What Happens If You Fail A Class In College? What To Do?

What Happens If You Fail A Class In College - 2400Expert

Failing a class in college can be a daunting experience, but it’s not the end of the world. However, it is important to understand the consequences of failing and what steps you should take to recover from it.

Depending on the college or university’s policies, failure in a class could have serious repercussions, including academic probation, suspension, or even dismissal.

Financial aid could also be affected, as some scholarships or grants require you to maintain a certain grade point average. Nevertheless, there are ways to recover from a failed class, whether retaking the course, seeking tutoring or counseling or exploring course substitution options.

In this article, we will delve into the consequences of failing a class in college and what to do to get back on track.

What Happens When You Fail a Class in College?

1. Affects your GPA


The first potential consequence is that it might hamper your Grade Point Average (GPA), as you’ll get a zero on your transcript for the failed class.

Affects your GPA

We’re saying it as “it might hamper your GPA” and not “hamper your GPA” because not all grades are considered for GPA calculation.

It depends on your college, as some classes are taken as pass or fail and do not receive a letter grade and, thus, are not included in the calculation for your GPA.

2. Retaking the failed Class

Retaking a failed class is an excellent option to save your grades, but that doesn’t always work.

Depending on your college, the grade for your failed class could be replaced entirely by the retaken class or partially replaced to combine grades.

Retaking the failed Class

Over 90% of colleges allow students to retake a failed class.

However, some colleges even limit the number of retakes for a class.

3. Dismissal

Different institutions have different policies, and many of them could be a little stringent when it comes to failing classes.


If a college notices your multiple failings, it might consider you unfit for the major or a reckless person who doesn’t takes education seriously and can dismiss you on these grounds.

3. Financial Aid Cancellation

Grants, Loans, and Scholarships act as Financial Aid to enrolled students to assist them in their education. These aiding institutions have their policies.

Some grants require your GPA to continue receiving the amount. For example, if you fail a class and retake it, you might receive a sheared amount or nothing.

On the other hand, scholarships are primarily merit-based, subject to your grades and academic achievements. You may lose your scholarship or even have to pay back any amount that has been issued already.

What to do next?

Where do we go now what they're gone

The world continues to move ahead. Even the Earth’s mightiest heroes (Avengers) didn’t give up when they lost everything. They didn’t lose hope when there was no hope left. They didn’t give up trying. So must you.

You might be in this situation currently, or probably you’re looking for answers to such a situation in advance. Whatever may be the case, here’s what you should do.

1. Know what went wrong?

First, face reality rather than get upset with your result and know that it happens and it’s normal. Be honest with yourself about your attempt.

Some of the questions that you should ask yourself are:

  • Was everything okay from my side?
  • Did I submit the assignments on time?
  • Did I give enough time for my studies?
  • Was there any other situation other than an emergency?
  • Is my extracurricular activity or job acting as an obstacle?
  • Did I get a bad teacher, and my concepts remained unclear?

Once you find out the exact reason and if it can be resolved alone, work on it, organize things, and get it done, or else ask for help.

2. Talk to your professor.

If you cannot resolve the problem alone, seek help and talk with your professor. Your professor might allow you to submit a missing assignment, saving you from failing the class.

Get it cleared from your professor whether or not it is possible to pass the class with your current grade. Ask them about various ways to pass the class.

Clear your doubts regarding the subject. Ask your professor if you can attend their extra lectures, ask for important notes and follow their advice.

3. Check the College Policies

Every college has its own set of policies. Check the policies regarding failing grades.

Try to look for answers to some of the questions like:

  • Am I allowed to retake a failed class? If yes, how many times?
  • How’re the grades counted towards General Education Requirement?
  • What are the policies on pass-or-fail and dropping a class?
  • Spend some time researching these policies and knowing your available options. 

    4. Talk to your Academic Counsellor.

    Everyone’s got their challenges in life. Even the most optimistic ones, the brilliant ones, the perfect ones, and the ideal ones need help at some point.

    And that’s why most colleges nowadays have certified internal counselors.

    The first thing to know here is that if you’re seeking help, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re weak, helpless, or abnormal. We all need help at some point, and there’s no shame in asking for it.

    Be frank with your counselor. Your counselor might give some study tips, ask you to join study groups, and do specific exercises, activities, and whatever is necessary for your improvement. Follow their advice, and you’ll notice a change.

    5. Private Coaching

    If your concepts regarding a particular subject still need to be cleared in your regular classes, try joining private coaching or hiring a tutor.

    Again, it’s not a shame if you’re getting tutored for a subject that other students pass easily with a good grade. It’s just all about your style of understanding the concept or topic. For others, it might be 2+3=5, but for you, it could be 1+4=5.

    You can try different private coaching and choose the one that best syncs with your level of understanding.

    Related read;

    And In the End

    Know that it’s not the End. Learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating them. Work on your weak points, plan well and ask for help if needed.

    Don’t keep things up to yourself. Discuss it openly with your trusted ones around. Maybe your classmate could be a far better teacher than your professor. With this approach, you’ll learn about new things, ideas, and approaches toward your studies.

    Know that you’re in college to learn new things and have new experiences; failure is just one of them. Learn from these experiences and make the most out of them.

    Yes, failure can negatively affect your GPA, but there are still chances that you make up for it. So look for ways to clear the mess with the above-guided steps.

    And even if that doesn’t work, several other cups of tea are ready to be yours.


    Does this failure has life-long implications?

    Yes, only when it’s too late & you’re left with no options for improving your grades. In such a case, it’ll reflect on your transcript.

    Is it normal to fail a class in college?

    Normal! Among various taboos, Failure is considered one of them by many, whereas was told someone years ago that “Failure is the First Step to Success.”

    What is Better, Dropping a Class or Failing?

    Talking in general, dropping a class is a better option. In this way, you get saved from getting an F on your transcript, which would’ve affected your GPA.

    Moreover, you may also be eligible to continue receiving financial aid.

    What are the potential/probable reasons for failing a class in college?

    The reasons may vary from person to person. 

    Some of the reasons might be: not attending classes regularly, inattention to your studies, confusion regarding the concepts/topics, too much load at once, and needing to select the right major.

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