Are you Retaking a Course?

math course

Post #39 Three Essential Things to Know When Retaking a Course

If you are retaking a course, there are basic rules/allowances you must be aware of.  Not every school operates in the same manner, so you have to become familiar with restrictions.  Investigate college rules along with your department rules because they may be different.  Do not retake a course unless you are aware of the following!

Strike Out

How Many Attempts Your School Allows

Different schools again operate under different guidelines.  But you must also check with your specific department on this issue.  When retaking a course, some schools and departments may allow students an unlimited number of attempts.   But others will set a limit because they assume if you don’t pass during your first 3, 4 or 5 attempts then you won’t pass at all.  You must ask your academic advisor.  I talked about the importance of forming a routine relationship with your academic advisor in Post #22.  If they don’t know the answer, then they can find out for you.  When I worked as an engineering academic advisor, the rule was three attempts and you strike out.

What is Considered a Passing Grade

This could also be a very tricky topic that most students don’t think about.  Specific departmental rules could be different from university rules.  For example, your college may claim that a “D-“is a passing grade.  However, your department may set their own standards such that anything below a “C-” is not passing.  You must understand your department rules as they could very well be different than university rules.  This is an essential topic that should be discussed with your academic advisor.


How GPA Is Calculated at Your School

Some students think they are going to be clever and retake a course for a better grade.  For some, this means retaking a course in which you earned a “C”.  Other students have no choice but to retake certain courses since they failed the first time around.  Hear me loud and clear.  It does not matter your reason for retaking a course.  You must understand how the new grade gets factored into your grade point average.  Some schools will take the better of the 2 grades (this is what most students assume).  However, other schools automatically take the first grade and replace it with the second grade you earned – regardless of which grade is better.  How many times do students retake a course only to do worse the second time around?  Lots.  And guess what.  They paid for an extra course, spent an extra semester studying and didn’t realize the second, worse grade replaces the first.

In summary, if retaking a course, there are college level and department level rules.  Do not assume you have an unlimited number of attempts at the same course.  Ask your academic advisor what a passing grade means.  And be very careful when attempting to replace a “C or D” with a higher grade.  This tactic can backfire.

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