Many students have had classes that were a struggle to get through or even pass with a ‘C’. Prior to the consideration of dropping a class, there are a number of things that can be done in order to turn things around.
Alexis Manzo, a sophomore education major did however have a very difficult Intro to Psychology class last year. She said, “I would have done a lot better had I gotten a peer tutor or visited the writing center now that I look back. At the time, I was happy with a ‘C’ because I thought I worked hard.”
J’Lyn Martin, a former orientation leader said that math wash is most difficult class. “I took advantage of both the math center and help from my friend who excels in the subject,” he explained. “I also get help in writing, a subject which I excel at, through the writing center’s peer tutoring services. I encouraged all of my new students to do the same at orientation.”
Another barrier that can make a class difficult is being placed in language classes based on the number of years of a foreign language a student has taken in high school.
Sophomore Amanda Barnum was placed into two semesters of intermediate Spanish, but did not expect a significant amount of writing and the class to be conducted entirely in Spanish.
“I went to the teacher and even the Tutoring Center for help,” she said. “But I still received a ‘C’ because I had difficulty understanding what the teacher was saying because of the strong combination of accents.”
Expectations are very different from high school and students are expected to seek out resources that may be helpful including going to the professor for extra help. While this may seem uncomfortable, it is often the best way to get advice.
It is important to realize that college is also about being exposed to different things and that challenges should be welcomed. They help students to grow and think critically.
The writing center can help with writing for any subject, not just English. They also help with any stage of the paper including drafts and revisions. The peer tutoring option is great for one-on-one tutoring in a course and is provided by a student who has taken and excelled in it.
Classes in study abroad sites for the University are structured very differently because exams are more applicable in nature (essay based) instead of a combination of multiple choice and essay. Rebecca Leitt, who completed a semester abroad in Australia notes that this change can be very difficult.
“They do not have resources like the writing center and have many more students than MU. While the classes were for my degree (Marine Biology), all of the tests were application based which was difficult.”
Freshmen take first year seminars and/or Education 101 (if registered with Disabilities Services) to assist with these situations.
Erin Kenney, education professor tells her students, “Professors see that students use these resources and most take that into account when determining the final grade, especially if it is teetering between two marks such as C+ or B-. They will go with the higher of the two.”
There are also many first year workshops students can attend including successful strategies for note taking, how to write research papers and even how to prepare for midterms and finals. It should also be considered that exams often count for more of a student’s grade and are more applicable in nature instead of having to memorize the facts.
Kenney added that final exam time is gapped with a reading day prior to the start of tests. “This is a day where no classes meet and students study. It is a good idea to meet with a peer tutor one last time.”
The University also offers workshops for courses that are particularly difficult during the term. These are known as “At risk courses” and are generally in the science department.
There are many resources on campus to help when students have a difficult class including workshops, peer tutoring and even going to the teacher for additional help.