December 8th, 2010
To drop or not to drop? It’s a question that has cofounded many students, especially those who attend colleges that limit the amount of drops they can have per semester and during their time in school. Stuff happens, and drops are made available for that reason. Whether you’re experiencing health or family issues, or you’re simply in over your head with school work, there’s always a way out.
Before proceeding with a knee-jerk move, you should first determine if it’s absolutely necessary. Typically, a student considers dropping a class because they’re dissatisfied with their grade and feel there’s no hope to improve it. If you feel that’s the case, confirm it by calculating the grades you’d need on future tests, quizzes and assignments in order to reach a satisfactory score. For example, if you’d be content with a C, and need to average a high B during the rest of the semester in order to achieve it, then a drop may not be necessary depending on the difficulty of the class content. If you think your current grade in a class will harm your GPA, confirm it by calculating it the final average — it may not be as bad as you think. Remember, you can always speak with professor when the going gets rough. They may be able to talk you off the ledge by outlining better ways to learn the content and thus succeed in their class.
Another important factor to consider is if you’d fall below full-time status after a drop. Student loans and scholarships often require minimum course loads, usually 12 hours, and may be revoked if you don’t abide by the guidelines. The last thing you’d need is to lose credit in all of your classes while attempting to strike one from the record.
Of course, dropping a class can slow your progress toward graduation and cost you more money. If you plan to drop a core class that has to be retaken, keep in mind that it may not be any easier the second time around, so you could be putting off the inevitable. And, chances are, you’ll still have to play for the class. Making a less-than-perfect score in a class isn’t the end of the world, and wasting a drop could prevent you from using one in the future when you truly need it. Know the amount your school allows and how many you have left. For example, some colleges allow only two per academic year and six to eight during a college career. If used efficiently, drops can be your get-out-of-jail-free card, enabling you to keep unsightly blemished off your record.