Can You Graduate If You Fail a Class? (What to Do If You’re Failing)

A male college student sitting on the ground outside a campus building with his hand on his forehead, feeling low about failing a class.

School loads and personal undertakings can sometimes be too much to handle, especially when you’re nearing graduation. And at times, when things get rough and you lose focus, it is your grade that suffers, leading you to fail a class or two in college. 

But can you graduate if you fail a class? Indeed, it is not the end of the world. Failing is and will always be a part of life, especially the life of a college student. But there are consequences and lessons to learn from failing, or maybe there’s still something you can do. 

Failing a Class 

When your graduation is around the corner and you don’t get a passing grade on one of your course classes, you will not be allowed to walk and get your diploma. However, keeping track of your grade before graduation will help you stay in control and make necessary changes and actions to help your case. 

But in any event that you get a failing grade in your course, some outcomes may affect your standing

Your Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

If you’re planning to enter the workforce after you graduate, your GPA won’t be of much importance. However, your cumulative GPA is essential if you plan to pursue graduate studies. And failing a class that is not on a pass/fail course will affect your chances.

Financial Aid

Failing a class can jeopardize your financial aid. Some grants, loans, and scholarships usually have specific guiding principles on what happens when you fail a course. Failing a class can risk losing your scholarship or grant as most have specific GPA requirements for you to maintain to keep your aid.

In some cases, you will have to pay your grant back if you fail, or your financial aid will be cut for the semester and will be reinstated when you retake the course.

A graduation cap placed on top of a pile of dollar bills to signify a student's capacity to graduate resting on financial aid.

Number of Retakes

Surely, failing a class may mean that you have to retake the course. But depending on your college, some school’s policies limit the number of repeated courses you can have. So, failing a class or two may be okay, but having multiple failing classes may be a problem.

Plus, when you retake a course, your college may just replace the F mark on your grade with the new one, or they may opt to combine both grades, resulting in your failing grade still affecting your new grade. 

Potential Removal

College has a very competitive environment, and your school may have strict policies on failing classes, to the point that they may consider your multiple failures as grounds for removal. Consistent failures may mean that you don’t take your education seriously or that the major you’re taking is just not for you. 

What If It Isn’t Too Late?

At times, failing a class is out of your control. There could be something mitigating and personal that you’re dealing with, relating to health, family, or your part-time job, that puts your grade at risk. 

But knowing why you’re failing or simply knowing that you’re on the verge of failing will help you take immediate action. Here are ways you can be proactive and save your grade before graduation comes. 

Understand Your School’s Policy

Familiarizing yourself with the rules and guidelines will help you assess how severe your failure is. And knowing the limit as to how many classes you can only fail will take you back to reality and, hopefully, become a motivation to strive harder. 

Have a Conversation with Your Professor

If anyone knows your grade or can influence your grade as much as you can, it’s your class professor. And he or she should be the first one you consult with if you worry you are failing a class. Professors are usually welcoming when they see a student trying their best, and in turn, they give their best advice and guidance as to what you can do to raise your grade in an eleventh-hour effort.

Or they could provide you extra credit opportunities, tutoring, or any extra help to help you scrape a pass or better understand the course. 

Reflect on Yourself

Before you even attempt to ask your professor for help, maybe a short self-reflection is in order. Identify why you are on the verge of failing a class. Is it because you simply have trouble understanding the lessons or something personal might have happened recently that you just lost your focus.

But if the reason is you’ve been slacking off, skipping class, and not taking it seriously, maybe it’s time to make some necessary changes. Cut out your bad habits, and you’ll see what it does to your grades. Or maybe, in some rare cases, you should think about what you really want in life, or if your course is really for you.

A female college student sitting by the water, reading a book and holding a fruit while reflecting on the way her college education is going.

Talk to Your Family, Friends, and Peers

Carrying the burden of failing is a heavy load on your back. Maybe sharing what’s going on with your academics will help take the stress out of you and give you time to breathe. Who knows, maybe one of your family or fellow students will have very useful advice for you.

During the troubling times of failing, you would need all the support you can get. And where better to get it, but from the very people who want to see you succeed. 

Chin Up: You Aren’t the First to Fail

Suppose it comes down to failing the class at the end of the semester, which prohibits you from graduating. Accept the failure, but keep the lessons. And most of all, continue to be optimistic. Take your failure as a value-added lesson when you retake the class.

And always remember, you are not the first one to fail a class. You won’t be the last, that’s for sure. College is a place where you get to learn and experience things firsthand, even failures. So, make the most of it and take what you can get. You’ll be surprised that someday, it will all be worth it.

Written by The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis is a lifestyle blog about the journey of college to adulting. Here you can find the tips for college, self-improvement, adulting, and more.

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