note that continued poor performance, failure to act promptly, or dropping late to preserve your grade point is considered insufficient reason for the Academic Standards Subcommittee on Petitions to grant an exception to College policy. You will be notified of the committee’s decision. Any drops granted by petition are permanently marked by a “W” on your transcript.