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Should I drop a course this semester (3rd year, Canada)

  1. Mar 6, 2013 #1
    Hey everyone,

    This semester I felt like I would be overwhelmed with my courses so I ended up taking a "bird" course as one of the five courses... but ironically it is currently my lowest mark.

    I am debating dropping it (last day to drop without penalty is in 2 days) but before I do that I want to know what are some ramifications of a reduced course load?

    This is my current situation: I am a 3rd year at a Canadian university and I am currently taking the following courses:

    Numerical methods
    Quantum mechanics
    Optical physics
    Thermal physics
    Finite math.

    The last course i've listed, finite math, is the bird course. It is a first year probability course essentially intended for non science majors. (really regret taking it, but whatever cant do anything now)

    despite lost credit and money, i was wondering what other cons are there? Someone mentioned I may lose some eligiblity for some scholarships (not sure which) I've managed to obtain an NSERC-USRA for this coming summer, I dont think I will lose that If i reduce my courseload will I (maybe another Canadian could answer this)?

    Another thing I was wondering about is if gradschools look at me having a reduced course load as a negative thing? Or do gradschool not care about how my courses were scheduled, and only look at gpa/letters/courses? Or is it different for different schools?

    One pro's I can only think of sticking with this course is that it teaches my probability, which is a basis, from what I understand, of statistics, which I plan to take next year/summerschool (though not a requirement, but may still have its merits). And also I can really focus more on my other 4 courses.

    So should I stick through with this course or drop it?

    I appreciate all input thanks :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2013 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Dropping a single course is unlikely to have a significant affect on graduate admissions. People drop courses for all kinds of reasons. However if you're just dropping it because you aren't getting the mark you hoped that you would be getting, there may be bigger issues at hand.

    Are you really capable of handling a heavy courseload? Senior classes and graduate classes aren't going to get any easier. What are you going to do if the same thing happens next semester? Or in grad school?

    There is also a question as to whether or not you will have enough credits to graduate in four years, or if you'll have to make this course up over the summer. What consequences will that have for summer jobs, for example?

    Also you have to be careful that the "I'll have more time to focus on the other four courses" idea doesn't degrade into "I'll have more time for video games, etc."

    It's not always a bad idea to drop a course, but just make sure you're making an informed decision about it.
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