Should I drop a class? Reasons and consequences

College students can be overwhelmed with a difficult, uninteresting or unnecessary class. Sometimes a course doesn’t teach the right material or the teacher is nasty. Then you begin to consider withdrawing from a class.

Luckily, under certain circumstances, you’re allowed to drop a class, but make sure you understand the consequences.

Reasons to drop a class:

  • Class is too difficult
  • Class is too easy (seriously, you’ll get bored; you’re in college to be challenged)
  • Don’t like the teacher
  • You already have a busy workload and need one less class to deal with
  • Class is not required right now; you can take it again another year
  • Class is not required at all; it’s an elective you can change or drop
  • Too many students in the class; not enough personal attention
  • Class starts too early or too late.
  • Class expects too much work. According to Brenden Gallagher in “10 Signs You Should Drop A Class Before It’s Too Late,” posted at September 15, 2013: “You should expect a level of rigor in college, so don’t go dropping a class because you don’t feel like reading, but there is such a thing as too much work. … Don’t be afraid to cut and run when encountered with a fifteen-page syllabus. When you find yourself plowing through several hundred pages of reading between classes, a course that was supposed to be enjoyable can quickly become a burden.”

Reasons not to drop a class

Make sure the class you want to drop is not a pre-requisite for a more advanced class needed for your major. Also, you don’t want to be in your senior year and drop a class you realize later was required for your degree. You may not have time to make up the class or units before graduation. You don’t want to have to add a semester or summer school just to pick up those missing credits. Consult with your advisor on what classes are required.

“Make sure that after the drop that you will still have enough hours to maintain full-time student status, and what the consequences are if you do not. Also map out your planned class work until graduation to confirm that the drop will not add another semester to your college experience,” said Patrick O’Brien and Susan Davis-Ali in “Great Career Success Debate: How to decide when it’s time to drop a class,” posted February 10, 2015, at USA Today College.

Consequences of dropping a class

You can’t just drop every class that sounds boring or difficult after the first day, otherwise, everyone would be dropping and picking up new classes all the time. Your school will have a time limit when you can drop a class without penalty. Past that, and you will receive a W (withdrawn) on your transcript. One W on a transcript is not a deal breaker, but you don’t want more than one.

Dropping a class could affect financial aid

“A withdraw from your class could affect your financial aid status if you receive any form of financial aid…You need to successfully complete 70% of the classes you attempt,” said a writer in “Deciding Whether to Drop a Class” posted on, July 13, 2012. “Be very careful as a first year student. Dropping just one class can put you close to the 70% threshold. You will receive a warning after one semester and could lose your financial aid altogether if you have another bad semester.”

Are you considering dropping a class? If so, for what reason?

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