The pros and cons of dropping a class

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September is drawing to a close and Reading Week is creeping up on us far too quickly. It’s at about this time when students realize they have over-committed, and have no time to take a deep breath let alone have a life outside of their commitments. However, here are things that can be done, and one of those things is dropping a class. We’ve all wanted this and some of us have actually done it. A full course load at Brock University is five credits, but students can actually take as little as three credits per year and still be considered a full time student, giving them access to health insurance, a bus pass and anything else covered by student fees. Dropping a class is not an easy decision though. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to help you decide if it’s for you.

Pros:
More time for your other classes: sometimes you take an extra class just to fill in a gap on your schedule (or maybe you thought you had to take five credits per year). By letting that class go, you can make time for your other classes, possibly increasing your grade.
More time for your mental health: student stress is so common that most people think being completely overwhelmed is normal and they just have to deal with it. You don’t! If you find yourself running around between classes, always behind, feeling like you can never catch up, dropping a class may lighten some of the load.
Time for a part-time job: Financial concerns may be a part of your reason for worrying about your course load. Letting one class go might help you find some time to fill in that financial gap with a part-time job. $50 extra a week can make all the difference.
No Academic penalty: If you withdraw from a class before November 7 for D1 courses, you won’t receive any academic penalty for doing so. The class will still appear on your transcript but your grade will not be with it. That’s why your professors have to provide you with 15 per cent of your grade by a certain date in the semester. This way you can choose to leave the class if it’s just not working out for you. Different durations have different withdrawal dates, and so do different degree levels.
Cons:
You need 20 credits to graduate: Taking five credits per year can lead to graduating in the traditional four year time frame of a Brock undergraduate program. Dropping even half a credit can put you a little bit behind. You might end up having to take a spring or summer semester course if you want to stick to that time frame.
OSAP: removing one or more classes from your schedule could impact your OSAP loans. Loans are often distributed based on your course load and changing that might make you ineligible for some of the funds you may have already received. For more information on OSAP and other financial matters such as bursaries or scholarships, speak with an advisor at the financial aid office or check the OSAP website.
You might not get your money back: Depending on how many classes you signed up for when you first registered, you might be on a flat rate tuition structure. Students who are take four credits per year or more will all be charged the same rate. This means that if you are taking five credits and want to go down to four, you won’t get a refund. Also, depending on how late in the semester it is when you decide to drop the class, even if you’re taking 3.5 credits or less you may not receive the full cost of your course back, or anything at all.

So. You’ve decided you’re going to drop a class. How do you do that? The add/drop period ended after the second week of the semester, which makes the process only slightly more complicated than pushing a button on your my.brocku.ca page. You can’t just stop showing up. That just gets you a very bad grade that you might have trouble explaining later if you want to apply to graduate programs. In order to drop a class now, students will have to fill out a course withdrawal form which you can pick up at the registrar’s office or print from the website. Fill in the relevant information about yourself and the class you want to drop, and then drop off the form at the registrar’s office. It may take some time to process, so it might be a good idea to let the professor know that you’ve decided to drop the class.
If you’re considering dropping ALL of your courses (as in leaving Brock entirely), or taking a semester or year off — It can be really helpful, I’ve done it — the process is more complex and can cost you a bit of money. For more information on that, speak to an academic advisor, who may be able to help you figure out a better solution.
If you find that you’re more stressed than you thought, remember that there are services on campus to help you with any number of concerns, from financial to academic to mental health. Emergency bursaries and a food bank can be available to students with financial difficulties. Academic advisors are there to help with students who are questioning if they’re in the right program or not. Personal counseling services are available for students who need someone to talk to about everything from relationships, homesickness, stress, and many other things. To make an appointment visit https://brocku.ca/personal-counseling/
Your mental health is important. If you are in crisis, there are services that can help. If you need to speak with someone right away, please contact the Good 2 Talk 24 hour hotline at 1-866-925-5454, or the Niagara distress Centre at 905-688-3711 for help. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911 right away.

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