If things aren't going well in one of my classes, what are my options?

If things are not going well in a class, you have a number of options. In no case should you stop attending the class or stop turning in work! This can turn a difficult situation into a disaster in short order.

First, you should talk with your professor right away, going to office hours or scheduling an appointment. The more specific you are about your concerns, the more helpful your professor can be. Are you having trouble following along in class? Doing the reading or homework? Preparing for quizzes or exams or presentations? Synthesizing information? Did you do poorly on a particular assignment? The clearer you are, the better. It is crucial to bring to any meeting with your professor whatever materials will help your professor help you. If you are struggling to understand the reading, bring it with you, along with your notes on it. If you are stuck on a problem set, bring with you whatever you have completed so far. If you did poorly on an exam, bring that with you. If you are having a hard time taking notes in class, show these to the professor.

If your problems relate to understanding the course material, you may find it helpful to request a peer tutor, who can meet with you weekly to review material and answer questions.

If your problems relate to time management, reading and test-preparation skills, or other academic success strategies, you should consider working with someone in Academic Support.

If you have an academic accommodation due to a disability and are not using it, do so. If you have questions about your accommodation, believe your accommodation is not appropriate to your disability, or believe you might have an undiagnosed disability, consult with the Student Accessibility Services Office.

If you continue to struggle in a class, or find that grade anxiety is affecting your enthusiasm for the material, you should consider asking the professor if you can take the course pass/fail. Faculty allow pass/fail at their discretion–most professors who do not allow the pass/fail option include this in the course syllabus. If your professor allows you to take the course pass/fail, you may submit a pass/fail form to the registrar's office by the end of the 9th week of classes (see the registrar's website for the exact date for the current semester). The course will appear on your transcript, with a "P" (any passing grade of 1.0 or higher) or "0.0." A failing grade is factored into your GPA as a 0.0. During your time at St. Lawrence, you may take a maximum of four courses pass/fail. Note that you may not take a course pass/fail in a major or minor after you have declared it. You may only do one course P/F in any semester (mandatory P/F courses such as SSES-100 do not count toward this).

If you do not believe you can pass the course, or find yourself unable to engage in the class productively, you may consider a withdrawal from the course. The withdrawal deadline is the end of the 10th week of class (see the registrar's website for the exact date for the current semester). The course will appear on your transcript with a "W" denoting the withdrawal. During your time at St. Lawrence, you may withdraw from a maximum of two courses. If you have missed the withdrawal deadline, you may petition for a late withdrawal (note that you will be expected to provide a clear rationale for why you missed the deadline, not why you wish to withdraw).

If a medical situation has led to your consideration of a withdrawal from a class, you may be eligible for a medical withdrawal. You may submit a medical withdrawal request form to the office of the Dean of Student Life. If approved, the course will appear on your transcript with a "WM" denoting the medical withdrawal.

Note that if withdrawing from a class brings your total course load under 3.5 units (the minimum to be considered a full-time student), it will not normally affect your full-time status, as the course still counts toward your registration for the semester and still appears on your transcript. However, in some cases your eligibility for financial aid (such as NYS TAP aid), student visa compliance, and/or NCAA athletic competition (D1 athletes only) may be affected. Please consult with Financial Aid, International Student Services Office, and/or Athletics ahead of time, so you are aware of any potential consequences. If you withdraw from a class, you will not earn credit toward graduation for it, so unless you are ahead in units, you will need to discuss with your academic advisor how you will make up the unit so you are again making satisfactory academic progress.