Using Your Drops
It may sound strange, but knowing when to give up can be an essential part of your college success.
I’m talking about being strategic with your course drops or withdrawals. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, college students are typically allowed to drop up to six courses throughout their college career.
When you drop or withdraw from a class, it means you do not have to complete the course that semester and it will not affect your GPA. However, if the course is a requirement for your degree plan, you’ll still need to take it during another semester. And depending on when you drop, you may still have to pay tuition for the course.
Do the Math
Drops can be a strategic tool, though, if your major is challenging or if you get yourself in an academic bind that you can’t recover from. Six drops may or may not sound like a lot, but in my opinion it’s more than enough.
Let’s say you are a good student and take 15 hours each semester. That’s five classes a semester and probably 10 a year. That comes out to 40 classes and then some over four years. So these drops can equal 18 hours, or more than a semester worth of classes that you would be getting out of, which in turn could ultimately affect your graduation date.
Talk it Out
Dropping classes can be good, even though it might make you feel a tad guilty. Just remember to consider a few things before you take this big step.
First, go talk to your professor! You should be doing this already, but letting them know that you might be dropping their class could be beneficial for both of you.
The professor might try to understand why you want to drop and may help you out a little bit more by explaining teaching tactics or trying to convey the information to you in a different format. Most professors wouldn’t want to see a student leave (unless you’re that kid who shows up for the sign-in sheet and hightails it out of the door after you get it).
Then, after talking to your professor, you might be more inclined to give the class another shot, or it could even solidify your decision of wanting out of that class. After all, it is better to drop the class and avoid failing it.
Think About the Big Picture
If you don’t see yourself as “ready enough” for that kind of a class because maybe it’s too difficult, you don’t understand the material well enough, or maybe the professor’s teaching tactics aren’t something you’re comfortable with, then I would say that’s a situation where you can use a drop slip.
My main focus is that you don’t want to drop a class just because you’re having an easy semester and you are riding this wave in. Consider where you are in your college education. Are you going to need to save those drops for tougher semesters that you have ahead of you?
To avoid needing to drop a class, be strategic. Before you register for classes, talk to your friends about the what you are going to take, find out if they have had those professors and maybe they can give you some pointers.
Another quick tip is don’t overload yourself with more classes than you can handle. Don’t be afraid to take 12 hours a semester if you need to focus on your GPA. Make sure poor planning isn’t the reason you need to use a drop.
You Get What You Get
Once you have used those six drops, that is all you will get. You won’t be able to get out of a class without penalty after that, so you always need to use these drops very wisely.
They can come in handy as long as you aren’t just being lazy. Don’t use a drop because you don’t want to put forth the amount of effort required for that class. If I were you, I would be trying to save my drops until my last two years in college. That’s when most of your classes will be in your major and that’s when the going gets tough, in my opinion.