What Happens If You Fail a Class?

Failing grade

University is a rollercoaster of emotions. There are many great times, such as when you make new friends, find a class you love, and explore new interests through extracurriculars. However, there are also stressful times, including when you’re studying for tough exams, writing difficult papers, and, worst of all, failing. Many students worry they may fail something — whether a test or an entire class. In the case this does happen to you, it’s important to know what comes next.

Reach Out to Your Professor

Failing a final exam may mean you receive a failing grade for the class as a whole. However, you still may be able to bounce back. Reach out to your professor immediately to talk about your result and whether there’s anything you can do to avoid failing the class, such as by doing an assignment for extra credit.

Even if you’re sure there’s no chance of resolution, you should talk to your professor — to find out where you went wrong. This will help you avoid similar mistakes in the future.

Appeal the Grade

Professors sometimes make mistakes, which could lead to a grade you feel is unfair. Discussing why you received a failing grade with your professor should reveal if it was a fair assessment of your work. If you feel it was not but your professor is unwilling to change the grade, discuss the possibility of a grade appeal with your academic advisor. This is extra important if failing will lower your GPA to the point you lose financial aid or hurt your chances of being accepted to a graduate program.

Decide If You’ll Retake the Class

If you’re unable to change your grade, you need to decide if you’ll retake the class or choose something else instead. If you retake, it’s important to avoid making the same mistakes. You may need to become better organized, seek support from a tutor, or take the class with a different professor or in a different format — such as online or hybrid instead of in person.

Rethink Your Major

If the class is a requirement for your major, you may think there’s no option but to retake it. However, if you are consistently receiving bad or failing grades to the point that your GPA is much lower than you’d like or you’ll be graduating later than you wanted to, you should consider if it’s a good idea to switch majors. Ask yourself whether your career goals are the same as when you started university or whether other classes have revealed new passions you could pursue. Failing a class could lead to the realization that you’re on the wrong path and that another option would better match your strengths.

Whereas failing a class is far from the end of the world, it’s always best to do everything in your power to prevent it from happening. One step to take is to move out of student residence. Ottawa has 1Eleven — off-campus student housing where you’ll have your own space to study in peace. In addition to the desk in your bedroom or bachelor suite, you’ll be able to use our dedicated study spaces. Contact us today, while there are still limited rooms available.

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