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Failing Grades at Community College: Will They Kill Me?


Sometimes people write with personal questions, seeking advice for their particular situation.

I received one today from a student at a community college who had a couple of failing grades.  Clearly, the student had finally woken up and figured out that getting Fs was not such a great idea.  But with that new understanding, what is a student to do about those Fs?

Here’s the student’s question:

I have 2 Fs in Math 090. This happened when i first started school at a community college. I didnt know how dropping classes worked and i got overwhelmed. Can i still graduate? Can i still go to a university?  Should i start over at another community college, and if i do is it possible that those two Fs will be discovered? 

And here is my response: 

Hi, and thanks for your inquiry.

With regard to graduating from your community college, you need to speak with a student advisor there.  I am sure they have academic counselors, and you should make an appointment with one to discuss your Fs.  The advisor can tell you what you need to do to graduate, as each college has its own rules.  You will likely have to retake the classes to make up the credit (if you haven’t already).  Do not be embarrassed.  What is, is.  You need to know how to proceed from here.

With regard to transferring to another community college, if you plan on transferring any of your current credits to that new college, your Fs will follow you. Unless you start completely over at square one, and do not divulge that you have already attended a college, your Fs will follow you.
I do not recommend this option for ethical reasons.  While it’s not good to fail, it’s worse to lie about it.  Fortunately, you live in the land of Second Chances.

From this point forward, what counts is how you respond to this mistake. If you retake Math 090 and get a good grade–maybe even an A (because you take advantage of every tutoring service and academic support system at your junior college, and you study like crazy)–then four-year colleges may be inclined to overlook your mistakes.  Now, you may not get into Stanford. But with good recommendations, a solid record of success since those dreaded Fs, and other good works in other aspects of your life, you can make a convincing case that you have matured, that you have learned the required mathematics, and that you have made up for your youthful transgressions of the past.

I hope this is helpful.

Mark Montgomery
Montgomery Educational Consulting


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