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Dealing with Bad Grades in College

Written by CB Experts

Many college students do not earn the grades they expect in college, especially during their first year in college and also again after declaring their majors. Sometimes students’ expectations are challenged by the reality of different standards. Sometimes students have not been properly prepared by earlier class work. Sometimes the college course you may be taking requires a new way of studying, writing, or researching.

Whatever the case, there are ways to deal with poor grades in college.

But, first, there are ways NOT to deal with bad college grades.
• Don’t blame the professor. You need to take responsibility for your learning and now is the time, in fact maybe the perfect opportunity, to find out what you may be doing wrong.
• Don’t say you deserve a better grade. You are in the position of earning a grade, and you are not in a position of assessing what you deserve.

What you can do –
• Study harder. That may mean more time on your course work. It also might mean being in a place where you can focus better when you do study.
• Although there is rarely an opportunity in college to earn extra credit, college professors will sometimes take a resubmission of a paper. Ask if that is a possibility for you.
• Get help from outside sources. Colleges often have writing labs, tutors, and study groups. You could even put together your own study group with students in your class who are doing well.
• Perhaps your best bet is to have contact with your professor. Under any circumstance, contact with your professor opens the door for general communication which can increase rapport. Also when you talk with your professor about poor grades, you are showing you care about your work, which any professor can respect. When you meet with your professor ask him or her to go over the test or paper with you to show you what you got wrong specifically. Ask about participation to see whether or not it can improve your grade overall or help you understand the subject better. Also ask for clarification on any lecture points or text readings that you do not understand.

If all else fails, you could consider dropping the course. Check first with your college’s policy on dropping courses. There is always a window before a set date when you can drop a course without penalty, meaning you will get your money back and nothing about that course will appear on your transcript. You can also explore the idea of taking the course pass/fail. Sometimes you can do that with credit, but sometimes taking a course pass/fail will result in no credit. Dropping a course, however, is the last resort. It often means taking the course later which can extend your graduation date and the moony you need to extend that time in class.

When you put your mind to it, you can improve your college grades. Doing so will help you feel better about yourself and show you how to study better. Both can only help you with your future coursework.

About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.