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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Overcoming a failing grade – Academic success can take detour, not get lost

Overcoming+a+failing+grade+-+Academic+success+can+take+detour%2C+not+get+lost

By Heather Horton/reporter

Nearly 21 percent of TCC students failed a course in 2013. Students fail courses for varying reasons but still have a chance to achieve academic success. Retaking classes and speaking with an academic advisor can put students back on track. Photo illustration by Eric Rebosio/The Collegian
Nearly 21 percent of TCC students failed a course in 2013. Students fail courses for varying reasons but still have a chance to achieve academic success. Retaking classes and speaking with an academic advisor can put students back on track. Photo illustration by Eric Rebosio/The Collegian

The majority of students don’t begin a semester expecting to fail a class. However, failing is a reality for many students.

“Making the grade” is necessary to meet college graduation requirements and transfer goals.

TCC’s office of Institutional Research and Analysis reported 51,366 students were enrolled in 2013, and 20.8 percent of those students received an F in one or more classes.

The reason behind these results varies from student to student.

Michelle Lanteno said the main reason she did not pass her physics class the first go-round was a lack of enthusiasm.

“I didn’t like it,” Lanteno said. “I didn’t have the motivation to study.”

This lack of incentive can potentially be a costly choice since retaking the course is usually a necessity. Lanteno said she retook the physics class and earned a B.

According to financial aid assistant Renisha Woods, the GPA is important in determining a student’s financial aid eligibility status.

“Sometimes you can fail a class but pass all your other ones and still remain eligible,” Woods said. “If you attended the class all the way through and earned the F, then you might still be eligible, versus you have an F but it’s because you never showed up.”

Woods recommends steps to take once a failing grade is received. Students can retake the class but not during the summer term because classes are condensed and cover a lot of material in a short time. They should make sure that the class is needed on the degree plan. Speaking with an academic advisor will ensure a student is on the correct course.

South student Latoya D., who requested not to use her last name, said she failed a class at another institution due to not participating and offered suggestions to fellow students who may struggle with maintaining passing marks in a course.

“Basically, utilize all the resources,” she said. “Before dropping, you know there’s a drop policy, so before you drop, you want to talk to an advisor and make sure the classes you are taking is for your degree plan.”

Students and faculty both agree a failing grade does not have to limit academic success.

Academic advisor Christopher Tovar reiterates the importance of repeating a course that a student has failed. He said it’s important for a student’s GPA and financial aid purposes.

Tovar said a student may become overwhelmed for many reasons.

“A lot of students take too many classes their first semester,” he said.

The combination of an overloaded class schedule combined with work commitments and family commitments can stress students and become a factor in their failure.

According to veteran student Bruce L. Sledge, preparation is an important factor that can set up a student’s success from the start.

“I would make sure I have all my ducks in a row before I start a semester,” he said. “You need to get into study habits and things of that sort. That would give you a lot of time to allocate your time and efforts in the subject that you’re going to be taking up.”

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