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

What to do if you’re failing a class in college

College means different experiences for everyone, including new friends, a new environment . . . and new responsibilities. While most college students welcome the new responsibilities, they are too much for others to handle. A good example of this is the responsibilities that come along with daily classes. Everyone will tell you, Once you get to college, there will be no one watching over your back about your school work. This is the truth.

By the time you reach college, you are expected to be able to manage your school schedule and your life with little to no help from anyone. This can be quite startling for someone who is away from home for the first time. No longer do you have your parents guiding your every move or school administration alerting you when your performance is not up to par. So what do you do when you realize you are failing a course, especially one in your prospective major?

Don’t give up! The last thing you want to do is accept a grade, especially a failing grade, without a fight. Your first step should be to determine what caused you to receive the grade. Was it low test scores, classroom performance, or your classroom attendance? Maybe you need to cut down on your extracurricular activities. Once you have established the reason for the bad grade, schedule an office visit with your professor. Be sure you are prepared for the visit with your previous grades and a plan to raise your grade. During your visit, inquire about any extra credit work that you may be able to do to increase your grade. Extra credit work may include research papers, a project or serving as a tutor for another student. If extra credit work is not available, ask your professor of other ways that you may increase your grade. You should reassure your professor that you are serious about your education and will do what it takes to increase your grade.

Move to the head of the class. If you sit in the back of the class, you need to take the initiative and sit at the front of the class. This will demonstrate to your professor that you are serious about moving in the right direction. Analyze your note taking procedures and change them if you think it has anything to do with your failing performance. Write down everything your teacher says and highlight important information in your textbooks and notes. This would be any information discussed in the classroom. Be an active participant in the class by contributing to class discussions and activities. Class participation is reassurance for you that you understand what is being taught.

Make a friend. . . or two. Join a study group with other students from the class. You may find that others are also struggling with the work and together you can come up with ways to overcome the barriers that may be the source of your failing grades. Become acquainted with someone that is excelling in the class and request that you arrange a study or tutoring session. You may better understand the work if it is explained to you by a peer.

Again, don’t give up. If this is your first year of college, don’t be hard on yourself. College brings on new challenges and prepares you for the academic, social and professional paths in life. When working towards achieving any goal, you will experience up and downs. Take the initiative to learn from your failures and turn them into accomplishments. If you find that you continue to perform below average in certain classes, reflect and reevaluate whether you have made the choice of major or college that is best for you.