College Courses and Degrees

How to Retake College Courses?

You failed a course and lowered your grade point average. Not only that, but you need the course to graduate. Or maybe you passed, but your grade was so low that you know you are ill-prepared to move onto more complex subject matters. You have options, but first ask yourself what you think went wrong and consider how you will approach the course more effectively, and then consult with the appropriate people.

  1. Find out your school’s policy about retaking courses before you re-enroll. Will you start over with a clean slate? The answer is maybe. They might let you take the higher of the two grades, but most schools have a compromise policy. Most likely, you will have to take an average of the two grades or, if you pass the course, you can use it as credit to graduate, but both grades will stay on your transcript.
  2. Discuss your options with your academic advisor. Advisors have a perspective that students don’t. Maybe the solution is not to retake a particular course but to take another course that meets the same requirement.
  3. Understanding that most students are enrolled in college to get a degree, your advisor may also offer you an objective view of your overall academic track record and help you to re-assess your academic and professioal goals and how you might accomplish them.
  4. Discuss re-enrolling with the professor who teaches the course. Ideally you should talk to the same professor that you had; that is the person who is most likely to know where you went wrong. You need to ask a key question: “If I retake this course, what do I have to do to do better?” Plan on having a mature, respectful and professional discussion.
  5. If you plan on taking it with a different professor (sometimes that’s an option), it wouldn’t hurt to find out if the expectations will be any different. For example, maybe one professor uses a multiple choice test and the other uses a combination of an essay and multiple choice test, and the essay counts for 50 percent. If you don’t perform well on essay exams, you might want to try to get into the other professor’s section.
  6. Consider taking the course at a different school over the summer break. But first make sure your school will accept the course credit. You can check at the registrar’s office. You may need to get some documentation of the course content from the other school.

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