Drop it like it’s not
Students reflect on why they drop courses shortly after classes begin
Kelsey Renz | reporter
In his first week of college, Zach Wiltz got a parking ticket, was beaten up after a frat party, and missed the first day of class. For him, that was enough.
“I was already behind and, instead of just dropping this one class, the combination of everything that went wrong made me want to leave,” said Wiltz, an undeclared freshman.
Wiltz is only one of 176 students who withdrew from Pitt State within the first week. However, he is unique in that he decided to come back, and on the same day he withdrew.
“It was really awkward because I basically had to be like, ‘Uh, never mind,”’ Wiltz said. “But I did drop that class.”
According to Debbie Greve, university registrar, 1,227 students, including Wiltz, dropped at least one class within the first week this year. This number is down from last year, continuing a trend from the previous three years.
“Students drop classes quickly for a number of reasons,” said Bill Ivy, dean of enrollment management and student success. “Some students start off by taking too many credits and end up dropping one or two classes.”
For example, Laura Morrow, junior in nursing, says that as a sophomore, she took too many classes to start with and decided to drop the class that would take up the most time.
“I didn’t have enough time to devote to it and all my other classes that semester,” said Morrow, junior in retaking it over the summer.”
Jesse Hudson, junior in recreation, also took too many classes. Hudson dropped his hardest class in order to budget his time, but ended up switching his major and not needing the class anyway.
That is not unusual, according to Ivy.
“Sometimes students start the semester in one major field and decide to change not long into the semester, therefore eliminating the need for a certain class,” Ivy said.
Rachel Schubert, junior in early childhood development, switched her major from elementary education. She switched two classes for that major for an extra-class for her new major.
“I knew I wanted to work with really young kids, even younger than elementary age,” Schubert said. “Plus, I just liked the program better.”
Yet other students drop classes for personal reasons, Ivy says.
“Some drop simply because they feel the class is too hard or they don’t like something about that class,” Ivy said.
Desiree Clancy, senior in business management, enrolled in an online general education history class, but dropped it and changed to an on-campus history class because of how hard the online one was.
“The work load was unreal and it was only a gen. ed.,” Clancy said.
To help students like Clancy, the Student Success Center runs an early alert system, with which instructors can notify the center of students who are off to a bad start, for whatever reason, and the center contacts them.
“We offer tutoring for at least five different subjects, and each department can also offer their own tutoring,” Ivy said. “We try to make sure students know we can give them help if they need it.”
According to data from the Registrar’s Office, since the early alert system was started last fall, there has been a significant decrease in students who dropped classes early, as compared to other years.
“We’re hoping that by using these resources, fewer students will feel they have no other choice but to drop classes,” Ivy said.