You are in the middle of the semester and suddenly realize that you are about to fail a class. Don’t be frustrated – there are still some steps you can take to turn things around before you fall further behind. College can be tough. But studying and focusing on the classes should be your number-one priority, and it’s important to always keep your eye on the prize – that is, on graduation. Figuring out what to do next and preventing it from happening again is critical.
Just follow these tips to get started:
1. Be proactive
First of all, talk to your professor so that he or she knows you are aware of your poor performance and giving extra effort to get things on the right track. Your professor can give advice to study some extra material or give you another assignment and thus a chance to boost your grade. Professors welcome students who ask for extra work, but they usually give the chance to re-submit papers during the course. Don’t wait until the end of the semester. It will be too late, as most professors give no extra credit at the end of it. So recognize early that you are in the danger zone and take action immediately.
2. Evaluate your situation
Try to step back and see the big picture. You need to evaluate what your chances to pass the course are. If you are a graduate, it’s probably better to roll up your sleeves and manage the course even if you receive a C. Proceeding with a class can also make sense if you are just aiming to achieve a certain GPA. However, if you’re a second-year student and have the opportunity to retake the course another semester, you can just drop the class and make sure you make enough effort next time. If you decide to drop a class, do a self-assessment and try to understand why you found yourself in that situation.
3. Analyse your papers
If you get back a paper or assignment with a bad grade, make sure you understand why you have received such a low score. Do the correction work and prepare specific questions you have on the assignment. If your professor hasn’t left comments and notes, make an appointment and ask him or her to provide you with additional information. Try to understand what your professor thinks is missing from your work. Next time, when you submit a paper, take all those notes into consideration and don’t repeat your previous mistakes. Before you submit your work for a grade, always remember to check paper for plagiarism and proper citation to make sure you quote and paraphrase sources correctly.
4. Take some extra time to master the material
To begin with, concentrate during lectures. Pay maximum attention to get information right the first time. Additionally, there are a lot of online resources with engaging and easy-to-understand content that can help you enhance your knowledge on the subject. Develop your own study technique on how you memorize and learn the material and give yourself some extra time to solidify the knowledge. Use time management tools to manage your studying time effectively.
5. Get help
Getting help with a course is always a good idea. Fellow students are a good source of information. Ask students who have a better understanding of the material and are performing well in class to help you with the assignment. Most universities also offer additional options to improve your academic performance, such as:
- Tutoring centers: Working with a good advisor can help you achieve good grades and move to the next level.
- Study groups: These usually have a limited number of attendees, so visit the academic development office and request to join the group.
6. Don’t give up
The Greek philosopher Socrates once said:
The unexamined life is not worth living.
If you failed a course, consider it an opportunity to analyze and understand your mistakes. Don’t blame other people and circumstances – just take responsibility for your actions and accept your losses. Being honest with yourself and admitting that you messed up is a way to personal development and a critical requirement for moving forward. Failing a class in college is not the end of the world if you learn from your experience. Visit your academic advisor and see if you need to take a summer course, retake the class next time or rearrange your schedule for the next semester.
Stay motivated, get your action plan ready and focus on the future.