There are times when you may want to take a class at a college or University, yet you are not sure if that class is something that you want to go on your permanent record. Most colleges and Universities allow a student to sit in on a class and take the exams, without having those results appear on their transcript. There are some advantages and disadvantages to auditing a college course. Let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages of auditing a class.
It’s important to note that you can’t always expect to even be able to audit a class. There are often restrictions on the process of auditing. A popular class may not allow auditing, nor would a class that is very small. A class that relies on the use of supplies and/or equipment that may be limited is often not auditable, simply because the students who are taking the class “for real” need full access to the resources.
Before you make plans to audit a class, you need to find out if that option is even available for the course in question. You can find this out by going to the registration department, the department the class is offered through, or even the professor in some cases. Every college and University may have a different way of imparting this information to a potential auditing student. Ask around and you shouldn’t have a hard time finding out if you can audit the class you want.
There are disadvantages to auditing a class. In addition to simply not being able to take the class as an audit, the class won’t show up on your transcript. This means that you are going to be expected to attend all the lectures, take all the quizzes and exam, and in the end, it all counts for precisely nothing.
College courses can be demanding and difficult, so it’s important to thing hard about doing all the work for a class and not having it formally count. There are some circumstances where this may be a good option, but if you at all suspect that you may want the class to count in the future toward graduation or a degree, it’s better to take the class in a non-audit fashion.
Auditing a class can take attention away from your other work and classes. Although the work you do in an audited class doesn’t count, it can still be a distraction from the work you are doing in classes that do count. You have to be able to prioritize your time and focus on the work that you need to do. At the same time, blowing off the audit class makes it a complete waste of time. Striking a balance can be hard.
There is not perfect way to determine if auditing a class is a good idea for you. There are certainly disadvantages to auditing a class, but it can also be a good thing if you are just scouting out a topic and may want to pursue it in more detail later.