10 Must-Do’s When You’re Failing A College Class

10 Must-Do’s When You’re Failing A College Class

Is it okay to fail a college class? Learn how to deal with failing a college class so it never happens again!

Life sometimes gets the better of us, and unfortunate circumstances can cause you to do less than your best at college.

If this happens and you fail a college class, you might be completely lost as to what to do next.

Your grades are important for so many different reasons, and you do need to try your best to keep your grades up.

However, when encountering a tough course or facing difficult personal challenges, you might find yourself failing a class, or have already failed.

To pick yourself up and make the most of the situation, here is what to do when you are about to fail (or already have) a college class.

Steps To Take If You’re Failing A College Class

Before dropping the class or withdrawing from a course, there are some other options available to you to help you succeed on campus.

Make the most of what is on offer both on and off-campus, and try your best to make up for the failed class, or salvage the class if you can.

1. Don’t Stop Showing Up

It is completely possible to be failing a college class because of attendance.

Sometimes we think that because we have the syllabus and the textbook, we can study and just show up for the final.

Although that may be the case for some, it’s not the case for most!

Always show up to you college classes, even if you don’t feel like it.

Woody Allen famously said “80 percent of success in life is just showing up.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Especially if you start failing a class, this is not the time to stop showing up.

Also, some professors make attending class mandatory and can fail or drop your grade if you aren’t in attendance.

Plus, if you are right on the line between a D and a C, but have consistently been showing up and putting in the effort, your professor is much more keen on granting you the extra mark or two to achieve a passing grade.

Versus, if he’s never seen your face and you’re just a name in a list of a hundred students, you might get stuck with your D+.

2. Approach your professor

If you have been attending classes consistently but still struggling with the course your first step should be to contact your professor and to make an appointment to talk to them during office hours.

If still early on in the semester, the professor might be able to help you get a better grip on the course and make a better grade.

You need to take the leap and create a student-professor relationship.

This puts you in a better position to ask for and receive help, and be open to the different resources available to you.

The professor will also be able to make better-educated recommendations as to what you can do and might be able to point you in the right direction to academic resources which could help struggling students.

Get into the habit of approaching your professors during office hours even when you have high marks.

This will put you at an advantage in all your classes.

3. Understand what you need to do

Once you have made an appointment to chat with your professor, you need to ask them to help you better understand what it is you need to do, what your next step might be.

The professor might give you different assignments to complete to pick up your grade or give you a different course to complete to make up for the failed grade.

Bring any and all questions you had about the class. A topic you didn’t understand.

Don’t be shy and ask as many questions as you can!

4. Make use of student services

Most colleges have a plethora of resources available to students, you just need to ask around.

Chat to your advisor, professors, and fellow students to find out the different resources available to you in your college. 

Whether it be tutoring or counseling, you should be able to find the help you need on campus or at least be lead in the right direction.

5. Get in touch with your academic advisor

Your academic advisor is in a good position to advocate for you and help you formulate a long-term plan to reach your goals.

They are also able to act on your behalf and help you make the right decisions for your course.

You might also be able to get in touch with an academic coach who will help you with study strategies and other skills.

6. Look for a tutor

Never be too proud to admit that you need a tutor, they are there for a reason.

You will most likely be able to find a tutor on campus through different student resource centers, but you can also look online.

Not only will a tutor help you understand and retain new information, but they will be able to monitor study habits and make sure you have a good understanding of the material you are working on.

7. Utilize online resources

There are so many different resources available online that could help you if you find yourself failing a class.

Academic sites, tutoring sites, and even YouTube can help with repetition, understanding, and researching new information.

There are so many online resources for students, from sites like Khan Academy to Quizlet that can help you ace your next exam.

8. Get in touch with other students

You are more than likely not alone, and you should be able to find students in the same boat as you.

Chat to the other students in your class and try and put together an informal study group. You can test each other on new material, revise notes together, and just form a good support system that really does make a difference.

Sometimes it really does help to have someone explain something to you in a different way, and being able to bounce ideas off of a group of peers might be exactly what you need to improve your grades.

9. Look for extra credit

Talk to your professor to see if there is any possibility of gaining extra credits.

This might be work that they assign you that can boost your grades, or they could even give you extra study material to work with.

Your professor will appreciate the initiative of working towards extra credit and will be more willing to help if you show that you are willing to do the work.

10. Stay positive

The most important thing is to stay positive. You have come this far, and you need to do your best to keep going.

Look for things that interest you in the class, and plan out your studying to have a more positive outlook on the course.

If you are able to make the class more interesting, then you will have an easier time getting yourself to study and retain the information.

Pay attention in class, ask questions, and get involved with projects, meetings, revision sessions, and anything else you can.

Immerse yourself in the course and keep a positive attitude!

The Consequences Of Failing A College Class

Failing a class in college obviously has its downsides, and it is not the outcome you would be hoping for.

Failing can sometimes be out of your control, and when it happens, you need to pick yourself up and do your best to carry on.

However, you do need to be aware that there might be consequences of failing a class, and you will need to address these issues in order to complete the course properly and to prevent any other problems from arising at a later stage.

Here is what failing might effect:

1. GPA 

Your grade point average, GPA, will be affected if you fail a class. 

Each grade you earn is assigned a value, and these values are added up and then divided by the number of classes you take. Failing a class, and receiving a 0, could have a huge impact on your GPA.

You might not be too concerned about your GPA if you are planning on entering the workforce once you graduate, but it is a disappointment, and an issue, for those who want to proceed to grad school.

2. Dismissal

Certain colleges are incredibly competitive, and a failure might be a concern for potential dismissal.

Some schools consider multiple fails to be grounds for dismissal, and they might want to open up your spot for someone who might be able to get better grades.

3. Retakes

You will need to have a look at your college policies regarding retakes.

You might be able to retake the class if it is one of your majors, but different colleges have limits to how many retakes you are given.

Also be mindful of the fact that while some colleges allow the new grade to replace the old ones, others combine the two grades for your final mark.

4. Financial Aid

How does failing a college class affect financial aid?

If you are studying on financial aid, a fail could be a huge risk. Different financial aids and loans have their own policies when it comes to failing a class.

If you fail a class, you might have to pay back the money provided for the course, or you might have the financial aid cut for the semester.

Scholarships are usually contingent on grades and academic achievement, and therefore failing could jeopardize the scholarship, and you might find yourself paying back any money given towards the course.

If you find yourself failing, it is best to do what you can to pick up your grades and even get in touch with the financial aid institution or scholarship fund and see if there is anything they could do to help you.

How many classes can you fail with financial aid?

That really depends. Every program varies.

Typically, failing one class but maintaining a GPA above 2.0 won’t be too much of a problem in regards to financial aid.

If your GPA does drop below a 2.0, you’ll be placed on academic probation or marked as ‘ineligible for aid.’

However, if you fail the same class twice or have failed multiple classes, you will have to talk to the financial aid department of your school.

It is likely you will lose your financial aid in these situations and even have to pay back some (if not all) of the amount granted.

What To Consider When Failing A Class

Failing a class is never easy, but you could always use it as a learning opportunity, or even a step in the right direction.

If you have failed your class, you need to ask yourself if it is the right course for you.

Maybe failing will help you see that you really do not have any interest in the course you have taken and that you might want to pursue a new avenue.

For example, if you’re a biology major and failed a pre-req history class, that isn’t too concerning. But if you’re an engineering major and failing Algebra or Calculus, you might want to consider the path you’re on.

Talk to your family, friends, and peers to get their feedback as well. They might be able to offer a different perspective on things.

Ask for assistance at your college, and make the most out of the different programs and help they offer their students. Get into contact with your professor and see what they could do to help you as well.

Failure is a part of life and I believe it is absolutely okay to fail a college class, however, you need to be proactive and not let that one slip-up repeat itself.

Create a plan of action for the other classes you will be taking.

Ask yourself the hard questions. Why did this happen? Where did I drop the ball? What can I do differently? What changes will you make going forward to make sure this never happens again?

There is help out there – you just need to ask for it and keep a positive attitude to do better and overcome this obstacle!

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