Skip to content

Is Dropping a Class in College Bad? Your Questions Answered


Is dropping a class in college bad? It may be the right decision, but there are considerations to take into account before doing so. Take a look at what you should think about before dropping a class.

Are you considering dropping a class in college? You’re likely wondering, “Is dropping a class in college bad?” and it may seem as though the answer is a resounding “yes.” But, the truth is, it’s not so simple!

Depending on your specific situation, dropping a class may be a good solution for you. But before you do so, you should ensure that you understand why you want to give up on the class, as well as the repercussions for doing so. Also, dropping a class may not really be the right solution if you need the course to graduate in your desired major.

Let’s take a look at the various reasons and considerations before you make your decision to unenroll in a college class.

Source: Unsplash

What Does Dropping a Class Mean?

Essentially, it means unenrolling in a course by a certain deadline date. Most colleges will give you specific deadlines to both add and drop classes. When you drop a class before the drop deadline, it’s as if it never happened. This means that it won’t show up on your transcripts and whatever grade you earned up until that point will disappear from your academic history.

If you choose to drop a class after the drop deadline, it is considered “withdrawing” from a class. When you withdraw from a class, instead of having a grade on your transcript, it will be marked with a “W,” and according to the school policy, you may not get your money back that you had paid to enroll.

Some Reasons to Drop

There are various reasons to consider dropping a class, some of which include:

1. Over-enrolled in courses:

Maybe you just took on too much too soon. If your course load is overwhelming, and you don’t have time to do well in each class, it may be a good idea to lighten your load. This way, you can dedicate adequate time to absorb as much information as you can in the amount of classes you can manage.

2. Not a good fit:

It’s possible that the professor’s’ teaching style is just not a good fit for how you learn. If you’ve given it effort and tried to make it work, but it’s still not clicking, you can always try take the class when it is offered again with a different teacher.

3. Don’t think you can get a passing grade:

Especially if you intend to apply to graduate school, your grades and transcripts play an important role in your future. If you feel like you are unable to get a passing grade, dropping the course could be the right route to take.

4. Class is too easy and want to advance faster:

On the other hand, maybe the class isn’t challenging enough. If you want to advance faster and move to a harder level course (if the lower level is not a requirement), then you have the option to do so.

5. Your interests or decisions about the future changed:

75% of college students change their major. If you are looking to switch your career goals or education goals, then you may have to drop a class to make the change.

Why Dropping a Class May Be Good

Of course, “good” and “bad” are subjective and situational, but in some instances, dropping a class is considered better than staying. For example, if you are going to fail or get a “D,” it’s probably better to unenroll. Additionally, if the class is causing you physical or emotional stress and health-related issues like anxiety, it’s not worth sacrificing your wellbeing.

Why Dropping a Class Might Be Bad

Dropping a class is not the best solution if you are doing so out of sheer laziness or lack of effort to try and do better. Before giving up, you should try exacerbate the options and resources available to you to make it work. This could mean attending your professor’s office hours, communicating with other students, dedicating more time to studying, or asking for extra help.

Source: Unsplash

Things to Consider

Before dropping a class, you should consider the following circumstances.

1. Do you need the class for your major?

If you need the class for your major, you’ll want to check at what other times during the year it is offered. If you are dropping the class because of the professor, first make sure that there will be other options for professors, otherwise, you will find yourself in the same situation just further down the line.

2. Will it affect your financial aid?

Some financial aid is based on taking a certain number of course credits in a given time period. Therefore, if you drop a class and lose out on those credits, you’ll want to make sure that your financial assistance remains unaffected.

3. Does it affect your GPA?

Dropping a class before the drop deadline should not have any effect on your GPA. If you are unsure about this fact or have an extenuating circumstance, it may be worth talking to your college counselor about your personal issue to see the best course of action.

4. Have you tried to increase your grades?

As mentioned above, if you are dropping the class because you don’t want to try, then you should pause and reconsider. College, like life, will offer its fair share of challenges, but it is through such challenges that you grow and learn.

5. What other options are there?

Dropping a class should be the last choice in a line of options when you are struggling in a class. First, you should try to adjust your study habits, talk to peers, ask for help, seek feedback from college advisors and/or the professor, and try to learn the material in the manner that works best for you.

The Bottom Line

Throughout your college career, you may have to drop a class. Doing so is not frowned upon as there are many valid reasons as to why it would be the right decision. But, when you do choose to drop a class, it’s best if you do so before the deadline and have chosen to do so after attempting other alternative solutions.

On the other hand, if you are choosing to completely change your career path or major, then dropping a course might make the most sense, regardless of how well or poorly you may do in the course.

Before deciding to unenroll, consider your options and reasoning for doing so and make sure that it won’t negatively affect any ancillary aspect of obtaining your degree.