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How Will Withdrawals Affect Me?

  1. Oct 22, 2008 #1
    So I'm a sophomore in college, majoring in electrical/computer engineering (I'm an EE with some CS courses).

    Here's how my college career has looked so far:

    Freshmen (fall semester):
    • Calculus 1 - 4 units, B
    • Chemistry - 3 units, W
    • Chemistry Lab - 1 unit, B
    • English - 3 units, A
    • Immigration History - 3 units, B
    • Intro to Engineering - 3 units, B

    GPA: 3.15, 17 credits attempted, 14 complete.

    Freshmen (spring):
    • Engineering Graphics and Design - 3 units, A-
    • Ancient Civilization History - 3 units, B
    • Calculus 2 - 4 units, W
    • Philosophy - 3 units, C+
    • Physics (Mechanics) - 4 units, C+

    GPA: 2.78, 17 credits attempted, 13 complete.

    Cumulative GPA: 2.97, 27 credits complete

    Freshmen/Sophomore (summer)
    • Calculus 2 - 4 units, B+
    • Java Programming, 4 units, A+
    • Religion, 3 units, A

    Sadly the summer courses only credit transfers over, not grade points. First question: Would I attach the transcripts of the summer classes in addition to my university's official transcripts to my resume? (I took the summer classes at 3 different schools).

    Sophomore (fall) -- these are the grades I have right now
    • Chemistry - 3 units, A
    • Calculus 3 - 4 units, D+
    • Physics (Electricity + Magnetism) - 4 units, C
    • Engineering Statics - 3 units, F
    • Speech - 3 units, A

    This semester has been an extremely tough, rough, and overall horrible semester. I have never had grades like these in my life at mid-semester, so it's rough on me. However, I was sick and missed school for 2 weeks because of it. At this point in time, I don't think I could pull off a C in Engineering Statics and Calculus could go either way. I want to drop Engineering Statics for sure, but I'm not sure if I should keep or drop Calculus 3 as well. These two classes are not required to take the classes next semester; engineering statics is just required for me to graduate and not a pre-req for ANY class I have from spring semester until graduation.

    I'm thinking of making up Engineering Statics during senior year. If I do drop Calculus 3, I'm planning either to make it up next semester or over the summer. Which do you recommend? Or should I keep it?

    My spring semester schedule will look like this:

    Sophomore (spring):
    • Differential Equations - 3 units
    • Circuits - 3 units
    • Logic Design - 3 units
    • Java Programming 2 - 3 units
    • Creative Art Class - 3 units

    If I take Calculus 3 next semester, it would replace the Creative Art Class.

    So here's a recap of the situation:
    • I missed 2 weeks of class due to sickness
    • Not sure if I can get a passing grade in a couple of classes
    • Already talked to professors
    • Dropping Engineering Statics, retaking senior year
    • Might want to drop Calculus 3 and take spring semester or during summer.

    This semester was horrible, but I don't plan on dropping any more classes from here on out until graduation.

    1. How do these withdrawals affect me?
    2. Should I drop Calculus 3 and take it next semester or during summer?
    3. If I get As and Bs from spring semester until graduation, will companies overlook the withdrawals during my underclassmen years?

    I don't want to drop classes anymore because I don't want companies that look at my transcript to think I'm a quitter and unreliable/undedicated, but I don't want to lower my GPA anymore. I know I have a VERY rough start, but how is this going to affect me?

    Oh I ultimately would like to work for Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, Boeing; a military defense contractor. I originally wanted to be a part of AFROTC, but got DQ'd, so I would like to help the military out (please don't think of it as a political stance).
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2008 #2
    There looks to be a trend of taking ~5-6 classes during fall/spring but only passing 4 of them. Considering those are are all 1st/2nd year semesters with what looks like a lot of elective courses (philosophy, English, history, religion) I would say you should back off on the course loads because it will just be a waste of money if this trend continues. I'd probably drop the statics course and keep calculus since presumably it is required for further classes.

    Why did you withdraw those two classes in first year? You say you've never had grades like these in mid-semester, so did the semesters start out well and then nosedive at the end such that you had to withdraw? How are your study habits? Courses only get harder the higher you go.

    Do people typically attach transcripts to resumes? That's never crossed my mind before, but maybe that's just me.
  4. Oct 22, 2008 #3
    Also depends on the school. I know some colleges here in New York City does not allow you to drop more than 16 worth of credits or you lose financial aid and possibly be marked for suspension from the school.
  5. Oct 23, 2008 #4

    D H

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    I don't know how many other companies do this, but the company I work for asks freshout candidates for employment to supply a copy of their transcript. They can of course refuse to comply, but then again we can refuse to hire them.
  6. Oct 23, 2008 #5
    Explanations for withdrawal:

    1. I had a B- for the entire semester up until the last test before the final which I bombed. That put me at a low D and he told me that I wouldn't be able to pass the class, even if I did ace the final.
    2. I just couldn't pull off a passing grade.
    3. I was sick for 2 weeks and missed a lot of class. I talked to my professors, but they couldn't do much to help me. E+M, I'm barely passing only because my roommate is in the same class as I am and he taught me everyday he got back. Calculus 3 I missed some material before the test, so I couldn't answer some questions on the test, resulting in a D on the test. I have a test upcoming next week and I've been getting a tutor to catch up. Engineering Statics I missed a lot of information as well as a test, so that class is in a black hole.

    I was told that I bit off more than I could chew this semester, but I don't like to think that. I'm wondering if it's worth dropping both Statics and retaking it as a senior and Calculus 3 and retaking it next semester in hopes of getting a higher grade than a C as well as thoroughly understanding it?

    I was also told that when applying for a job or internship, most companies don't ask for transcripts, but if they do, they'll usually hold an interview and ask you to explain any awkwardness in your transcript. Is that true?

    Yeah, I understand that too; courses do get harder as you get higher through college and that college is expensive ESPECIALLY since I"m going to a private university. I feel extremely depressed and like a failure that I'm wasting my parents' money by dropping classes. I study by myself, which I find benefits me most and then ask others about material I'm uncomfortable with. All my courses start off well, but then when I get a bad grade on a test or whatnot, which coincidentally is usually at the end of the semester, I just can't do as well from then on out; I get demoralized really quickly and stress out about it. Then I focus all my effort on that one class and neglect some others. So I guess I'm still trying to balance things out, but I'm out of time; I should have figured that out by last semester...

    Is it right to be stressing out withdrawals as much as I am? I really am worried for my future and career.
  7. Oct 23, 2008 #6


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    That doesn't make sense. A passing grade is a C, right, so your final exam must count for a lot less than half the course if you couldn't ace it an obtain a C overall. That doesn't sound right to me (final exams should count for the majority of the grade, surely?)

    In all honesty, there isn't really much you can do about it now, and stressing about things certainly does not help. Just make sure you don't withdraw from any more in the future!
  8. Oct 23, 2008 #7
    Sorry. I don't know why I said that. I meant I had a C up until that test. I'm just stressed about this semester.

    Obviously there's nothing I can do about it now and the only thing to do is to strive for an A in all my classes. But how does having these withdrawals on my transcript affect my chances of getting a good job once I graduate? (For instance jobs at Lockheed, Intel, etc. Big name companies?) And do companies ask for a transcript if you're fresh out of college?

    The ironic thing was that even though I got a C+ in mechanics, I understand mechanics like the back of my hand. But statics is essentially mechanics and I'm failing the class, but I also missed a lot of lecture and notes as well as a test because of sickness, which meant I got a 0/150 on it and the professor would not allow a make-up.
  9. Oct 23, 2008 #8
    I got the impression that because of growing competition these day some companies tend to ask for transcripts. Just try to check the websites (career sections) of the companies you have mentioned. Companies like Intel, Texas Instruments and Philips do ask for transcripts.

    I am in Europe by the way, so my experience could be totally different...
  10. Oct 23, 2008 #9

    Vanadium 50

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    First, it sounds like at this juncture your only options are a W or an F. A W looks a whole lot better than an F. Obsessing about how much this might or might not hurt you in later life is pointless. The only control you have is W or F, and that's a no-brainer: take the W.

    Second, it doesn't sound like you are learning a lesson from this experience. If you got a C+ in mechanics and are failing the follow-on course (with zero points on the test), you do not know mechanics "like the back of your hand". If your foundation is shaky, you can't build anything on top of it.
  11. Oct 23, 2008 #10


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    This still doesn't make sense to me. You say that, after this test, you had a D with the final exam still to come. But surely you could/can pull that up to a C by getting an A/B on the final exam. Unless, of course, in your system 'final' just means the last in a series of tests, all with a somewhat equal weighting. I guess that the latter is why I'm confused: where I come from, there is no such thing as in-class tests, and rarely any assessed coursework, so what we called 'final exams' were, for the most part, 100% exams for the course.
  12. Oct 23, 2008 #11


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    No, not in the USA, in most cases, for undergraduate courses. At the college where I teach, in fact, the final exam is required to be between 25% and 33.3% of the final grade, by college-wide policy. Exceptions must be approved by the Provost (the college's "chief academic officer").
  13. Oct 23, 2008 #12


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    Ah, I missed this when I posted my preceding response, because I hadn't read all the way through the thread.

    In the US, course grades are usually based on tests given during the course (usually during class periods, but sometimes as "take-homes"), and on assigned work done outside of class (you say "coursework," we say "homework"), as well as on the final exam. The instructor usually chooses the relative weights, perhaps subject to rules set by the school's administration.

    For a pure lecture course (no labs), I usually base 1/2 the final grade on three tests given during the course, 1/3 on the final exam, and 1/6 on homework. So the final exam is equivalent to two tests, and the homework as a whole is equivalent to one test.
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