Withdraw before you Fail – Should I Drop A Class Before Transferring?

“You haven’t truly experienced college until you have failed a class.” My older cousin told me this when I was in middle school. I didn’t believe him at the time, but I quickly that he was right when I entered college.

My freshmen year in college, I think about 65-70% of my freshmen class got onto AP after the first quarter. In high school AP stands for advanced placement, but in college it changes to academic probation.

I believe just about every college student fails at least one class throughout their college carrier.

Most people go through all of elementary, middle, and high school without failing any classes, so when they fail their first class in college they think it is the end of the world.

But in reality, it isn’t that big of a deal, college is harder and a lot different from high school. So don’t stress out if you fail your first class, just retake it next quarter or semester.

Retaking a Course

Consider yourself lucky if you get the same professor you failed the class with. Since you already have his old homework, tests, and know his teaching style, retaking it will be easy. But if you are retaking a class with a different professor, you are probably screwed.

Retaking a class with a different professor is like taking a completely new class. Failing my upper division discrete mathematics course last quarter inspired me to write this article. My old professor went completely by the book, but my current professor doesn’t even own the book. The subjects I am learning right now have not ever been touched upon by my previous professor.

By the way I have failed like 5-6 different classes, and retaking it each time has been like retaking a completely new class, in case you are thinking I am basing my opinion off one incidence. I have even failed 1 course 2 times and withdrew once, and retaking it each time with a different professor was like a new course. That shows you how incongruent universities are with their courses.

I guess my point is, try not to fail a class, because universities will most likely screw you over.


If you even think there is a chance you are going to fail a class, just withdraw from it and get a W. Most people think “isn’t it bad to get a W”.

Well isn’t it worst to get an F? W’s don’t affect your GPA, lets you retake the course as many times as you need to, and looks better on your transcripts than an F. Not sure wither to withdraw or not? Well its a pretty simple decision after you ask yourself a few questions.

Did you pass the midterms and quizzes? Did you do most of the homework? Do you know what your professor and teaching assistants look like? If you answer “no” to any of those questions, its probably a good idea to withdraw from the class.

Don’t risk failing by trying to ace the final to pass the course. By the way, students in online schools also need to be careful about when they withdraw so that they don’t fail. Also before you withdraw, its a good idea to talk to your professor to see what he/she thinks.

Sometimes they offer you a deal, like passing the final with a B in order to pass the class, or let you know that the rest of the class is failing too, so there will be a fat curve.

This may all seem like common sense, but I know countless numbers of my friends who have failed all the midterms, never go to class, and then don`t bother to withdraw before the deadline.

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