What to do if You’re Failing a Class in College

Almost everyone who’s been in college, even if you are an honor student, has faced a class that challenges you. You are afraid that you’re going to fail a class and are at a lost as to how to fix the situation. Most students’ first inclination is dropping the class and retaking it or taking a comparable class or completing the class because you have to maintain a certain number of credits or are afraid of getting a “W.” Although a “W” won’t necessarily work against you, there are several steps that you can take before giving up.

The first step to take if you’re failing a class is reevaluating your study program and your efforts in the class. Time management is the biggest impediment to success in class. Think about how much time you actually spend studying for the class in question. Create a revised schedule and follow it for a week. If the new schedule increases your classroom success, follow it until the end of the semester.

Talk to your professor about the class. Students often are afraid to talk to their professors out of fear or embarrassment. Contrary to popular belief, most professors don’t find pleasure in failing students. They are not out to get you. Professors want students to approach them if the students are having problems with the class. If enough students are having problems in class, professors are willing to modify the way they approach the material or change the way they administer exams.

Once you speak to your professor, form a study group with other classmates. Like the old saying, “Two heads are better than one,” students listening to the same lecture will pick up different details. If you and fellow classmates work together, you provide support and help one another with troubling concepts in class. Schedule a few times a week when everyone can get together at a designated location. You all can meet in a dorm, study rooms in the campus library, or coffee shops or restaurants.

Get a tutor. Most college offer free on-campus tutoring in general education courses like English, math, science and history. Some tutoring facility open as early as 8 a.m. and stay open until midnight. If you have a learning disability or are a student athlete, you may qualify for individual specialized tutoring centers on campus. If the course you are failing is advances or specialized, find out if the department offers tutoring or see if you can hire someone. Many students get extra money by tutoring.

There are several options to consider if you are failing a class. Before dropping a class or retaking it, consider getting help available to you in the classroom or on the college campus. Several people are ready to help you succeed in your academic endeavor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help for fear or embarrassment. Giving up should not be your first option.