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Struggling in a Course

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Struggling in a Course?

At some point in their college career, many students find themselves not performing as well in a class as they would like. Fortunately, the University of Oklahoma has many free resources available to students who are struggling to improve their academic performance. 

professor writing on board

What should I do first?

When struggling, the most common mistake a student makes is waiting to take advantage of the help available. The best time to take action when you are having a hard time in a class is now. Don't feel the need to wait until your exam scores come back or your next paper is due. The sooner you reach out, the better chance you have to make improvements.

What help is available?

Start your semester strong by taking advantage of office hours and tutoring opportunities.

Going to office hours regularly is the most valuable resource available to help students who are struggling. No one knows the material you are expected to learn in class better than the person who is teaching it to you - your professor or instructor! Each class syllabus includes office hour details.

In addition to office hours, OU provides free on-campus tutoring in a variety of subjects. Tutoring can be one-to-one or in a group setting, and is available in either a walk-in or appointment basis.

Action Tutoring is the most commonly used source of tutoring on campus. Through UC Action, students can take part in group sessions led by OU faculty and instructors. You can also schedule free small-group tutoring sessions with a Peer Learning Assistant in person or online. For more information regarding tutoring subjects available, schedules, and making an appointment, visit the UC Action Center website.

OU also offers support through the Writing Center, the Math Center, and the Language Learning Center, among many others, where students can walk-in and receive tutoring, revision of writing, and even assistance with exam preparation. For a complete list of tutoring resources available on campus, visit

Staying the Course or Dropping a Class

The following questions are intended to help you through the decision making process of keeping or dropping a course. Please refer to the Academic Calendar for specific deadlines. 

  • What is my current situation in the class?
  • What grade have I earned at this point?
  • How much time and effort have I put into the course?
  • How much of the final grade is already determined?
  • What do I need to do to improve my situation?
  • What does the professor recommend?
  • How much more time/effort do I need to invest?
  • How well do I need to do on future tests/papers?
  • Are there external factors beyond my control (i.e., chronic illness or serious injury)?
  • What are my chances of passing the class?
  • Will I still have at least 12 credit hours after dropping this class? (You must carry at least 12 credits to be in good standing for financial aid and for most insurance policies, although it takes 15 credit hours for a full academic load.)
  • If not, how will dropping below 12 credit hours affect my financial aid and scholarships? You can ask the Student Financial Center.
  • Will dropping below 12 credit hours affect medical coverage, housing or insurance? You may need to talk to your parents about these issues.
  • How will this drop affect my graduation plan?
  • What are the consequences of earning a "D" or "F" grade in the class? How would the Repeat Policy make a difference in my GPA?
  • Is this course a prerequisite for something else I need to take? Is a "C" required to satisfy the prerequisite requirement?
  • Is my foundation strong enough to do well in the next course?
  • How will my performance in other classes be affected if I invest additional time and energy into this course?
  • What are the consequences of having a "W" on my transcript? (A pattern of "Ws" is quite noticeable and could impact financial aid long-term.)
  • If I drop the class, will I have trouble making up the credits? It takes a minimum of 30 credit hours per year to graduate on time.
  • Is it worth using up one of my Five Career Drops?

What happens if I miss the drop deadline and end up with a D or F in a class? (Academic Forgiveness/Repeat Policy)

When a student decides to see a course through to the end or misses the drop deadline and makes a D or and F as a final grade in a class, there are some academic options.

The Academic Forgiveness/Repeat Policy allows students to repeat that class at OU or at another institution offering a course equivalent to replace the original grade. While both attempts will be visible on the transcript, only the second attempt will count in the calculation of the student's overall GPA. A student may repeat up to four courses, not to exceed 18 hours. 

For the full Academic Forgiveness Policy see the General Catalog.

Complete the Repeat Policy Request Form to ask the Office of the Registrar to review your academic record to determine if you have repeated courses, either at OU or at another institution that may apply under the Repeat Policy. Students must complete the form above for the Repeat Policy to be applied.