It’s a new quarter, which means a fresh start for all of us here at Western. By now, we’ve gotten our grades from fall quarter and whether you cheered or cringed when you saw them, it’s important to remember you have to do it all over again. So don’t dwell on that C- in Chemistry 121. Instead, move on. It’s a new year, new quarter and you are not alone in your academic struggles.
At the end of each quarter when the Office of Institutional Research creates its grade distribution list for each class, some classes tend to have higher percentages of withdrawals and fails. These are the most withdrawed and failed classes at Western and for those of you who have taken these classes before, you shouldn’t be surprised:
Math 112: Functions and Algebraic Methods
Math 204: Elementary Linear Algebra
Math 114: Precalculus I
Management Information Systems 220: Introduction to Business Computer Systems
Philosophy 102: Introduction to Logic
Computer Science 140: Programming Fundamentals in C++
Math 125: Calculus II
Math 157: Business Calculus
Chemistry 121: General Chemistry
Computer Science 101: Computers and applications
[*These only include classes with over 50 students]
If you’re currently in these classes or plan to take one of these classes, have no fear because Western’s got your back.
The biggest reason why students fail classes isn’t necessarily because of the content of the class, but because they didn’t seek help or they waited until it was too late.
It’s imperative that if you need help with a subject, you receive it as early as possible. This is especially true with math and science, in which the concepts tend to build on each other as the course progresses.
Junior Vanessa Thomas learned this lesson the hard way after withdrawing from Math 114—Pre-Calculus her freshman year and having to retake it last quarter.
“Get help when you need it, don’t think it’s going to get easier when you move on from [a topic], because it’s not,” Thomas said. Thomas suggests forming a study group, because chances are, if you’re not understanding a subject there are others just like you who need help too.
Take advantage of your instructor’s office hours for one-on-one help from your professor. Then, of course, there’s the Tutoring Center in Wilson Library. Open every day except Saturday, the center has a staff full of students dedicated to getting you the help you need in most subjects, but mainly math and science.
Assistant Director of the Tutoring Center, Barb Quick sees the student employees as examples of successful students that struggling students can look up to. Junior Stephanie Sharp is one of those successful students who is proud to work at the Tutoring Center.
“It’s an amazing experience, I love it,” said Sharp. “I get to help people with the things I struggled with when I was in the classes and I like to be there for them and help them through it.”
Most of the students who seek help genuinely want to improve in their classes, which creates a studious environment for others. Quick stresses that the center is a “non-threatening place to ask for help. There are really nice tutors there, that are looking to help. They do not judge anyone for not knowing anything, they just want to help.”
However, if you have spoken to your professors, formed your study group, practically live in the Tutoring Center and you’re still not doing well in your class, you may want to consider a withdrawal. Thomas suggests considering a withdrawal after the first exam.
“I feel like there’s enough information before [the first exam] that if you’re not getting it all the way you should consider withdrawing, because it’s going to get harder as the year goes on. If you can’t keep up with it, you probably shouldn’t be in the class,” Thomas said.
Nonetheless, everyone is different and deciding whether or not to withdraw from a class should be looked at on a case-by-case basis. For example, if you didn’t do well on your first test, you should consider how the class is weighted, maybe you’ll be able to even-out your test grade with assignments. You should also consider the reason why you are taking the course. Luckily, the Academic Advising Center is here to help you with all your academic woes. If you need guidance when deciding whether or not a withdrawal is right for you, the center, located in Old Main 380, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The most important thing about considering withdrawal is the deadline, which is Friday, Jan 17. After this day, you are essentially stuck with the course. Keeping all of this in mind, don’t let this list discourage you from taking these courses.
“Come in [to these classes] with an open mind. There’s no assumption that everybody is going to be good at this,” said Quick. “When something challenges you and you figure out a good way to deal with that challenge, then you’re really growing.”