While not as ideal as taking and passing a course, dropping a course has the fewest negative repercussions of the options included here. “A drop from the course is usually done early in the semester and has no impact on the student’s grade, GPA or transcript,” Croskey says. However, students should be very aware of deadlines, financial aid requirements and course timelines before dropping a class.
Each college has a different deadline after which students cannot drop a course. It’s typically a fairly short period of time (a few weeks or less), so students who find themselves struggling later in the semester will not be able to drop a class.
Although it won’t impact a student’s GPA, some scholarship and financial aid packages require a minimum number of credits (often 12 – or full-time status, according to Croskey), and dropping below that may result in revocation of financial aid. Students should keep this in mind when considering dropping a course.
Lastly, students should consider the timeline of the course offerings for their major’s prerequisites. Frequently, courses are offered in succession and can’t be taken out of order. For instance, if a student has to take Math 112 for their major, and it’s only offered in the spring, he likely doesn’t want to drop Math 111 this fall – otherwise he’d have to wait a full year to retake Math 111 and then eventually Math 112 (and then Math 211 and 212, sequentially).