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How to Know When to Drop a Class

To drop or not to drop? That is the question every undergrad have asked themselves when staring at the syllabus. From talking to numerous of academic advisors, I never got a clear cut answer if I should drop a course. Most conversations end in, “well, what do you think you should do?” My response would usually be a blank stare and an “I don’t know, that is why I am here.” As a collegiette, we face many struggles and a class should not be one of them. Therefore, here is a list compiled to help you decide if dropping the course is the best option.

First, I would like to start with the technicalities. Before, you decide to drop a class make sure you have 12 units! FAFSA is strict with the 12 units, and by not having 12 units, you could drastically alter your FAFSA. Another point I would like to state is to make sure to drop the class before the drop deadline, which is found on GOLD in ‘Registration Information.’ Thirdly, in order to drop a class, log onto GOLD and on the right-hand side it should say “drop”. Click the button and sigh in relief. Now that the technicalities are taken care of, let’s get to the real talk! How do you know when to drop a course?

Reason 1. Syllabus Week

Image via The Spring Semester Syllabus Week Survival Guide

During syllabus week, you are given the breakdown of the class. In such you see how much a midterm, a final, section, etc. will count towards your overall grade. When I was a freshman, I had to take one of my pre-requirements for political science, and one of them was Economics 9. Once I saw the percentage of the final exam being 50% and the quizzes being 50%, I nearly had a panic attack! I contacted three academic advisors whether I should drop the class or stay in. I did not have the confidence that I would do well in this class. Being that it was my first year I did not know whether my feelings were valid. I stayed in the class for a week and the professor changed my mind! Not only was she engaging, but she went step by step of every lesson. Moral of the story is to stick it out for a week and if you still feel like you cannot handle the course, then drop it! Do not force yourself to stay in a class if you feel like you will fail, which leads me to the next feeling: confidence.

Reason 2. Not Confident?

Image via Confidence Pictures, Images and Stock Photos

Confidence is key to succeeding in a class! If you feel that, based on your schedule, you won’t be able to make time for that fourth class, then that is okay! It is totally okay to take three classes, one quarter of the year! How do you know you are not feeling confident? When you begin to self-doubt. For instance, if that class is weighing on your mind heavily that it starts to put your confidence level down, then drop it. Remember, you got into UCSB for a reason and that was because you are smart! Do not let a class destroy that confident mentality.

Reason 3. Lack of Sleep

Image via How University Students Sleep | The Jawbone Blog

If you find yourself waking up at 8:30 am and sleeping at 2 or 3 am, then drop that fourth class! Remember that mental health is key to a successful quarter. The average person needs 8 hours of sleep, and if you are getting only four to six hours then go to GOLD and drop.

Reason 4. Falling Behind in Other Classes

Image via What to Do If You’re Behind in Your College Class

If you catch yourself saying “I’m ahead in these two classes, but behind in the other two,” then it is time to drop. In general, falling behind is never a good thing. However, falling behind in a quarter system is like digging yourself in a deep hole with no way out. If you find that one class is taking the majority of your time and you are behind on readings in other classes, then you should reevaluate your schedule.

Reason 5. Class is Offered Next Year

Image via Course Preview: 2017 | Summer Sessions UCSB

Let’s say that you definitely know that the class you are in during Fall quarter is just way too overwhelming, especially after getting back from summer break. That is okay! Most likely, the class will be offered Winter or Spring quarter. Check on GOLD or talk to the department to find out more information on when classes will be offered.

Reason 6. After the First Midterm

Image via 9 Thoughts A Senior Has During Midterms

Let’s say that you studied all weekend and all day Monday before your midterm on Tuesday and you got a “D-” Let’s us also say that this midterm was worth 20-25%. Let’s also say you haven’t done well on the assignments, but manage to pull a “C+” here and there on a few assignments. If this is you then by the great words of Snoop Dogg, drop the class “like it’s hot.” Speak to your T.A. or use a grade predictor to see what you will need to pass the class and if your chance is slim, then it is best to drop the class.

Reason 7. You Took It for a Filler Class

Image via drop a class – Imgflip

You may have taken the class because there was no other option for a fourth class. Let’s face it: pass times are the worst. You are staring at the clock, setting five alarms to just get that one last class but alas, someone else took your spot. You waitlist yourself but did not get into the class you want. So now you are in Medieval Philosophy (does not exist). Now you are in class, staring at the clock. You walk out of class with doodles all over your notes. Now your drawings may be amazing, but collegiette, you are not in art. Your doodles will not be in the mid-term. If this is you, then it is time to drop.

Granted, courses at the college level are meant to be stressful but they are not designed for you to fail. Therefore, if you feel that this quarter you can not handle that extra class, then for your sake, drop the course.


image via UCSB’s Accreditation Renewed for a Full 10 

My name is Jasmine Marie Palmerin. I am a second year, majoring in English and Sociology.
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