When you set up your schedule, it’s usually several weeks to several months before classes begin. Your life can change drastically in that amount of time, which means that you might have to shuffle your schedule around after classes start. It’s a tricky dance, but you can master the ropes with a few simple steps.
Step #1: Know the Difference Between Dropping and Withdrawing from a Class
The result may be the same, but dropping and withdrawing from a course mean very different things. When you drop a class, your school will not charge you for that class and refund your money (if you’re paying for it, that is). If you withdraw from a class, your school has the right to keep the cost of that class on your tuition. So, if you’re far enough into the semester that you’ve passed the drop date, then you have to ask yourself if you can afford to withdraw.
Step #2: Know Yourself
Never make a snap decision on adding or dropping a class. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself if you’re having a rough week or if it’s something that’ll take longer to resolve. If you’re bored and want to take on more, are you sure you’re existing classes won’t get more challenging as the semester progresses?
Take out your syllabi for all your courses. Look ahead at what the semester holds, and then realize that there’s more work than meets the eye. Then, think about your work schedule, your family life, your social situation, and your relationship status. If you still feel like you could take on more work, then, by all means, add another class. If you feel like you’re far too overwhelmed, consider dropping a class. Just realize that dropping a class might impact any scholarships you currently have, and it could push back your projected graduation date.
Step #3: Always Decide for Yourself
It’s easy to get caught up with friends or new relationships and want to add or drop classes to spend more time with people. However, slow down and realize that your education has to be a priority. You have to make the decision based on your needs and your wants. Not someone else’s. Don’t get so carried away you hurt your education or change your goals for someone else.
Knowing when to add or drop can be a challenge. It’s a big decision. The key is understanding your needs and being honest with yourself. Always fight for your goals, but have reasonable expectations. There’s no shame in dropping a class because your life is too crazy that semester. There’s also nothing wrong with wanting a bigger challenge and taking on more. Just decide based on your situation and your needs. You are the one who has to live with the consequences of your decision, so do what’s best for you.