Students in academic difficulty make similar common mistakes of judgment when planning their next steps. These unfortunate decisions can be prevented. Read the following guidelines and consider whether your future plans include these survival techniques.
- You should take fewer credit hours next session -- 12 credits is minimum for full-time status in a regular semester -- it should probably be your maximum. Here's why... Trying to make a major improvement in your grade point average in one semester by overloading in courses usually ends up with you doing poorer work. This is because of the multiplying effects of more quizzes, more papers, more exams, more labs, and more class hours. You can make a greater improvement in your grade point average by doing better in fewer courses than you can by doing average work in more classes.
- You should repeat courses in which you earned 'D' or 'F' grades as soon as possible. The grade for the repeat will replace the 'D' or 'F' in calculating your grade point average. If you repeat an 'F' course and earn a 'C', you have improved your grade point as much as if you earned an 'A' in a new course! Most students do improve their grade upon repeating a course because, from previous experience, they know what to expect and what to study. Unless you lack a prerequisite for the course, you usually should repeat to improve your grade point average and to overcome the failing grade on your academic record.
It is important for recipients of federal financial aid (including loans) to note federal aid (PELL) will pay to repeat a course with a passing grade one time only and only if it is needed in your program. State aid (TAP) will not pay for a repeated course other than one with an ‘F’ grade unless your program specifically states that you must have a grade of ‘C’ or higher to move on to the next course. If you receive financial aid, you may want to contact the Financial Aid Office to confirm that your aid is available for spring.
- If you are doing poorly in a course, you should determine how long you should keep trying and what your options are for withdrawing. The withdrawal policy of the College is printed on the reverse side of your class schedule/registration form. You are responsible to be aware of deadline dates for withdrawals and for filing the proper forms. You are the one who may receive an 'F' for improper withdrawal. Never assume that your instructor will give you a 'W' if you just stop attending classes! Consult with a counselor before making a decision to withdraw. Your financial aid might be affected.
- You should resolve 'I' (Incomplete) grades as soon as possible. Depending upon your particular arrangements with your instructor, you can complete your course. If you do not fulfill the requirements to complete the course within one year, your instructor may submit an 'F' for the 'I', or allow the 'I' to remain forever. You then will have forfeited a chance to raise your grade point average.
- Beware of the advice of friends when choosing courses. A course which meets someone else's needs may not meet yours. Beware of advice given on the run when your records are not at hand or when you are "hurriedly" trying to fit another course into your schedule. Take time to check!
- You should seek advice on your schedule of courses for your next session (Summer, Fall, Intersession, Spring). You should not feel that you are required to do this on your own – advisors can help you plan a schedule of courses to your best advantage. Contact help early - late in the semester there is little time to make adjustments. Work with your department chair, your instructor, your faculty advisor, or a counselor to put your plans in writing on a degree progress worksheet. Have it signed and dated. You will have the information and know who advised you.
- The most common reason given by students for poor academic performance resulting in probation and suspension is: "I was working 40 hours (or 20 or 30) and taking a full load. I didn't realize until too late that I couldn't handle both. So... I continued to work and my grades suffered."
If this student had cut back work hours and sought advice on withdrawal and scheduling, the story would have ended more happily. Working 40 hours a week, responsibility for cost and maintenance of a car, gas, insurance, and a 16-17 credit hour course load at MCC = a sure formula for failure. These items have little to do with academic ability!
MCC Resources for Academic Assistance
Counseling, International and Veteran Services– Room 3-103 (292-2030) for help with Test Anxiety, Career Exploration, Study Skills, Program Change
Damon City Campus Student Services - Floor 5 (262-1740)
Tutors – Contact Student Support Services – Room 11-261A (292-2348)
Writing Center – Contact Student Support Services – Room 11-208 (292-2348)
Mathematic Learning Center – Room 11-204 (292-5422)
Department Advisors – Applies to students in Career Programs