Dropping a class after you've already applied to college

I have straight As this semester except in Calculus, where I have a B-. I have always struggled in math but I decided it would be fun to take Calculus this year because I like learning math. I feel like I should drop the class and save myself the trouble and stress. It is giving me so many problems.

I don’t really need the class because I have already accumulated 4 years of math credits in high school, but I’m not sure that I’ll be allowed to drop the class at this point (and if I do, I don’t know what I’d take instead). Another problem is that I already applied to college (all apps submitted) and marked down that I was taking Calculus. Is there a way to fix that? Will it ruin my chances at admission?

Thank you for any advice and sorry if this has been discussed before, I assume it has.

It depends on how selective the schools are that you’ve applied. Many won’t care and are simply looking to admit you. Some will wonder about your ability to engage very rigorous work – but if you’re not a STEM major, might overlook it. Regardless, you’re required to inform colleges if your transcript changes.

I’ve applied to some fairly selective schools…I am not a STEM major though.

If you can hold a B, stay in.

That’s the problem, I don’t know if I can…

My daughter has a similar situation. She is taking AP Micro first semester and AP Macro second semester. She has not enjoyed Micro (she has an A- though) and wants to drop Macro second half and add something else like an independent study in writing or a theater production design class.

She applied ED and will know by mid-Dec. If she gets in do you think it’s ok if I let her switch things up?

Depending on the school, there may be expectations that you notify them of a change in your schedule. I cannot recall if the Common App has any boilerplate language about that, or if specific schools indicate they expect to be notified.

I’d definitely tell them, but would it affect my chances?

Because many prestigious colleges request final transcript from the applicants, they will ultimately know about it.

It really depends on what college you applied to. If you applied to really prestigious schools, then there is a high chance that your acceptance letter may be rescinded as they almost always rescind a small handful of acceptance letters sent to applicants every year, and you can possibly be it.

However, most of the times, colleges do not do it unless your grade significantly dropped – like from B to D – so it may be somewhat safer not to drop out.

Choice is up to you, but I wouldn’t drop out as it is also kind of late as well.

I might just drop the class next semester. Would it be weird to only take one semester of Calculus?


I would not recommend dropping the course, but I do not think it would look weird if you only took one semester. I would suggest you try to stick it out, but if you must drop the class then you would have to contact the admissions office and notify them of your change as soon as possible.

Thanks for all the advice :slight_smile:

I understand the concern, but one C isn’t going to be disastrous. I agree, withdrawing from the class looks worse. Plenty of people who get into great schools have gotten a C.

My daughter’s counselor told her that having a W on senior year transcript is double ungood for admission to the competitive colleges (those that accept less than 25% of applications). But I imagine that the schools that accept 60% and more would shrug it off, unless the student has a few other W’s as well, which might indicate a lack of stick-to-it-iveness. Would this be your only W?

@JenJenJenJen My school doesn’t do Ws. If you drop a class, it simply disappears from your transcript. Problem is I would still have to tell them that I dropped because I already applied.

I would like to add that you’re probably going to take at least one math class in college, so I would stay in it so you’re prepared. You don’t want to get all comfy and lazy right before you start college, so I say stay in the class and endure the stress.

@CaliforniaSoul My math teacher pointed that out to me as well, but I’m still in high school for the foreseeable future and I’m honestly not sure it’s worth it for me to be miserable/losing sleep for a class that gets me nothing…

I think dropping Calc is noticible for top college admissions. I’d stick it out, get a tutor, study more.