It’s a common question after the Fall Reading Days – many students find themselves struggling in a class and wonder if they should withdraw. Prospective students are welcome to come by walk-in advising to talk it through at any point! Ultimately, we can’t tell you what to do, but we can definitely help you think through the decision.
First, take the landscape view. How are you doing in your other courses? Is your performance in this course affecting your performance in other courses? Are there things going on outside of your coursework you need help with – personal issues, overinvolvement, or perhaps mixed priorities? Are you struggling in all of your courses, so maybe lacking essential study skills or time management in general? Do you know the difference between studying and doing homework?
If this is the case, a withdraw may still help to ease the pain of the semester, but take advantage of resources to ensure the issues don’t continue with other classes.
Take time to reflect. Self-reflection is essential in any decision. Consider some of the following questions to gauge your situation:
- How many hours per week do you spend studying for this class?
- Have you seen the professor during office hours to ask for help?
- What does “not doing well” mean – a B? a C? On average, about 30% of current Comm students have a C+ or lower on their academic record, and they were admitted. One bad grade doesn’t dictate whether or not you get into McIntire – your whole application is considered.
- How much more of the course do you have to go (e.g., did you take one midterm worth only 20% but have 80% of the grade to be determined)?
- Are you just bored by the material or not happy with how the class is taught?
- Considering withdrawal from a required course? Is it worth it to have to repeat it later?
Weigh the pros and cons. Write a list of each! Here are some things you might start with:
o You might be able to do really well in your other courses if you have time to focus on them and can abandon this one.
o There is a learning opportunity in being able to reflect on your study skills, personal interests, and approach to your courses.
o McIntire requires students to stay in a full course load when they’re in the Comm School and withdrawals are NOT allowed from upper-level Commerce courses, so that is a consideration in the committee’s review of your application.
o Credit considerations: Will you be at or close to 60 credits after your second year? Can you even withdraw and be full time? Your Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences can help you with these technical questions as well.
Own the decision. Once you make the decision, it’s time to own it and move on, and not worry constantly that you have a black eye on you record. Take the opportunity to do really well in the rest of your courses, and make smart decisions for future semesters in terms of finding balance, recognizing you need help, and using your resources. Remember, there is no one thing that gets you into McIntire or keeps you from coming to McIntire – we evaluate individual applications holistically, and everyone’s path to McIntire is different!