Getting Help: Academic Resources and Academic Probation
The first thing you should do if you are having difficulty in a course (or just not performing as well as you would like) is to talk with your instructor. You may also want to find either a study group or a study partner. If you need help making the transition to U.S. academic writing, consider taking one of the courses at the ELI. The University also offers a wide range of Study Centers including the Language Resource Center, the Math Lab, the Physics Help Room, Science Learning Center and Sweetland Center for Writing.
In addition, many departments offer either free or for pay tutoring services.
You should try hard to use the first three weeks of class (ten days in spring or summer terms) before the drop/add deadline, to shop for classes. If you know right away you don't like a class, start finding another immediately. You should make every attempt to end up with a load of classes that you enjoy. Always print your schedule and verify it for accuracy before the drop/add deadline. You will be held responsible for it. Also check your grading status for each course because the Pass/Fail deadline is the same as the drop/add one.
You receive a "W" in a class if you withdraw from it between the end of the third week and the ninth week of class. In order to withdraw, you need to get a "Late Drop" form, either by stopping at the Advising Center, 1255 Angell, or downloading the form from the web. You will need both your advisor's and your instructor's signature on the form and you MUST bring it back to our office before the deadline. If you know that you won't pass a course or that you aren't going to be as successful as you need to be, you probably should withdraw from a course. Also, if you're putting so much time and effort into one course that you are harming your performance in other courses, you should consider withdrawing from the problem course.
How does a "W" look on your transcript? Here's a simple answer: a "W" looks a lot better than a D and whole lot better than an E. If you have doubts about withdrawing from a course, see your advisor.
Having difficulty with classes is a new experience for most students coming to the College and can be pretty upsetting. However, it does happen and you need to make wise decisions if you find that you have fallen behind or are not doing well in your classes. Your first recourse is to contact your advisor as soon as you realize you are having trouble with one or more of your classes. Your advisor can help you think through how to handle the situation.
If you do finish a term with a grade point average below 2.0 (C), you will typically be put on some kind of probation. This will require that you meet with your advisor or with an Academic Standards Board member. Who you need to see will be spelled out in an e-mail or letter sent at the end of the term. Occasionally students are asked to take time off before continuing. Details about Academic Probation can be found here.
Petitioning the Academic Standards Board is a way of asking for an exception to some college policy. A form, a sample letter and information on petitioning can be downloaded here.