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What Happens If You Fail A Class In College?

Amanda Hoyle, M.Ed., Psy.M. • 10 Minute Read

Failing a course is not the end of the world and it surely does not mean that you’re going to be unsuccessful in obtaining your degree. Don’t make such a small bump in the road derail your academic journey to success.

There are consequences to failing a class but they don’t include you dropping out of college. We have provided some insight on failing a class and what might happen.

Am I Actually Failing?

Finding out what grade you need could save you the trouble of thinking that you’ve failed. Different colleges have different grading methods. You can’t change a failing grade but if you know how you failed, you do stand a chance of succeeding in the future.

One of the things that you can do is to check out your class syllabus. The class syllabus describes the course policies and should include a grade breakdown with the percent needed for the different assignments. The syllabus also provides how much weight each test and exam carries. To determine your grades:

  • Log into your college’s learning management system or portal to access your online grade center. Check out which courses you are struggling in and how much you need to improve.
  • Email or talk to your lecturer about any grades that you’re not sure about.

After gathering this information, you can make an informed decision on your standings in the class.

What Happens If I Fail A College Class

Failing a class can negatively impact your GPA. Your GPA, or Grade Point Average is represented by a number that indicates how high you scored in your modules on average. This could put your financial aid at risk.

The financial institution that provided you with the financial aid could withdraw their support for you. Worst case scenario is that you could lose your aid.

Your bursary or scholarship might put down harsh measures for you to increase your marks. Failing a class also goes onto your college transcripts and could hinder your plans of graduating or going further with your studies.

Luckily, your college transcripts don’t come into play when you’re looking for a job. Failing a class might allow you to reflect on your mistakes, build yourself up and work harder. It might be the motivation you needed to jumpstart your road to academic success. An initial failure is valuable if you learn from it and improve.

Retaking A Failed Class

“What happens if I fail a class in college?”, a common question asked by many students.

In many cases, you can retake a class that you’ve failed. If it forms part of the required class that you need for your degree, you won’t be able to graduate without that class.

Retaking a class can occur the following school year or the next semester(depending on when the classes are held). Working the classes into your schedule might be the worst thing to do because it might clash with your other classes. Try and find out all the possible times for that class and slot it into your schedule. Also, try and find another option to take the class online through a course provider like Straighterline or Alison.

However, if you don’t need those credits, you may want to repeat the course to stabilize or increase your GPA.

Potential Dismissal

Your college won’t immediately kick you out if you fail a course. Depending on the college, they might give you a formal warning on your marks and send you an alert when you’re failing too many courses or failing one course too many times.

The suspension could mean that the college puts you at high risk. You are considered a high-risk student. This means that if you mess up and fail one more time, the college follows a series of protocols before expelling you.

A college looks at your overall performance before providing a potential dismissal. An extreme drop in your GPA could also put you on the shortlist for potential dismissal. Most colleges would warn students who fall below a GPA of 2.0. If this poor performance continues, the college could expel you.

This is different for all colleges, make sure you know the policies of your university.

What To Do When You Fail A Class In College

Let’s look into what to do when you fail a college class and how you can avoid this situation.

Ask Your College For Help

Sometimes asking your college for help is the best move that you can make. They can provide you with the necessary help. Whether it may be extra classes with the lecturers, extra notes being sent to you, a study partner being assigned, or something as simple as providing you with question papers.

Try To Get Extra Credit From Other Courses

Some colleges allow students to take up courses that are broken down.

Meaning that if you failed Math 202 for example, your college could allow you to take Math 110 in the first semester and Math 120 in the second semester. Other courses allow a different route where you can take a different course with the same amount of credits as the one you failed and allow you to use that as a substitute.

Extra credit can come in many different forms, consult the admissions board at your school for a more detailed overview. Also, check out your schools’ module list to see the number of credits that each course carries.

Get A College Tutor To Help With Your Academics

Getting a private tutor is expensive on a student's budget.

Speak to your lecturer to find out if there aren’t available student tutors who achieved excellent marks in that course to teach you. This serves as work experience for those student tutors and looks good on their academic and professional resume.

These tutors understand the pressure and hard work of a student and can empathize more with you. They could be free or charge you a reasonable amount to help you.
Study buddies are also a good idea where you come together with students like yourself, doing the same courses and all of you study together.

There is a common ground to understanding the work between all of you that helps in grasping the work.

Tips To Avoid Failing In College

  • Use a daily planner to plan out your day, week, or even month. This helps you become more aware of upcoming tests, assignments, tasks, and due dates.
  • Decrease the number of and the amount of time you spend on extracurricular activities.
  • Find a peer or faculty mentor.
  • Stick to your due dates.

How Can I Avoid Failing Future Classes?

Spend some time thinking about ways on passing these courses. Whether it’s a course you’re repeating or are busy failing. Look into different study methods, taking enough breaks, and allow yourself to improve at your own pace. Your college provides you with an abundance of assistance that you need to use. Before you can solve a problem, you need to address the problem first.

Closing Thoughts: Succeeding At College

Learn from your mistakes. Failing hinders your academic progression and puts you at a disadvantage. Put the work in and you will be well on your way to graduating!
Luckily for you, this article provides clears up your mind and could put yours at ease. We hope you enjoyed it!

Amanda Hoyle, M.Ed., Psy.M
Amanda is a proficient and widely publisced educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
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Amanda Hoyle, M.Ed., Psy.M
Amanda is a proficient and widely published educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
Related Articles
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