I'm failing all of my first semester classes (Calling all: Science, Engineering and Math Majors)


QUESTION: WHAT SHOULD I DO? (transfer, gap year, just pause it and work for a bit and start over next year. go to a community college for a while, take a break… )

First, and foremost… there is no other major I want to do other than biomedical engineering.

Here’s my from this 2/4 point of the semester.
Mid-term 1 Grades
BIEN 1100 - F (Biomedical Engineering LAB)
BIOL 1001- D
HIST 1701- C+
MATH 1450- F (Calculus 1)
PHYS 1003- F (Physics w. calculus)

Now, it’s the 3/4 point of the semester and here’s how they’re looking.
Updated Grades
BIEN 1100 - F (Biomedical Engineering LAB)
BIOL 1001- D+
HIST 1701- B
MATH 1450- F (Calculus 1)
PHYS 1003- Withdraw (Physics w. calc)

How is everyone else doing? If everyone is in the same boat, I would stick it out. If that is not the culture of the school, I would switch to community college and get back on your feet. Can you retake classes? Do people do that?

Have you analyzed why you are doing so poorly?

My instinct is to stick with it, take fewer classes and get as much tutoring as you can. That may not be an option if you’re headed for eminent academic probation and have scholarships on the line.

You need to pinpoint the reasons for your performance before anyone can advise you which path to take. If you don’t figure out and solve the underlying cause, you might be take whatever it is holding you back with you.

I’m going to be honest. You may not want another major, but you do not seem to be cut out for this one. Even at a school with grade deflation and weedout classes, your grades are really low. I will say, your courseload is very STEM intensive — you probably should have taken one less STEM class this semester and something a little easier instead (but you have dropped physics now, so that is more manageable).

  • Do you attend every class and take notes?
  • Are you keeping up with the reading and assignments?
  • Are you following up with a TA or prof or tutor on EVERYTHING you don’t understand?
  • When you look over the quizzes and exams from earlier in the quarter, can you see a pattern of the types of questions being asked to help you predict what will be asked on upcoming ones? (Ask your prof to see them in their office if they don’t give them back).
  • What is going wrong in lab — do you understand how to write a good lab report? (My kid didn’t, but some Googling best practices and asking a better student to review a couple turned her around on that).
  • For Calc, are you able to do the homework problems (not just see what the answer book got, but see how and be able to replicate on exams)? Make flash cards of all the problem types you see and memorize them cold. -Bio is mostly gobs of memorization.

I’d say from now thru finals, do NOTHING but go to class, study, get help with academics, sleep, and eat. Maybe ask the lab instructor if you can get an extension on turning in any final labs until a week after your last final. Be honest, tell them you are overwhelmed and triaging to pass your classes. They may say no (and don’t be mad or rude if they are), but it is worth asking. You still have to attend and execute your labs, though.

Did you know that less than 50% of students graduate college within 6 years? So you aren’t alone if you take a step back and go to community college and get an associates degree first. Or you could take those same core classes at your college next semester, through the summer and next year. In any event, I would declare undecided now, and then consider your options as you have more of those core classes behind you.

Based on your current grades, you seems more suitable for humanity majors, not science/engineering. If you’re still thinking pre-med, stop doing BME. If you stick out in BME, you’ll most likely end up in academic probation next semester and get kick-out BME eventually. Switch to history major if you like it. BME major is often the top mistake (some call it Plan B) that many pre-med/their parents make, followed by other engineering and CS majors. BME does not prepare you much for med school but it will certainly screw you on grades and not flexible to complete other pre-med courses. Of course, there are always some successful BME pre-meds, but for most people it is a miserable sink hole.

How were your grades (presumably in high school) in algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus? Calculus is very heavily dependent upon these three. To me failing calculus makes me wonder whether you have the background to take calculus.

Most colleges have support/tutoring for STEM courses. Professors offer office hours and in some colleges, old exams are posted on the department websites to provide a reference.

Given that your grades were that bad at the halfway point of the semester, did you not seek out your instructors/TAs to see how you could improve your performance? College is where the student takes his/her own responsibility for their education and unfortunately you did not.

Withdrawing from your school and spending a couple of semesters at a community college to try to raise your GPA would be the best alternative at this point. You’re on the path to academic probation/expulsion so you need to get the GPA to a 2.0 cumulative including courses from your current college.

At this point a transfer is out of the question since your GPA would not qualify if the cumulative is below 2.0.

And right now no chance as a pre-med to be honest. Organic Chemistry is going to be brutal. And if you have not taken it, General Chemistry is going to be a weed-out and to be honest your current STEM/BCPM GPA resembles that of certain characters from Animal House.

Pre-med is out the window.
Forget BME for now.
Your goal should be to not be expelled from college.
For now, go to class, go to all office hours, study sessions, review sessions. Book a tutor right now - you won’t be the first in line so hurry and book as many hours a week as possible, in Biology, Bioen, and Math. Do all exercises in your books at the tutoring center. Bring them to office hours and ask for explanations on what you got wrong.
As @intparent said, do nothing but that + sleep/eat/shower. You need C’s in your finals and since learning is cumulative it’s going to be a tall order.

After that, you’ll be on probation. Your choice will be to retake these three classes (if they’re offered), 2 in the Spring and 1 in the summer, along with more gen-eds, or go to community college. (you’ll need a 2.5+ to transfer anywhere, and 3+ for many majors).

What was your math and science background in highschool?
When you got your first tests back, what did you do?
Can you analyze what sent wrong - some reason in each subject or different reasons depending on subject?

As everyone above had stated, you have no room in med school. Right now, it is not plan B you are facing, you should reconsider your career strategy. Perhaps STEM is not your strength, you should consider switch careers, such as transfer into a community college and start over with another discipline such as Business, Liberal Arts, Criminal Justice or anything you have some interest in. Med school is not a cup of tea for you, for sure.

One more thing you should consider, take a gap year or two, volunteer or do some thing that is good to society, in that, you will mature and find yourself. Maybe at this point college is not for you, you need to be more mature to return to college.

Assuming you are following the basics by: putting in six hours of study per day (classes not included), getting a full night of sleep, following a timely and reasonable diet, socializing/exercising a little every day, you may want to talk to an on-campus support group. I was doing very well in college until my parents were divorced. Grades took a big dive and all I wanted to do was sleep. Quitting athletics just made it worse. I could not put my finger on why I could not concentrate, even on formerly favorite subjects. Check with the support services at student affairs.

At the end of this term…with your current grades,.,and really…what’s left? Finals? You are heading for academic probation starting at the end of this term.

If you don’t raise your grades substantially, you will be asked to leave the school.

In addition, if you are receiving need based aid, you won’t be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress with THAT many failed and dropped courses. You could lose your aid.

And if you have merit aid…you won’t continue to receive that either.

And in addition…you are paying for courses for which you will receive NO credit (the F grades) and no credit towards a degree possibly (the D grades).

If these end up being your final grades, I would suggest you request a leave of absence. Get a job figure out what you like and can do well. Then return to college.

Frankly…right now…you are wasting a lot of money.

Medical school is the least of your concerns.

Getting a D in intro biology and an F in calc 1 suggests that you are not going to class. Please take a break. You cannot transfer to any school other than a CC with these grades.

“…suggests that you are not going to class”

@noname2000 if you are not going to class, I have to wonder if you are suffering from depression. You should see a counselor at your school. You might also want to see if you should get your entire semester withdrawn (whatever the right word is) for medical reasons.

I suspect that there is more that you are not telling us.

What is going on? Are you only studying notes? You need to study your textbooks.

In my premed Facebook group, a parent posted that her freshman child is getting her first B’s and C’s after a lifetime of top grades. After some investigation, they realized that the daughter was diligently studying her notes (making note cards, etc) and didn’t realize that the tests would include a lot of material from the text books. This was a first for her since K-12 doesn’t usually operate that way.

I am curious to know which school’s premed program has classes that focus on material from the textbook in their midterms. Since a lot of Hopkins, Vandy, and WashU premeds would transfer there.

My son’s Top 20 school doesn’t work that way with premeds. Most professors will rarely focus on the textbook and make you learn to apply the concepts instead of rote memorization/plug and chug.

In many college courses, students are expected to read the textbook, go to class, and solve problems requiring application of concepts in ways beyond rote memorization.

A student who does not read the textbook or go to class is likely to miss some of the concepts s/he needs to apply in assignments, tests, and projects. It is not a matter of focusing on the textbook, since reading the textbook is assumed.

The reason why Orgo is being the top pre-med killer is that “rote memorization” or cramming the night before exam will not work, hence pre-med needs to allocate time each week to not just studying the book/notes but doing tons of practice questions. Hence engineering/CS won’t leave much time for that, plus their grading are typically harsh (compared to other majors).

Some small LACs have friendlier pre-med programs (ie, less cut-throat, professors more approachable…).