Lee Bierer - Nationally Syndicated Columnist and Independent College Counselor.

Is it OK to drop a high school course?

It seems once a senior clears the first semester hurdle, they think the rest of the year is downhill and colleges don’t care about what they do. Little could be further from the truth.

Many parents have contacted me seeking approval for their child to drop a course midyear. They are not sure if it is okay, but their high schooler has tried to convince them that colleges won’t see their grades and it doesn’t matter.

Colleges will not see their final grades before the admissions decision is made, but most colleges will request an end-of-year transcript and a dropped course will be noted and may raise concerns.

Guidance counselors, with good reason, are vehemently against dropping courses. Some schools even require parents and students to sign a letter acknowledging the risk they are taking related to college admission.

Some students try to get creative and suggest substituting an online course instead of the one offered at their high school and this too is not looked upon favorably. According to Brown University, “The very fact that they want to take it online instead will raise eyebrows. If they are taking it anyway, why don’t they just stay in class? If there is a scheduling conflict with another advanced course and the school endorses the change for that reason, then we’ll accept that, but if they are simply substituting an online option for an in-class option, we will be less understanding.”

Colleges look at the transcript as a predictor of future performance based on the rigor of the courses taken. If colleges find out that students have dropped classes after they were admitted, it could be considered grounds for revoking the offer of admission. The bait-and-switch plan of signing up for a rigorous course and then dropping it after first semester is not worth the risk.

I checked out what College Confidential ( www.collegeconfidential .com ) had to say. CC is a great Web site with an online forum where students and parents ask questions and share information. Here’s what I found:

Question: I’m thinking about dropping a course so that I could have more time to concentrate on my more important AP courses. Do you think that doing so will have adverse effects on my acceptances? Could they revoke my admissions offer?

Answer: It may. What might happen is that you may not be told you got rescinded for dropping until late fall, too late to do anything. A friend dropped a class senior year and was told not to come to college the week before she was to start classes. It took that long for Admissions to review her final high school transcript and then they yanked her, a cautionary tale.


209 Responses to “Is it OK to drop a high school course?”

  1. megan says:

    I’m a senior and I’ve been taking a class called Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow because I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I now realize that I do not want to be a teacher and we are barely in our home school for the class. We are out at other schools teaching and observing. We have multiple assignment that are requird to be done within every 9 weeks. I don’t feel like I can keep up with all the assignments and leson plans not being in the classroom. Should I drop the class or stay in it until graduation in June?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Call URI right away and see what they say. Fingers crossed they say you can drop it.

    • Lee Bierer says:

      You’ll need to contact the school(s) you are most interested in and ask them exactly how they feel about you dropping the course. If you receive their “blessing” then drop it, otherwise, stay with it.

      • Sachi V says:

        Hi i am taking 6 ap/honors this year and I want to drop my ap computer science course. i have until tomorrow to do this without it showing up as an F on my transcripts. i am a junior in high school. How bad would it look on college aps.

  2. Adam says:

    Also, I’m a senior and I had to drop a World Geography pace (booklet) in order to have time for the online calculus course.

  3. changhun says:

    what happens if i’m trying to drop a full-year course at the end of one semester? So my grade for the first semester has already come out, and i can make a choice between completing it or dropping it. Will it be bad for me to quit?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Are you sure your high school will allow you to drop a year-long course mid-way? Quitting doesn’t look good, but neither does a very low grade. What would you be replacing that course with?

  4. Michelle says:

    I am a junior in high school and I signed up for AP US history, AP English, and Honors Chemistry. They are all yearlong course and needless to say, I bit off more than I could actually chew. I finished off the first semester with a C+ in history, a B in english, and a B- in chemistry. Spring sports will be starting soon and my school has a 10 day rule before students can no longer change their schedules.
    I’m thinking about dropping my chemistry class since I was originally only planning to take normal chemistry instead of honors. But due to the classes and electives I chose, there wasn’t enough leeway for me to change my classes. So I was put into honors chemistry and the school newspaper class. I’m not that great at math and chemistry involves math, so it’s kind of like I’m taking two math classes.
    In shorter terms, I plan to focus more on my other AP classes so I can get a better grade and so I think dropping this class will benefit my GPA. I would really like it if you could tell me thoughts before I turn in the papers to switch classes. Keep in mind that the year before I took all normal classes and I’m used to having at least a 3.8+ GPA.
    Thanks for listening to my concerns!

    • Lee Bierer says:

      It really depends on what you will take instead of chemistry and where you will be applying to college. I can help more if you give me more details.

  5. Scott says:

    My D is going to get her first C+ in AP English Lit for Fall senior year. She applied only RDs. The rest of her midyear is (Physics Honor A, Japanese 3 A, AP Stat A-, Independent Study A-, Sociology Honor B+, Multi-variable Calculus B, AP Econ B-, AP Eng4 C+). Would this be a serious blow for her at Ivys and other top schools? She is intended an engineering major.

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Not necessarily – but if the colleges don’t require her to send her first semester grades then, don’t send them.

  6. Ryan says:

    So it’s 2nd semester senior year now and I dropped AP Spanish after taking it first semester and getting an A. I’ve been the perfect student throughout high school never getting an A-, but I’m kind of worrying about getting rescinded for dropping this class. I don’t think that it’s a big deal but IDK. And yes, other than dropping AP Spanish, I’ve been taking the hardest coursework. Also, I have applied to the highest top tier schools (HYP). Is it no big deal that I dropped this class?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Congrats on your performance thus far, however, I think it might have been risky. You’ll never know. If you don’t get accepted you could blame it on dropping the AP, but honestly, it’s just too tough. Did your applications ask that you inform the schools if you have dropped the class? Ask your school guidance counselor. If you need to inform them that you dropped the class, you’ll need to have a reason for dropping it. Obviously, it wasn’t your performance. Good luck. I’d love it if you kept me posted on what happens.

      • Ryan says:

        I do not plan on informing them of my dropping the class and am waiting for admission results. They will not know that I dropped this class by the time they make admission decisions.

        It isn’t explicitly stated anywhere to inform them that I dropped it and I don’t want them to know I dropped the class before admissions. Also, I asked my guidance counselor before I dropped it and he didn’t think it was a big deal but I really don’t know. Also, I dropped the class because I had a schedule conflict and started taking it at like this separate school attached to mine but it was getting really annoying and stressful.

  7. Dennis says:

    I am currently taking an Online Accounting course and want to drop it because I have been having issues with my internet. I have swim practice from 1:38 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. everyday and don’t find myself with enough time to go to the local library as I have more important courses to focus on. The Accounting course is not an A-G required course but a career class I had to take to graduate. I know have the credits to graduate and was wondering if UC schools would be okay with me dropping this course.

    • Lee Bierer says:

      You’ll need to contact the specific UCs directly. Sorry I can’t be of much help – it really is on a case-by-case basis. Good luck.

  8. Mary says:

    I’m currently in gr 11 taking a gr 12 class that I was planning to drop since I’m actually failing the course. I spoke to my vice principal about this and he told me that he would take it off my transcript and according to him, it’d be like I never took it. Will they still see that even though he took it off my transcript? I’m not sure if its better to stay and fail or withdraw.

  9. Mary says:

    I’m currently a gr 11 student taking a gr 12 course that I’m failing, and after speaking to my vice principal, he said that he’d take it off my transcript. Would universities still see this? I’m not sure if its better to fail the course and to stay or to withdraw from it. Do they see my gr 12 marks in gr 11?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Pretty surprising that they would take it off your transcript. Get a copy of your transcript and get it confirmed.

  10. Tony says:

    Hello, I am a sophmore and chose AP euro instead of AP psychology, it is currently summer and i decided i wanted to take AP phsyc instead of AP Euro, Would this look bad on my transcript or would it be fine?

  11. Derek says:

    I am going into my senior year & am struggling with the decision to take either AP Euro or a basic statistics class – I am going to major in Accounting & will need to take it in college. I did write to my 3 top choice schools & 2 out of the 3 said it was ok to take statistics (the class I am really interested in taking). The 3rd school said they would want to see the rigor. I am already taking 2 APs and 2 honor classes. I have been told that the AP Euro will help me get into college while the stats class will help me in college. Can you advise? thanks.

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Unfortunately there is really not enough info here for me to help you. Where are you applying? What is your GPA and your test scores?

  12. June says:

    Hello, my S doesn’t wants to take Spanish 4. He already took Spanish 3 online. Finally we force him to take Spanish 4 and he agreed. however, he wants to keep AP Econ. at school and take Spanish 4 online. H
    He already took 7 AP classes and took 8 AP tests with 5. We want him to apply top schools. Do you think two years-online language classes will hurt his chance? He is intended in English & History major. Should we force him to change his schedule at school (drop AP Econ and take Spanish 4)? Thank you!

  13. Lisa says:

    I am a senior in HS. I’m wondering if it will hurt my college applications if I drop French 3 in order to take Marine Bio, giving me 4 years of a lab science. I’ve missed the cut-off to drop a class by 1 week. I am hoping to apply as an engineering major in college. Thank you.

    • Lee Bierer says:

      It could. Many colleges require three years of a foreign language, some recommend 4. Check your colleges and their specific requirements/recommendations.

  14. Shelly says:

    Hello, I’m currently a senior in high school. How bad do you think it looks to a college if I were to drop an AP class? My cumulative GPA is above 4.0; last year I took AP Language, and this year I’m taking a total of three AP classes – Calculus BC, Biology, and Lit – and I’m planning to drop Biology. I already took honors biology last year, so I have my three science credits necessary for me to graduate, and the only reason I signed up for this class was to take the exam and get credits for college In all honesty, I love biology and I got As last year, but this year is different; I’m currently getting a low C and I feel as though I can’t handle the stress, like I’m about to explode from it. My only “easy class” is Ceramics – Senior Project is killer because of the major research paper and the 25+ hours of fieldwork required, while Band is time-consuming and difficult to get an A because of strict grading. I’m also in clubs – Interact, Math Team, Science Academic Team – and I’m in marching band. Marching band especially takes up a good chunk of my time – although we only practice three days a week, the practices run up to 9pm and by the time I’m starting homework it’s already 10pm – I usually average 2-3 hours of sleep on those days. On top of all that is college admissions, and I have not started my personal essay or gotten any teacher recommendations. I feel so behind and there’s this feeling of not having any time to myself at all. I know it’ll get better after November (which is when marching band season ends), but I don’t think I can handle the stress until then.

    If I were to drop AP Bio, I would probably just TA (teacher’s assistant) because I can’t get credit for any other classes even if I were to switch into them now. I know it’s bad, but at this point I’ve just given up on AP Bio. My bio teacher says if I stick it out, I can definitely get a 3 or a 4 on the exam, but I don’t think I can handle it until then. My parents are reluctant to say yes, but to them it’s better than dropping Senior Project, which is required to become a valedictorian. Do you think dropping AP Bio would affect my chances of getting accepted to colleges and universities? I’m currently looking at UH Manoa, Stanford, USC, UCLA, and University of Chicago as my choices.
    Thank you!

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Wow! You’re doing a lot. Are you in the running for valedictorian? What are your test scores? Dropping AP Bio might make sense because of all the stress you seem to be dealing with. But it sounds like you might also be able to pick up the grade and score well on the test. I think you need to focus on your time management and figure out what your priorities are. If you are applying to Stanford and USC – your essays have to be wonderful and creative. When will you find the time to write them? So sorry for all the stress. The only thing I know for certain is that you are a dedicated student and a year from now you will be happy at whatever school you choose. Good luck.

  15. Kristy says:

    I’m a senior and am currently taking AP Calculus. However, I’m struggling in it a lot and have a really bad grade in it. I’ve gotten help but I still don’t fully understand it and it’s just getting more difficult. First semester still hasn’t ended in my school and I already submitted most of my college applications. Would it be bad if i dropped this course?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Check to see if your school will even allow you to drop the course, most high schools won’t allow it. Then, contact the colleges you applied to and ask them how they feel about it — try not to give your name, if possible.

  16. Allie says:

    I am a senior in high school and am taking AP Chemistry, AP Physics C, AP Literature, AP Calculus BC, and AP Microeconomics. How bad will it look if I drop AP Microeconomics for regular economics? I had straight A’s before senior year (I took 5 AP’s last year as well). My first semester has ended and I received a C in Physics and B’s in calc and lit. I received A’s in all my other classes (just some context).

    Thank You!

    • Lee Bierer says:

      According to what you wrote – you received an A in AP Micro (unless it is a one semester course) – I would suggest keeping it and not drawing attention to your first semester grades.

  17. Bethany says:

    If i already finished a semester and want to drop a class becuase im not doing well can i ?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      check with your school – not typically a good idea because you’ll have to report it to all of your colleges.

  18. Farrah says:

    I was currently taking Precalc and I decided to be placed back into trig/Precalc for second semester rather than continue with the full year of Precalc. I already received acceptance letters from colleges but I am scared that I will get revoked when I send in my final transcript. I received a B first semester and I am worried that I will get an even lower grade second semester. So I dropped the foul year of Precalc and decided on trig/Precalc. How bad would that look on my transcripts. My grades are already good I average around a 3.9 and have taken ap courses.

    • Lee Bierer says:

      You will likely be fine. I would suggest being proactive and contacting the college(s) where you’ve been accepted and notifying them before sending in your transcript.

  19. Emily says:


    I am currently a second semester high school senior and I am considering dropping IB Biochemistry. It is a one semester science elective that is supposed to help prepare students for parts of the AP and/or IB Biology exam.

    The problem is that I was unknowingly supposed to have Chem II background to understand the course, even though Chem II was not listed as a prerequisite for the course. Now I don’t understand anything in the class and see myself getting a C or worse as my final grade. I have gotten mainly As and a few Bs in my entire high school career.
    I want to drop the course and focus on my other AP classes that I actually have a chance at understanding, but I am concerned that dropping biochemistry will ruin my college admissions chances at UT Austin and UC San Diego.

    What are your thoughts? Is it better to do poorly in the class and potentially other classes while I work hard to understand biochemistry or drop the class and focus more on my other classes?

    Thank you in advance for your advice!

    • Lee Bierer says:

      You seem to have a much better reason than most students who want to drop a class. I think you’ll be fine. Check out to see if your school will allow you to drop it an see if you can find another “rigorous” class to substitute.

  20. Tiffany says:

    I’m a senior and it is second semester. Is it bad if i drop an elective for a free period? I’m already accepted to some schools, so will it affect my admission or lowering my chances of getting accepted to other school?

  21. Kayla says:

    I am taking a video production course at my school. I got an A the first semester and 2nd semester has just begun and I want to drop the class. It requires too much time outside of class, we don’t do anything inside of class at all. Everything in the class I have learned on my own. I want a career in the film industry, so will universities (film schools perhaps) raise eyebrows if they see that I only took my video production class one semester?
    Please respond soon, I have to decide by Monday.

    • Kayla says:

      I am a sophomore with over a 4.0 GPA and I can’t take any AP right now (you have to be a junior at my school) but I am in 2 honors classes. Do you think it would be a good choice to drop video production and take honors music instead?
      I just feel like I’m going nowhere in my video production class. I put in so much work but nothing ever gets recognized. I just put so much time into it and I feel like it is all for nothing. Should I end the misery and drop the class or would it jeopardize my chances of getting into university?

      • Lee Bierer says:

        I think you should whichever interests you more – colleges want you to follow your interests and not a prescribed class schedule.

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Not worth dropping. Stay in the class.

  22. Senior says:

    I am a senior in high school and have finished applying to colleges (all RD).
    I am currently enrolled in AP Calculus BC (as well as AP Chem, AP Stats, AP Macro Econ, world lit, journalism and student government). I have a 3.87 through the first semester of this year.
    I’ve been struggling the past few units in BC Calc, and ended up with a B- as my first semester grade. I am strongly considering dropping BC Calc and enrolling in AB Calc instead. At my school, BC Calc is an extremely rigorous course and nearly all students get 5s on the AP test. I’ve found it very hard to keep up with my other courses and extracurriculars, and feel that in AB I would get the reinforcement I need to feel comfortable with my knowledge of calculus going into college.
    Dropping into AB is obviously not ideal, but something I would feel much better about doing (versus staying in BC). Would this have a super adverse effect on my chances of getting into college? Should I contact schools before and see what they think?
    Thanks so much

  23. Amanda says:

    As an IB senior starting second semester would it be better to finish with the classes i have even if i end up failing a couple of important IB classes and not getting the diploma for IB or to try to switch out of those classes and dropping the program altogether.. if thats even possible at this point.
    Also if I continue with my classes, whether I pass them or not, and end up not getting the IB diploma would that affect admission decisions?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Yes and yes — you need to speak with your Guidance Counselor immediately. Can you graduate if you fail a class? Take some action immediately and yes colleges will care if you drop a class, change a class or fail a class. Good luck.

  24. Bernie says:

    Hi! I’ve already gotten into an Ivy ED, and I’m currently taking (all AP) Psych, AB calc, environmental science, latin, government, and lit. I have a 5.00 GPA out of a possible 5. I am however busying editing and querying my 3rd novel and I don’t have has much time to write as I did before. Right now, AP latin is kind of a joke (no one does the hw and class time is really relaxed) and I keep on thinking that I’d be better off if I dropped it (I’ve already scored high enough on the Latin SAT II to opt out of a language in college). I will probably call admissions office beforehand regardless and talk to my counselor, but before I do any of those things, I just wanted your opinion on the situation. Is it likely that I’ll be rescinded? Thank you!

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Well, first… congrats!! Just ask the college and your guidance counselor. Your guidance counselor probably has a good idea. I’m surprised that your school would let you drop a course this late in the semester. Please post me back and let me know what happened.

  25. Atul says:

    I am accepted at Univ of Texas Austin have applied to Sanford, Duke, Pamona etc. I am through my first semester in Senior year and have all As and excellent GPA. My midyear transcripts have been sent to all the colleges.

    Question: Can i convert all or some of my classes to Pass / Fail for the 2nd semester? How it would impact my admission?

  26. Michelle says:


    My daughter is a junior and is in an AP chemistry class. She got a D her first semester and she has just brought home an F on the first progress report for second semester. We were wanting her to drop the class after the first semester, but her counselor advised her not to. She has already fulfilled the science requirements for her school and does not need this class. She is undecided on her career path, and will most likely go to a junior college upon graduation. Do you see any problem with dropping the class? She is getting all As and 1 B in her other classes.

  27. lucas acker says:


    I am a senior in high school and I was wondering if I could take economics online when im already through the first quarter of the 2nd semester. I am able to drop that class so I can take it online?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      I’m amazed your high school would allow you to drop the class, but if they do, you’ll need to check with the colleges where you’ve already been accepted and see if it is okay with them.

  28. Nichole says:

    Hi! So I am a second semester senior with about a month left of school. I have committed to USC for next year and am worried my Physics grade will possibly get my acceptance rescinded. Last semester I got a C in physics (which I’m assuming USC saw because I sent my midterm grades and applied Regular Decision) , an A in AP Stats, a B in AP Gov, a B in AP English Language, an A in yearbook, and an A in Philosophy. I also completed AP Spanish Language online over the summer with an A both semesters because I had a scheduling conflict. This semester I will get the same grades except possibly a D in physics. I have a 65% right now and need a 69.5% in the class to get a C. I am unsure what to do at this point…should I drop physics because I have enough science credit to still graduate, call USC and explain my situation (I am friends with my admissions rep), or just stick with it and try for the C? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

  29. Julia Marie says:

    I am a senior and have been taking Spanish courses since i entered middle school, but despise taking the class. Would it look bad if going into my senior year i stopped taking it.

    • Lee Bierer says:

      read the other posts here – it totally depends on what colleges you’re applying to and their language requirements and what they recommend.

  30. Daniel Gutierrez says:

    My name is Daniel Gutierrez and I am a junior in High school. I am taking Ap English, physics, Chem ,Comp sci and Calc BC, with regular Spanish 2. Ironically, Spanish 2 is too much( I’ve got 0 background in spanish) and I’ve gotten a really bad start. I’m thinking about dropping it and picking up ap environmental science instead, then taking Spanish 2
    With easier classes in Senior year. Is that a smart move?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      I don’t have enough information to help you. Many colleges want 3 or 4 years of a foreign language and if you drop Spanish this year that means you will only have two years when you graduate.

  31. Rosheanne says:

    Hi, I’m a senior. I want to major in Pharmacy when I get to college.

    Currently my senior classes are Chorus, Physics, English 12 Honors, Financial Management/Econmics, AP Government and Politics US and AP Calculus. I’m also part of Yearbook Staff and FCCLA after school. My parents both work full time and I am the oldest of 2 younger siblings. When parents are out working or having meetings and don’t get back until 10-11, I’m also responsible for helping my younger siblings with their homework as well, taking care of them, cooking food, etc. I am well over my credits for high school especially for math (minimum for advanced diploma is 24 but I’ll be graduating with 29 credits by the end of the year).

    I took AP Calc because it actually was part of the prerequisite course I needed to take in college and so I’m definitely not dropping that class. But I do struggle in it quite a bit. However, I was thinking about dropping AP Gov for regular Government/PolitcsUS because first and foremost, it’s not even a prerequisite class for my intended major. I chose it because I thought it could raise my GPA greatly and I thought I could handle it (my GPA junior year was a 3.8 out of 4.0….all A’s except I barely got a B in Pre-calc). I believe I have good study habbits, I always do my homework/classwork/turn in projects on time, I try not to procrastinate, etc. But, I am very much have been struggling in APGov and it’s been hard on understanding the discussions they have talked about in class no matter how much I study every night and research about government and politics. Although it’s important, I actually have no interests in government and politics, however, I still study as much as I can for that class. I believe that if I keep studying more then I’ll know the information, but that’s pretty much it. All I know is facts and information but I basically have nothing to contribute towards the discussions or the opinionated depth and complexity graded worksheets in class and I understand nothing at all. I know the terms and the basic just of information because I read and study the information everyday, but I’ve still been getting low grades on all my quizzes and tests so far.

    I don’t want to focus so much on failing or not failing the APGov class because I still really have to focus on my APCalculus class that’s a bit more important to me.

    I told my friend that I was going to drop the APGov and go into regular, but then she told me that it will show on my transcript that I dropped a class and sudden fear took over me when she told me that. The top college I want to get accepted into is Virginia Commonwealth University and I really really don’t want them to NOT accept me because of a dropped class if that’s the case. I just want a little advice on what I should do? I want to know how much it will affect my college application (I haven’t turned it in yet) being accepted?

    Please and Thank You

    • Lee Bierer says:

      I don’t have enough information to help you. I need to your test scores, your GPA, etc. Dropping the AP class may not matter. Are you a VA resident? What is your rank in class? How many students are accepted from your high school each year at VA Commonwealth? Fill me in on some details and I’m happy to share my thoughts.

  32. Anya says:

    Hi, I’m a sophomore in high school. I am taking a really difficult AP Euro course, which is taking up most of my time. The deadline to drop without having it show on my transcript has passed, but I can still drop the class. Would it be worth it? Do colleges automatically look at the dropped class on my transcript negatively? I had a 4.2 GPA last year and this year I have all A’s so far, except for AP Euro (the class I want to drop), which I have a B in. The schools I am looking to apply to are UC Berkeley, NYU, and Reed College. Also, I am concerned that not taking an AP class my sophomore year would put me at a disadvantage.


    • Lee Bierer says:

      Ask your guidance counselor – but I think dropping a class, even as a sophomore could hurt. Getting a B in AP Euro as a sophomore is quite the accomplishment. If you can keep it up, you are probably better off staying in the class.

  33. John says:

    I’m taking a part history as a senior but I’ve noticed I wasn’t ready it’s my first ap class and it’s not going well I want to drop and redo a class I got a d in should I or not

  34. John says:

    I am taking Ap art history as a senior and it’s my first Ap class and I have noticed it’s too much I want to drop it and re take a class I got a d in should I or not

    • Lee Bierer says:

      sounds like it makes sense. I really don’t have enough information to help you. I have no idea where you’re applying, your GPA, your test scores, your extracurriculars, etc.

  35. Seth says:

    I am a junior in high school and I want to drop a Chemistry class that I am taking. It’s not AP or honors, just normal Chemistry. It’s a semester long class and I’ve been thinking of dropping halfway through the semester because it is just too much. I hate the teacher, the labs, the work, I just don’t understand it. I am getting a D in it right now but I plan to get my grade up to a C or C+, maybe a B-.. If I dropped it with a C, C+, or B-, would a university frown upon that?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Unfortunately I don’t have enough information to help you, but it sounds like you are in a precarious situation whether you drop the course or not. I’d give a call to one of the colleges you’re considering and ask their admissions office directly.

  36. John Smith says:

    I am a freshman in high school and I am taking AP Calculus. I would like to take the AP Physics class to go along with it, but I signed up for Visual Basic instead. Right now it is way past the deadline and if I make the change, I would likely get a W. Would that be a terrible thing for me? I am in Honors Chemistry and Honors English as well. I also know 2 other freshman in these classes to help support my argument.

  37. Sam says:

    I am a senior thinking about dropping AP Gov and taking gov honors online instead. I currently have 4.0 unweighted and 4.5 weighted, 2200 sat score, top 10 in my class, solid extra curriculars. I am interested in Stanford, USC, Berkeley, UCLA. I am currently taking 6 ap classes and right now I have a B in ap gov. The class is horribly designed and the teacher is new. Do you think colleges would rather see a lone B in ap or a dropped course and an A in gov honors online?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      First, congrats on your academic performance, it’s very impressive. I think if I were you I’d rather not shoot up a red flag by dropping a course and picking up an online honors class. Getting a lone B in your senior year does not mean sudden death. I’d stick with it and see if there’s any chance you can enjoy the class and just do the best you can.

  38. Lanre says:

    I am a senior at a nationally recognized (top 30 in the US) high school in NJ. My GPA is a 2.8 W, 2.7 UW, BUT my SAT score is a 2000. I have decent EC’s. I have already applied to UMass Amherst, Syracuse, Northeastern, Bentley, UNC Wilmington, Quinnipiac, SUNY Binghamton, Hofstra, Stetson, Clark, and Rider (all EA/rolling except Syracuse, which is RD), and I will also apply to University of Pittsburgh within the next week or so. I am a prospective management/international business major.

    I’m doing well in all of my senior year classes so far, but it’s second semester where I have an issue. I have taken math classes through PreCalculus (which is considered a fourth year of math at my high school). I am currently taking Probability & Statistics this semester to be followed by Discrete Math next semester. However, I want to drop Discrete Math second semester because A) it is not required to graduate B) My school has a policy where seniors can be exempt from finals if they have an A average in a class. But, this only applies to full-year courses. So even if I ace Discrete Math, I’d still HAVE to take the final, which annoys me. C) With Discrete Math + Business Principles & Management second semester, I would have a FULL DAY during my second semester. Even worse yet, I would not be able to skip the final for either of these classes if I get an A, just because they are only half-year courses. I have ZERO interest in having a full nine-period day during the second half of my senior year, nor would I want to take an extra unnecessary final. I would much rather enjoy having at least one free period as I do now. I wanted BPM in my schedule AND I need it for my major next year, but the same cannot be said about Discrete. Despite the fact that I have it listed on my Common App that I am taking that class second semester, I really want a free period to enjoy as well as not having to worry about potentially five final exams when I’m taking just four midterms.

    What do you think? Are these grounds for dropping a class from my schedule? Will colleges frown upon this, especially those that admit me? Is it worth dropping Discrete Math in favorable of a more relaxing second semester of senior year?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Without being too snarky, I think you’ve been taking it pretty easy these past few years if your weighted GPA is a 2.8 and you have a SAT score of 2000! Honestly, I’d call each and every college and ask them directly how they would react to dropping a course mid-year. Some colleges may be happy to have you because of your test scores and others are likely to be fussier.

  39. Erica Higley says:

    I am taking AP calculus, AP government, and AP biology. it is my senior year. I am trying to get a scholarship to a UC. AP biology has become a problem. I don’t understand the class and the teacher isn’t very helpful and doesn’t seem to care that I am failing. So my option is either fail the class or drop it. I got straight As my junior year both semesters with an AP class, and I have straight As this semester except for the F in AP bio. I am really worried I am going to lose my scholarship opportunity when they see that grade, but maybe they will realize its just that I don’t understand the class and that I am actually a very hard worker?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Contact the colleges where you are applying and ask them how they’d suggest handling it. Try to NOT give your name, if possible.

  40. Harvey says:

    I am a senior. SAT 2350, GPA 4.2, No grades below B-; NMSC semi finalist.

    I will meet all UC course requirements
    The courses completed include: Chem Honors, AP EU, APUSH, AP Bio
    The courses IP and PL include: AP Calculus BC, AP Mciro/Macro Econ, Adv. Astronomy Honors

    However, I have those flags on my transcript:
    Gr.11 Semester 2, AP French=WP
    Gr.12 Semester 1, AP Physics =WP
    Those WPs were largely due to immaturity. I think I have learned my lesson though.

    Do I have good chance to be accepted by some UC schools and other colleges ranked somewhere between 50 and 150?

  41. Kayne says:

    I’m a sophomore and I need to take two language classes to graduate, but I really don’t like German. I want to drop it try a different a different language. Would it be a good idea to do this?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      As a sophomore it is not as harmful as for a junior or senior – but you need to make sure you can get three years of each foreign language in before you graduate, if your school requires two languages.

  42. Monica says:

    I am currently a Junior in High School. Im enrolled in Physics and its currently the end of the beginning of second quarter. I wanted to change my science earlier in 1st qyarter, so i consulted my counselor alone. She informed me that she couldnt change my class becaus it was too late. I now have decided to consult a different counselor, and my mom is even scheduled for a parent meeting with her. I want to drop Physics for Medical Science-seeing as that is my subject of interest- because i want to major in Nursing when I start college in 2016. Is it alright for me to do this? I am not doing as good as i would like to do in physics, but i am passing. My first quarter grade was a 77. My interests really are in Medical Science so i believe this is best for me, but is this acceptable? My hopes are to apply and be accepted into Howard University located in Washington, DC.

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Unfortunately you haven’t shared enough information with me. I would be surprised if you can drop a class at this late date. Things to consider: what will it say on your transcript? How will it affect your GPA? Rank in Class (if your high school does rank). How competitive are you for Howard if this weren’t an issue?

      You AND your mother should meet with the counselor and make certain everyone is on the same page before you make any decisions.

  43. John says:


    I’m currently a high school senior, with 3.75 unweighted GPA, 35 on ACT. I am currently taking 3 APs now, and doing poorly in AP Calculus BC (barely C). I was told by my school counselor that I should drop the class right now and receive a W on the transcript rather than stay and get a possible F. I would be able to take AP Calculus BC at another institution that is also UC-approved, but slower paced. I am currently looking at UC Irvine, San Diego, UWash, Georgia Tech and CalPoly (CS Major). How bad would the W affect my chances of being accepted?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      As a senior, you should contact each school and ask. I’m guessing it will affect the admissions decision either way (the D or F or the withdrawal).

  44. Gabrielle says:

    I am a high school senior. I am currently enrolled in AP Calculus AB and am thinking about dropping down to Honors Calculus. 1st quarter I barely got a B (mostly because of a summer pre-requisite test that I originally got a 60% on but was able to take it again and I got a 98%). It is now the beginning of 2nd quarter and I failed two tests. My current grade is a 53.3% (F). If I dropped down, I would start the honors class with a 63.3%. Whether I am in Honors or AP, this week I will start meeting with 2 tutors: one tutor I will re-learn the concepts I should know, and one tutor I will review what I am currently learning in the class.

    On my transcript I have all As for Freshman-Junior year. 1st semester Senior grades are all A’s (3 APs, 2 Honors) and a B in Calc (although a misleading B). My GPA is a 4.4, 2130 on the SATs. NMSQT Commended Student. Very involved in school. Mock Trial Captain.

    I’m a smart kid but Calculus has thrown me through a loop.
    If I stay in the class, my goal is to get at least a C- for 2nd quarter.
    Which is better: switching classes (and the implications with colleges on that) or a C/D on my transcript?

    With my student profile, would the schools give me some leeway?

    My top two schools are UMich (Industrial Engineering) and Boston College (Operations Management).

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Yikes – Other than this one course you’re looking so strong. I think it probably makes sense to drop down and then do your best to get the grade up to something more acceptable. A C might be palatable but will make it more challenging. If it drops below a C – you’ll need to really wow them with your essays, etc. Good luck, sorry it is so stressful.

  45. Brandon says:

    Hello, I am a grade 11 student. I am currently taking AP Biology, AP US, and, AP Literature. We have started our quarter 2 about 2 weeks ago. I am considering dropping AP US. I am currently struggling in the class. I finished last quarter with a 59. My current grade is a 69 (due to beginning of quarter). I feel like because I am so behind that there is no way ill catch up in time for the AP tests. Is it worth dropping? I don’t want to completely ruin my life because I dropped a course, or did bad in it. What should I do?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Unfortunately you’re not giving me much information – I have no idea where you’d like to go to school, what the rest of your grades are like, your test scores, your extra curricular activities, etc. Dropping a class in junior year is never advised. Speak with your counselor at school to determine how it would appear on your transcript and how it will affect your GPA and rank in class. Good luck.

  46. David says:

    I am a Junior in High School and this problem is really bothering me. I have a F on one of my programming class because my computer is broken and i can’t work on it, it is now pass 12 weeks in my High School and it will leave a “W” on my transcript and still give me an F for my grade in my GPA, should i keep going with my class or should i drop it?
    Please Help! I can’t sleep these days because of this!

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Speak with your counselor at school and see if they can’t figure out a way to keep you in the class. If not, you’ll need to write a brief essay on why you dropped the course.

  47. Desi says:

    Hi, I’m a home schooled senior and i’m currently taking Precalculus. It is really difficult and i find it incredibly hard to understand. I already have all of my required math credits, so i feel like i’m taking it for nothing. I would like to drop it mid-semester, but i know it will appear on my transcript. Even though i have all the credits necessary, will it still affect me getting into a college?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      Yes, it likely would affect how a college looks at you. Contact each of the schools where you’ll be applying and get the answer directly from them.

  48. Devan says:

    Hi. I am a senior in high school and am taking an online college cal 2 class because my school only offers AP Calc which I took last year. This course is text book based and my four classmates and I have no teacher. It’s pretty much and independent study college class taking in a study hall time period. I do not learn well reading out of a text book and I feel like I’m drowning. I have a high GPA and have always taken the most rigorous classes I felt I could handle. This year I bit off too much and I was hoping to drop this class at semester. My problem is that my only other options are to jump into AP stat halfway through the year or downgrade to college algebra. I feel stuck but I don’t want to ruin my chances of going to a good college. What do you advise?

    • Lee Bierer says:

      I don’t have enough information to really help you. I don’t know your school, your GPA/Rank in class, test scores, where you’re planning on applying, etc. My advice, which I have reiterated numerous times in this thread is to CONTACT EACH OF THE COLLEGES WHERE YOU’RE APPLYING and ask them how they feel and ask them for their recommendations. Nothing will replace those efforts. Good luck.

  49. Laura says:

    I would also like to add it would be the only class I’ve ever dropped.
    I’ve never finished out the year with a class average below a C and it was only Chemistry last year that I did really bad in.

  50. Lee Bierer says:

    Call the college admissions office and ask. Most selective schools wouldn’t be pleased with a curriculum with study halls and art, even if you have enough credits to graduate.

  51. Ashley says:

    I don’t do any ec’s. My mom refuses to drive me around and I have no other options on transportation.I’m a school of choice child and I don’t live in walking distance of my school district and there is nothing in my home district. School is my life basically. It seems that my only other option would be to load up on rigorous courses. My current schedule consists of Economics, Spanish 2, Programming, and Biology, these are my A classes, and Geometry, English 9, and Art are my B classes. Art is only a semester course and I believe English 9 will change when I have a better teacher. Next semester my electives are Video game design and health, Spanish 2 stays. Last year I got an A in Algebra 1 and an A in Spanish 1.

    Would my situation with my mother’s refusal be something to include in a college admission essay?

    Next year I will have to wavier into H American lit, I will probably waiver into H Algebra 2, and H Chemistry will probably be a shoe in since Biology is a joke. (I’ve never really had to try in science). I plan on going to American History, we had it in 8th grade and I found it an easy A but REALLY boring, so I don’t want to go to AP. My electives will probably be Marketing, Spanish 3, and Human Biology.

    This is all I’m sure of at the moment. I’m somewhat worried. I don’t want to seem lazy to colleges, but I have no options. AP’s are more designed for Juniors and Seniors here. I think APUSH is my only option next year.

  52. Lee Bierer says:

    Not sure exactly what your question is but you’ve got a heavy load of courses – if you can’t participate in any extracurriculars outside of school, why not get involved in clubs at school and see if someone else can drive you home afterwards. You will need more than just grades and great test scores to get into the more selective schools.

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