College Tips

What To Do When You’re Failing College Classes

I work with college students who are failing their classes. It is something that happens often. Sometimes, you fall behind and it seems impossible to catch up. Sometimes life gets in the way and your mental health goes down the drain and you just can’t focus anymore. Sometimes the class is simply too hard and the professor isn’t giving you the information you need to succeed in the course. It happens.

So, here are some things you can do.

1. Talk to your professor.

This is the first thing I tell students to do. Make sure your professor knows you care about your grade, you care about their class, and you respect them. Ask them how they would study for their course and exams. Ask them if they would be willing to help you during their office hours, or if they can recommend a tutor for you.

2. Tutoring & Online Tutoring

My university offers online tutoring and one-on-one tutoring to students for free. Almost every major has a tutor and their hours are listed online. See if your school does the same thing and take advantage of it. If not, places like Chegg offer online tutoring. But you do have to pay.

3. Make your own mock tests.

This will help improve your grade substantially. Go through your notes and make up your own test. Test yourself until you know the information inside and out. Have your friends quiz you. Make flash cards. Use Quizlet to make a test out of your online flash cards. Make sure you are making the tests hard. Put information on them that you know you don’t know. Don’t spend extra time studying the terms and ideas you already do know.

4. See a college counselor or academic counselor.

Almost every college has these. If your college doesn’t have these then you may want to think about transferring if that option is available for you. Student success (your success) lies within the resources given to you and what you do with them as a student at an academic institution. If that institution does not hire academic counselors to help their students then they are not putting enough emphasis on student success.

Note: An academic counselor is different than a professor that advises you on which classes to take.

5. Talk to those who are doing well in your class.

I put this last on the list because it can be intimidating to walk up to someone you may not know. But asking what their strategies are before or after class can help you gain insight on what to do and how to study for the course.

Note: If you are failing multiple courses you may need to put more time toward your studies. For every hour you’re in class you should be spending at least another hour outside of class on that same course.

If you’re studying your heart out and still failing know that it’s okay. Some college classes are designed to make you fail. College isn’t high school. Sometimes your professors aren’t good teachers. They are there because they are experts in their field and know nothing of pedagogy and teaching standards and practices. Meet with an academic counselor at your school and see what they have to say.

Also, if your writing is struggling, schedule a meeting with your English professor and have them workshop your essay with you. This will make your writing stronger and it will tell you exactly what they’re looking for from your writing. Every professor is different. Or you can go to your college’s writing center if that is offered at your university.

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