Students Should Think About Future Before Dropping Classes

Esther Frances, Copy Editor

It’s that time of the year: report card distribution. While dropping a class may seem like the only way to solve a failing grade, dropping a higher level class such as honors, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) can have disastrous effects on a student’s transcript. High school students should not drop a failing class because college admissions officers may view this as a lack of commitment, which could jeopardize their chances of getting into their dream schools.

In MCPS, a class is considered incomplete if it is dropped past the first 20 days of the semester. Dropping a class should be the last resort for students who are failing because there are many other ways to improve their grade..

One reason students often struggle in or even fail a class is that the student does not understand the subject matter. If a freshman fails even one of their core classes, English, math, social studies or science, then they are four more times less likely to graduate from high school on time, according to the 2007 Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago.

This reality makes the lure of dropping a class seem appealing to students, but what they don’t realize is that when submitting transcripts, a dropped class can look just as bad or even worse than a low grade.  

Failing a class due to the difficulty of course material can be solved through one-on-one sit-downs with the teacher, another staff member or a hired tutor. If students are willing to work as hard as they can to understand the material, which includes sacrificing social outings or other activities to study, their grades can benefit as a result and dropping a class becomes less necessary.

Another reason students fail is a lack of motivation. Whether a senior or not, many students eventually feel a decline in their dedication to achieve academically. Over 40 percent of high school students have a sustained disengagement from school, according to a 2003 National Research Council report on motivation. Especially when feeling a lack of motivation, the appeal of dropping a class and possibly having a smaller workload seems ideal, but when considering the long-term effects, it is not worth it.

There are many ways to fix a lack of scholarly endurance. If a task seems too strenuous to complete, one could break it up into much smaller, accomplishable goals.  As the student completes each small step, they will feel more productive and accomplished.

Solving a failing grade is manageable if the student is willing to work as hard as it takes to pass the class. Dropping a class, especially past 20 days into the semester, should be a last resort, as it can make college admissions counselors weary of a student’s dedication to succeeding academically.