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There’s Nothing Wrong With Late-Dropping That Class

One of the most dreaded days of the semester is quickly approaching. The late-drop deadline will be here before you know it at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 12.

Before then, students must decide if they want to follow through with any class that’s been kicking their butt for the past two-and-a-half months or call it quits for the rest of the semester.

When meeting with an advisor, expect them to try to convince you not to late-drop a course. Any late-dropped course will show up on your transcript, which could raise a red flag for graduate and professional schools. However, students have countless not-so-obvious reasons for needing or wanting to drop a class.

Regardless of how intelligent you might be, there are always going to be some concepts and subjects that you’re just unable to grasp immediately. Maybe you don’t vibe with your professor’s teaching style or grading methods. Perhaps there were outside circumstances in your life that caused you to take a step back from school.

In a cutthroat college environment, it’s easy to be made out as a failure or a quitter by advisors, professors, fellow students, and even family if you even entertain the thought of late-dropping a course. In the end, though, know that there is absolutely no shame in having to take a step back and do what is best for you.

Of course, if the class you’re dropping is required for your major, it may set you back just a little bit. Thankfully, you can take advantage of all of the courses that Penn State offers in the summer, both at University Park and at Commonwealth Campuses.

Nobody really wants to spend their summer taking a calculus class (for the second time over). We’d argue that it’s better than failing the class completely, though.

Maybe you just happened to pick a gen ed that was more demanding than you hoped. Dropping it won’t necessarily set you back, but now you know to pick a different GN course in a future semester.

And hey — look on the bright side! If you need to retake the class in a future semester, you’ve taken almost the entire thing. The material will (hopefully) be much easier to digest, process, and learn the second time around. You’ll also have extra time to devote to your other courses and be sure to absolutely crush finals week. Dropping your most stressful class probably won’t fix everything, but it’ll be a massive weight off of your shoulders.

Don’t be fooled. We’re not advocating for late-dropping a course any time you won’t get an A, because that does become very suspicious. It may even end up increasing your college career by several semesters.

However, at the end of the day, we are all still young adults learning how to navigate…well…everything. Part of that navigation is knowing when we’ve pushed ourselves too hard and too far. Sometimes, we don’t recognize that we’ve taken on too much until it’s too late to turn back.

It’s a cliche, but nobody is perfect. Even though it seems that your professors, parents, and advisors expect you to be, it’s just not possible. We’re still only students, after all, and we have a lot to learn.

If you choose to late-drop a class this semester or have done so in a previous semester, don’t let anyone belittle you for it — including yourself. Be proud of how far you’ve come and remember that it’s OK to do what you feel is best for your academic career.


Before definitively dropping any course, be sure to double-check that it won’t set you back in other ways, including losing financial aid or your full-time student status.

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a sophomore in the Schreyer Honors College studying immunology and infectious disease. She is from Mifflintown, PA, a tiny town south of State College. She is a coffee addict, loves Taylor Swift, and can't wait to go to a concert again. Any questions can be directed to @hayleeq8 on Twitter or emailed to [email protected]

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