Deadline to Drop: Should You Really Quit That Hard Class?

Brian Sandler, Contributing Writer

“Oh man! If I don’t drop this course and get a D, my parents will kill me!”

“If I keep this class, my GPA will be toast!”

“What if I have to make this subject up?!”

Ah, to drop or not to drop. A question far too common to the average college student.

Indeed, with the deadline to drop courses this semester only five days away and quickly dwindling, many students face a not-so-unique but dreaded (and nauseatingly prominent) dilemma: Do you leave the difficult course and make it up later, or tough it out now and possibly face a C or lower, all at the expense of your coveted grade point average? In fairness to those who seem stuck sorely in the “I have no idea!” camp, there are reasonable arguments to be made for either side.

For those who want nothing more than to leave the class that’s vexing them, they may be in luck, as long as the course isn’t relevant to their major. According to Patrick O’ Brien of, if that is indeed the case, then drop away.

“If you are fulfilling a liberal arts requirement with a physics class and come to find out that most of the people in the class are physics majors, you may have made a poor choice in class selection and be in over your head,” he said.

“In that case, I would be generally supportive of dropping the class and meeting your university requirements with something a bit less rigorous.”

However, O’ Brien warns that there are limits to when to drop a class. If it’s one relevant to your major, you might not want to hit the ‘exit’ button so soon.

“If you are taking a calculus class that is needed for admission to the business school, for instance, knowing that you will need to complete that class sooner or later might lead you to thinking twice about dropping it,” he said.

Even more important, according to O’ Brien, is assessing your current student status. If you don’t have enough credit hours to be a full-time student or are desperate to graduate on time, it may be unwise to move ahead with leaving the class.

“In many cases, by the time you drop a class, it is too late in the term to pick up a replacement class,” he said.

“Make sure that after the drop that you will still have enough hours to maintain full-time student status, and what the consequences are if you do not.”

He also recommended mapping out the courses you need to take to confirm that the drop will not force you to take another semester.

However, there are times when even the experts advocate that throwing in the towel might be the best move. According to Kelsey Mulvey of, an overly challenging class usually is fair grounds for saying farewell.

“While it’s great to broaden your intellectual horizons, enrolling in a higher-level course is not always a good move,” she said.

“If your new psychology class actually requires background knowledge in neuroscience, and you’re just looking for a 100-level course, save yourself the stress.”

With a fair amount of articles arguing in favor of both dropping and staying in difficult classes, it might seem tough to make a choice. That’s alright. You have time to think over your decision and whatever one is made, hopefully it will be the best one. As long as a lesson is learned and mistakes are not repeated, then the decision is probably valid.