What If You Failed a Subject in College: Next Steps and Tips

If you have ever asked, “I failed a class in college. What should I do next?”—then worry not, because you are not alone. Failing a class is a normal part of the college experience. It’s not the end of the world, though it may feel like it.

There are a few things you can do to mitigate the impact of a failed grade. In this blog, we share some tips on how to recover and what you can do after failing a class in college.

college student

What if You Failed a Subject in College?

Depending on the class you failed, the impact of a failed grade may vary. An elective class will have minimal impact, but a core subject that serves as a prerequisite to other classes may pose more of a challenge.

Before you start planning your next steps after failing a class, let us consider first how it will potentially affect your education.

Depending on existing academic policies in your college, here’s what can happen when you fail a subject:

It May Pull Down Your GWA

A failed grade will naturally affect your General Weighted Average (GWA) negatively. Depending on the credit hours assigned to the class, your grade can pull down your GWA just a little or significantly.

If your grades in other classes are high enough to keep your GWA above the passing threshold, then you don’t have to worry too much. Your ranking may go down, or in extreme cases, you may be removed from the Dean’s List, but you will still be eligible to enroll in your school.

The failed grade will become a problem if your GWA goes down below the threshold, in which case you may be put on probation or asked to transfer majors or schools.

It May Delay Your Progress

If you failed a class, expect that you will need to retake that class. The idea is that you learn the subject matter again to master it.

Retaking a class may delay your academic schedule in a few ways:

Some classes may not be available every semester, so you have to wait until they are available for you to retake them. You’ll want to retake it as soon as possible, especially if it’s a prerequisite to other courses.

If you failed a prerequisite subject in college, you may not be eligible to take the next courses. This is common among core subjects.

It May Affect Your Scholarship Status

Another potential effect of failing a class is losing your financial assistance. Most scholarships have a grade requirement. This is an unlikely scenario unless your GWA went down significantly.

To be safe, it is better to check with your scholarship provider what happens to your scholarship if you have a failing grade so you can act accordingly.

While it seems like an inconsequential matter, failing a subject can also affect other areas of your life. This means that while it isn’t the end of the world, you still have to value your education by studying to pass and graduate.

That being said, these are just the possible things that can happen when you fail a class. Generally speaking, one failed class will, at most, be a bump in your college journey. When this happens to you, don’t be discouraged because there are a lot of things you can do to get back on your feet.

Next Steps: What to Do When You Fail a Class

If you tell anyone, “Oh no, I failed a class in college,” they will usually be calm about it, because most, if not all, colleges have placed alternatives to accommodate this scenario. If you do get a failing grade, these are the steps you can follow:

students checking their curriculum

Check Your College’s Policies

Different universities and departments have policies and guidelines for failing grades and retaking classes. This is a good place to start so you’ll understand how the grade will affect you and what you can do to mitigate the impact.

The policies may also point you to the possible options, such as if they allow students to cross enroll.

Consult with Your Professor or Academic Advisor

Most professors are willing to work with students, especially if they saw that you exerted effort throughout the semester. You may want to consult with your professor about extra credits or other ways they can help.

If your professor cannot help you raise your grades, it’s time to consult with an academic advisor. The academic advisor can help you decide the best course of action for your case.

For example, an academic advisor can tell you if you can take summer classes or wait for the next semester to retake the course you failed. They can also suggest reducing your load for the semester to make your studies more manageable.

Plan for the Next Semesters

Colleges and universities prescribe a set number of credit load students take per semester. This helps keep the workload manageable while maximizing students’ learning.

So, if you failed a course, which means you need to retake it, then the succeeding semesters will be affected. You have to plan when to retake the class again, because your passing is dependent on the class’s availability and the number of credits you can take.

If you’re retaking a prerequisite course, the succeeding courses will be transferred to a later semester. You may experience further delays if the course is not available during the summer or the following semester.

If not, you may still need to postpone another course so your course load stays within the recommended credit load, unless you are given permission to overload.

Alternatively, if you retake the class during the summer semester, you may be advised to take other classes from your academic program. In this case, you may stay on track or be advanced.

It would be wise to handle failing a class in college with foresight. Come up with a plan. Consider re-organizing your personal academic program, especially if your course has lots of prerequisite courses, so you can still graduate on time.

Consider Cross Enrollment

One of the obstacles when retaking a class is its availability. To avoid being delayed significantly, a practical solution is cross enrollment.

What is cross enrollment? Cross enrollment is the practice of taking a course in another school while you take all your other classes as usual at your original school. The credits and grades you get from the cross-enrolled class will be recorded in your transcript of records at your college.

Instead of waiting for another semester to retake the course, students can cross enroll at another institution like OEd.

Cross enrolling in OEd offers another layer of convenience. Since classes are held online, you don’t have to jump between campuses to attend classes. You can retake the class you failed the very next semester.

Additionally, OEd’s teaching approach may be different from the one in your college. The breath of fresh air may turn into an advantage for you to truly learn the subject matter, as opposed to simply getting a passing grade.

Tips to Help You Bounce Back After Failing a Class

Failing a class does not mean you have failed completely. Here are some things to help you manage this bad news:

hopeful college student

Don’t Panic

Many students see failing a class as a sign of failure and become ashamed. However, this is farthest from the truth. College is tough and students sometimes tumble.

If you do fail a subject in college, you may feel a wave of strong emotions at first but that will pass. Take a deep breath and remember: There are resources, guidelines, and people who will help you make the best out of your situation.

Breathe and then start planning your next steps.

But Don’t Be Too Chill

Take it in stride, but don’t be too complacent. Ideally, your thoughts should be along the lines of, “I failed a subject in college. What can I do to avoid this next time?”

Failing a class may be a sign that there is a flaw in your study habits, or you are incompatible with your chosen course. The latter is especially true for those who failed a core subject or failed numerous times with no signs of improvement.

If that is the case, some reflection would be beneficial. Think about what you can do to improve your grades or whether a different course would be better.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Whether the subject matter was too complicated for you the first time, or your situation prevented you from performing your best, you improve your chances of passing by making changes in your study habits.

Be honest if you had not prioritized your education in the previous semester or had not taken a class seriously. Maybe you need a study group or a tutor. Or you need a new learning environment, for instance, taking classes online where you can stay in the comfort of your home.

What is important is that you create a plan for how you will tackle the class to ensure that you get better outcomes.

Cross Enroll at OEd to Recover from a Failed Grade

Failing a class in college simply means that you need more time to master the subject matter. It may require additional work and time, but it should not derail your progress significantly.

Cross enrolling is a cost-effective solution to various issues you may face after failing a class. As one of the leading online education providers in the country, OEd welcomes students who need alternative ways to retake classes to stay on track for graduation.

Check out the courses we offer and cross enroll today. Send us a message so we can guide you further.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top