What to do if You’re Failing a College Class

If you’re failing a class in college, what you need to do depends on whether the class in an elective or unit of a required academic course. You must weigh each one on its importance to your plans for earning a degree.

Elective courses often have very little impact on your serious path of education, and some students sign up for them because they’re curious or are looking to earn some easy credits to boost their grade point averages. If you’re failing an elective course, and the semester is not half over, you must decide whether it’s worthwhile to continue it. If you quit, make sure it will not show up as a low grade on your record.

If the easy elective will have a negative effect on your record, and you want to complete the class successfully, you have several options. One is to bear down and study harder to make an effort to improve your grade. Another option is worth pursuing if there’s still semester time for you to make a significant improvement.

Ask for a conference with the course instructor. Use the meeting to find out what you’re doing wrong, and how you can make the effort to improve your performance and, ultimately, your grade. Look at your situation with total honesty. Although the elective course may be relatively unimportant, is your failure in that class a sign of laziness or neglect, and you’re susceptible to flunking out on required courses, too?

If the required course you’re in danger of flunking is integral to earning your degree, take very definite steps early in the semester to change the situation. Seriously consider your on-campus life and general attitude about your total college experiences.

Take stock of what’s happening. Talk to your parents and advisers about the current problem and it’s implications. Are you more into partying than you are into studying? Are you aware of the consequences of flunking any course? Are you messing up logical and definite plans for completing your degree requirements? Will you then to be unqualified to earn a living in your chosen field of work when your college years are over?

If you’re failing a required course, think of it as an emergency that needs your immediate action. Make sure there’s still time in the semester to stop the downward spiral to failure. First, consider reasons why you’re flunking. Do you need to spend more time to study and turn in better work? Are your extra-curricular activities taking precedence over your studies? Check with parents and advisers for suggestions on how your can improve your performance, especially with the degree-related subjects.

Make an appointment with the instructor and ask for advice on how to turn everything around. If you believe you deserve a better grade, don’t respond with anger and resentment. Ask with sincerity how you can change what you’re doing that is leading to potential failure. Consider volunteering for extra studies, reports or essays, if you believe that could help.

Of course, if you’re aware of the requirements and are doing what is necessary in a class, you shouldn’t have to worry about failure. From the first day onward in each course, you should be keenly aware of your attitude and actual performance for succeeding. When you become aware of the earliest clues that you could possibly flunk, launch your personal campaign to turn losing into winning.