So You’re Thinking About Dropping a Course

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Posted on January 1st, 2011

The benefit of enrolling an online school is that it allows you to attend classes on your own convenience. But sometimes even this luxury isn’t enough for you to stick it out and take a full course load—balancing classes and a job for example may seem too difficult. However, while dropping a course or two may seem like the most reasonable answer to your problem, there are many consequences that are attached to dropping a course. For example, this decision may affect your financial aid eligibility, your plans for graduate school or may greatly prolong the time it takes for you to finish your online program. But there are certain instances where it is ok to drop a course.

For example, if you are struggling in a particular course to where you are convinced that you will fail, and you have tried everything imaginable to raise your grade and grasp the concepts—including talking with your professor via email or telephone, trying to get an outside tutor and studying on the regular—then you may want to go a head a drop the course. Dropping one course won’t hurt you too severely if you are planning on applying to graduate school or medical school for example, but do not try to make this a habitual thing. Too many withdrawals on your transcript will undoubtedly hinder your chances with admission officers. It will also look bad if you ever plan on transferring from an online school to a traditional brick-and-mortar school. So if you feel as through dropping the course is the only solution, then it is recommended that you do so before the last drop course date. Every school has a set date until students may drop a course. If you surpass that date you may not be able to withdrawal and you will have to accept the “F” which will affect your overall GPA. Schools vary, but if you decide to withdrawal from the course as earliest as the 12th day of class, you may receive some of your money back.

Another acceptable time to drop a course is if you are dealing with a traumatic or emotional event such as a family death. Certain situations like these can cause a student to lose focus. Some professors are understanding and cooperative and may give you a little bit of unofficial time off, others are less accommodating. So if this were to happen, talk to your professor first and see what he or she says. If you feel you will be unable to perform well in the class due to this traumatic event then it’s probably best to drop the course.

But you want to ensure that if you are receiving any kind of financial aid or scholarships dropping a course will not jeopardize your financial situation. This is because generally students must be a fulltime student to receive aid. If dropping a course will demote you to part-time status you may be forced to pay some of the money back out of pocket. So make sure you contact the Financial aid office to get specific details.

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