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Should he drop Physics I


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Here's the scenario:

 

Ds is a senior taking Calculus based Physics I at the community college. He feels like the class is challenging but not something he doesn't understand. He just bombed his first exam last night. There are four exams all counting as 20% of the grade.

 

He wants to withdraw so that this grade does not tank his gpa for college admission. If he withdraws now, it will be a "W" on his transcript, which to my recollection, looks bad. Or he can try to get that grade up knowing it won't be an "A", but also knowing his gpa will take a hit. Let's juts say he's not used to failing a test so he was/is a bit traumatized.

 

What says you? Opinions?

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He doesn't have the results back yet but there were only 5 questions, 2 of which he didn't complete and after talking with classmates, he recognized that he did worse than he thought. Exams are 20% of the grade. This was 1 of 4 exams.

 

The thing is, he wants to enter a STEM major, so anything lower than a "B" may look bad.

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He should wait until he gets the exam back. He can still get a good grade: the exam is only 20% of the course; if he got a D with 60%, he has only lost 8% of the total points, which means he can still get an A in the course.

What is the latest day to drop at all? If he is past the date of the W not showing on the transcript, he can wait as there is nothing gained in dropping hastily.

 

He should make an appointment to discuss his performance with the instructor, ask for ways to improve, inquire about learning assistance, and critically evaluate if he is spending sufficient time on the course (my students should put in 8-10 hours per week outside of class for a 4 hour calc based physics course.) Many of my students who start weak can recover if they simply increase time on task.

 

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Possibly he should ask the Instructor for an appointment and ask for guidance. If your DS feels that he understands the material and then he bombs the examination, your DS is lacking comprehension.  regentdude teaches Calc based Physics. Hopefully she will see this thread and reply with suggestions for your DS.

 

ETA: After I posted I saw that regentdude had replied, while I was writing my reply   :-)

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Possibly he should ask the Instructor for an appointment and ask for guidance. If your DS feels that he understands the material and then he bombs the examination, your DS is lacking comprehension.  regentdude teaches Calc based Physics. Hopefully she will see this thread and reply with suggestions for your DS.

 

ETA: After I posted I saw that regentdude had replied, while I was writing my reply   :-)

 

Lanny, first I thought it was a typo, but now that you wrote it again in the ETA:

I am not  regentDude (nor dude of any kind). I am regentRude. That's the name of a character in a German fairy tale, a kind of rain fairy :-)

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Yes, exactly.  There is no benefit to dropping after the drop/add date but before the official withdrawal date. 

He should wait until he gets the exam back. He can still get a good grade: the exam is only 20% of the course; if he got a D with 60%, he has only lost 8% of the total points, which means he can still get an A in the course.

What is the latest day to drop at all? If he is past the date of the W not showing on the transcript, he can wait as there is nothing gained in dropping hastily.

 

He should make an appointment to discuss his performance with the instructor, ask for ways to improve, inquire about learning assistance, and critically evaluate if he is spending sufficient time on the course (my students should put in 8-10 hours per week outside of class for a 4 hour calc based physics course.) Many of my students who start weak can recover if they simply increase time on task.

 

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Does he/do you want his first really challenging class to happen now while he's home and attending community college, or when he's a new freshman at his 4 year college?  This is an opportunity for him to figure out what more is needed to do well in the class.  Study group, attending professor's office hours, tutoring, learning center, reading the text or a different one, taking better notes, improving test study - all of these should be available to him.  Good to learn how to use these now so he's ready for the next step up.  Even if he ends up with a B, how he took on the challenge could make for a good essay on applications. 

 

Another option, if he needs more of a foundation or is having trouble with the calculus part,  would be to find out if he can drop this class and join the non-calculus based physics class.  He'd likely need to talk with his professor and the dean or dept chair as this may require an override in administration. 

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Lanny, first I thought it was a typo, but now that you wrote it again in the ETA:

I am not  regentDude (nor dude of any kind). I am regentRude. That's the name of a character in a German fairy tale, a kind of rain fairy :-)

 

Maybe your dh can be regentdude!  

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Another voice here encouraging at least waiting to see the grade. An even bigger issue, IMO, is having the experience of weathering a bump in the road and figuring out how to problem-solve when things have not gone well.

 

I think it's a huge mistake to encourage kids to jump onto the bandwagon of "grades at all costs".  Yes, it is how you polish your resume to make yourself look Ivy qualified-no question that college admissions these days (to very completive schools) demand a complete lack of any whiff of failure.  Yet I think this failure avoidance does a disservice to students.  Is your student amenable to guidance from you?  If so, it could be a valuable learning experience for him to work with you to learn how to master the material.  But navigating a challenge is valuable for its own sake.  

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If he's concerned with how his transcript will look to colleges, he should be aware that a W will suggest that it's possible he dropped it due to not doing well.  There are other reasons, but generally students drop due to a projected grade much worse than a B.  If he's aiming for top tier colleges and he's projecting a C or worse even after speaking with his professor and trying to improve, and he's at the end of the withdrawal period, then dropping might be better from an admissions point of view.  If he's a STEM student, then he should really consider taking the algebra based physics next semester so he's better prepared for when he gets to his 4 year.

 

Regarding his high school GPA, if you're weighting the DE courses, then even a B will still be 4.0 for the GPA. 

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Lanny, first I thought it was a typo, but now that you wrote it again in the ETA:

I am not  regentDude (nor dude of any kind). I am regentRude. That's the name of a character in a German fairy tale, a kind of rain fairy :-)

 

Love this! I knew your board name must either be a fun combination of two names (like, "Regan" and "Trudy" -- maybe you and your spouse, or your DC), or a reference to something. Love the idea of a rain fairy! :) Alas, I was clearly very UNcreative the day I created my board name… ;) Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Yes, FWIW I had some "W" grades on my transcript, and never, ever got asked about them. They always say to be prepared with a reasonable explanation, but I was never asked in my 15 years of professional work before children or in my years teaching at the college level (16+ years). In my case it was sometimes getting in too deep, and in others it was health problems where I recognized that bailing was in my favor.

 

But look at the bigger picture and talk to the professor. Sometimes more effort will indeed turn it around, but I wouldn't be afraid of bailing either.

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Lanny, first I thought it was a typo, but now that you wrote it again in the ETA:

I am not  regentDude (nor dude of any kind). I am regentRude. That's the name of a character in a German fairy tale, a kind of rain fairy :-)

I guessed that it was old family surname

http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=regentrude

 

thanks for the info

 

I certainly didn't think you were a "dude".

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My son's math grades at the CC went like this--Calc I B+, Calc II C+, Calc III W.  The way things were going, the Calc III grade was going to be a D or an F if he hadn't withdrawn.

 

My son ended up getting into four of the five fairly selective, engineering-focused schools he applied to (and was waitlisted at the fifth), so it didn't hurt him in that regard.  They knew about the W (and the C+) when they admitted him as he applied after his senior year was over.

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