Facing a Failing Grade: What Should You Do?

November 17, 2016, 09:55 PM

facing a failing grade


You worked so hard in high school, you got into a great college, and your social circle is expanding rapidly. You're having a great time, and you're learning a lot.

And then, it happens. This world full of outstanding A+ grades that you're used to is now facing an imposter on your permanent school record. You're failing a class, and the likelihood of coming back from this colossal mishap seems like more than a mountain that you're not equipped to climb.

So, what do you do?

First, you need to stop psyching yourself out. Whether you were valedictorian or not sure how you even made it through high school, a bad grade is bound to happen, and it's not necessarily the end of the world. Of course, you don't want to make a habit out of it, and it's important to recognize the difference between a single bad grade and a laundry list of professors who won't let you back into their classrooms. Those are two different things! For the everyday student who's just fallen upon a single failing grade, this is simply a warning of life lessons yet to come.

Re-Evaluate Your Processes

What lead to the bad grade? Are you not understanding the subject matter? Have you taken on too much? Are you paying more attention to socialization than your studies? Is your professor not teaching you in a manner that makes sense to you?

You need to know the root of the problem before you can fix it.

Embrace Office Hours

All too often, college students shirk away from taking advantage of office hours. This is the #1 Don't Do thing in college. Your instructors are there to guide you, and if you aren't performing to the best of your abilities, it's up to you to own up to the task of remedying the problem. Take advantage of every face-to-face opportunity your professor provides, and if his or her set office hours don't work with your schedule, send an email, and ask for an appointment. Office hours are often key opportunities to unlocking grade-saving mysteries.

Check the Timeline

If all else fails, you may be able to drop the class, but don't do so before checking out the timeline. There are usually penalties for late-drops, and if you're far enough into the period, you may not be able to drop at all. Due diligence if your best friend.

Re-Take the Course

If you failed after the drop date, don't let sleeping dogs lie. Re-take the course and submit for a change-of-grade upon completion. If the original instructor wasn't a good fit for your learning style, be sure to find a professor who better fits your learning needs, and take the next semester by the reigns from the beginning so you're not left with another negative mark when it's over.

If you've faced a failing grade and found successful footing in the end, I'd love to hear your triumphs! Share your stories at our Facebook page!

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