Should I drop out?

I am attending college currently. In high school I was a near-perfect student, I would have never gotten the grades I get now, and I wouldn’t have struggled this hard either. I know people always say that college is an adjustment and sometimes the best students have a hard time, but I don’t have room for these mistakes. I am on a premed track and failing classes means I won’t get into med school. The only things stopping me from dropping out is that I don’t have another plan and my parents immigrated here and want the best for me.

Instead of dropping out, a better course of action would be to review your career options and contemplate what other majors appeal to you.


Are you in a formal pre-med program? You can major in anything and go to med school. You can do the prerequisites in college if your schedule allows, or do them after college in a post-bacc program (which costs, though).

Regardless of major or eventual career, it is very important to protect your transcript/record. I would consider withdrawing either from the class(es) that you are not doing well in or from school entirely. Can you still get a refund?

Do you know what the problem is? COVID? Depression? Wrong courses? Are the science classes tough for you? (If so you can major in a humanity.)

I understand that your parents may not understand this, and maybe someone at school can help explain it. You could take a leave of absence to reassure your parents rather than leaving entirely. Take the semester off and regroup.


Have you met with your academic advisor? That’s your first step. There are millions of happy adults with satisfying careers whose title is not “doctor”, so put “premed” aside for now and just figure out how to get yourself a degree in something you love.


College is often an adjustment for bright students who are used to getting very good grades fairly easily due to high school grade inflation. Also, at most schools the pre-med track is purposefully very difficult in an attempt to “weed out” students. You may need to evaluate if pre-med is really the right track for you . . . about 50% of students who enter college with the intention of being pre-med eventually switch to something else. There is no shame in that. You really need to speak with your advisor to find out the best path ahead. Maybe you can drop the classes you are struggling with and attempt them later when you have adjusted to college life.


I tell my former students that the adjustment in how you do college work will be big because, in order to succeed at this level, you may need to ask for help.

What you did in high school is different than what is expected in college.

Are you going to office hours?

Are you meeting with the graduate assistant from the courses?

Have you been to the academic help centers?

Have you met with tutors for the department?

Are you maintaining a reading or homework schedule?

If you have been doing all of this, and the grades are still not what are you want them to be, which I Assume to be perfect, then I would agree that you need to withdraw from one or more of your classes.

My eldest went 3000 miles away from home and thought she would major in biology. She needed to attend classes, study, and make time to attend to her personal needs. She wasn’t ready to attend intense weed out classes. She didn’t realize that a number of the students, in those biology classes, were at sophomore or junior levels.

They had had an advantage in that they had learned how to balance their studies, in some of the less crowded “required” general studies courses before getting into the large science classes.

She had a horrible first year, but sought an advisor who recommended one of the free tutoring centers. Of course the daughter did not want to initially attend the tutoring center because those were for “people who weren’t good at studying”. She went because she didn’t want to come home. Then she ended up going for every course and realized the advantage of going to the tutoring center and resources that the tutors gave her.
She went to the tutoring center even when she didn’t need a tutor anymore and the center finally asked her to become a tutor. She changed her major to engineering and was the only female engineering student, at her level, to be a tutor.

When our middle daughter went off to college, our eldest daughter told her to start with the tutors In freshman year. Which is exactly what our middle daughter did, and it did help to get her into medical school and to do well on her admissions test. The tutors gave her supplemental readings which is where the tests were taken from in a couple of her courses.

Take a minute to review what you can do to help yourself. Think about what you really want to do at this point. Good luck!


Make room for these mistakes. This is your college career. It will serve you well to learn how to recover from setbacks. Going to med school just because your parents want you to is not a good reason. If that’s what you want, figure out what is not working for you and adjust course. Tutoring is a good place to start.

And I completely disagree with the viewpoint to protect your GPA at all costs? What does that even mean? Drop out of college because you got a B or C?


That’s correct. So switch your major. Med school is probably not in the cards for you. That doesn’t mean you aren’t going have a rewarding snd successful life and career. On the other hand, I can’t see that dropping out is going to benefit you.

Meet with an academic advisor. Discuss options. Stay on top of coursework by meeting with professors and going to the tutoring center. Yiu can get your degree but it might take a little more effort. Major in something you truly want to study. If chemistry isn’t working for you, find what does.


Going to tutoring and office hours is huge. My DD learned that in high school. She went to every tutoring session and office hours, even as an A student. And she continued that in college though she had straight As. She ended up with lots of extras/enrichment from doing that and fabulous recommendations for fellowships and grad school. This should be drilled into kids from high school.


OP you have been very hard on yourself for a prolonged period. Last June in a thread titled “I feel like a failure” you wrote…

“Recently I have been feeling like a complete failure academically. I have always worked very hard and done very well academically. Especially in high school, I took the hardest classes and kept up, while also doing many activities outside of school. All of this in hopes of my hard work paying off, hoping that I’d get into a top college. I got mass rejected from every Ivy and pretty much every top school that I applied to and I’m still taking it hard. I feel as if my hard work summed up to nothing. I am so proud of my friends around me, but it’s so hard watching them do SO much better when we pretty much did it all together.”

You need some adult and professional support to get through this. In another thread you discussed your disappointment at “only” getting into Northeastern and UCB. You have achieved so much and yet you seem to be undermining your own self confidence.

You appear based on prior posts to have been concerned with going to an Ivy since your sophomore year of HS. Way to much pressure for way to long.

Please seek out mental health support on campus. You need some help because you are failing to realize just how successful you are. Stay strong and get help!!

I also noticed you previously aspired to be in the performing arts, is that no longer something you would consider?


Absolutely!! That’s what happened with our children. The A’s alone were a surprise to them, but the perks that came along with it were huge!

The Dean (Child 1) personally sought out our daughter, as the student rep and panelist for her College of Engineering at a conference on recruitment of female grad students in STEM.
She was offered jobs (in the NE) based on her LOR’s from all of her professors. She was also a favorite in the tutoring office (professors, staff and students) and because she could communicate and use metaphors to explain principles in engineering, she was on a first name basis with staff.

Middle daughter (Child 2) was often approached by staff to lead student medical “conferences”. She was also a popular tutor and could often find lab and clinical jobs because of being known by professors and staff with leads and recommendations.

Youngest son (Child 3) used tutors to help him in high school achieve a great SAT score. He missed one question. He was also a paid tutor in high school and college.

Students need to “repurpose” the term “tutor”. In college it’s what will help you to organize your work into doable work. It has great perks and benefits!


What size or type of school (LAC, National University, Regional College, or ?) or schools did your daughters attend ?

I was not referring to B’s and C’s but to D’s and F’s. I know too many kids who spent a lot of money and sometimes had big loans to pay, for transcripts with failing grades. We also help a lot of kids here on CC who are doing appeals for a semester(s) with failing grades who have been dismissed but, again, still owe a lot of money.

The OP mentioned “failing grades” not B’s and C’s.

It is always possible a medical withdrawal is possible if the OP is depressed. A professional counselor can help document that need. A medical withdrawal wipes the slate clean in terms of grades. And the counselor may help with the situation in general.

IF the OP is overreacting to B’s and C’s as "failing,’ I withdraw my comments.


Child 1-large public in NY

child 2- large UC

Child 3- small Top ten

I will also mention that just because you don’t go directly from undergrad to med school doesn’t mean that you can’t eventually become a physician. There are post-baccalaureate programs for students who either: A) weren’t academically successful. in undergrad; or B) decide late in undergrad or after graduation they wanted to pursue medicine.

The median age for newly matriculating med students is 25. Only about 1/3 of med students go directly from undergrad to med school.

If you want to continue pursuing a career in healthcare, they are literally hundreds of careers besides being a physician.

Start your research here: Explore Health Careers

For now, if you are as unhappy as you seem to be, please seek counseling to help you manage your emotional and mental health and to develop realistic expectations about your future. In the long term, learning healthy ways to manage your mental health will be one of the best decisions you can make.

Medicine has one of the highest suicide rates of any profession. Suicide is #1 cause of death for med students and medical residents. Mental health issues are #1 reason why med students fail to graduate.


Thank you, everyone, so much for your replies, they did help me. I wrote this on a whim after a few bad grades and a moment of weakness. I’m gonna stick through it (I won’t be dropping out). College has just been horrible for me lately, which I didn’t think it would be. Like many students say I am having a very hard time making friends. I’m trying everything, clubs, talking to people in classes, etc. but it’s coming to nothing. Nonetheless, I have never been a quitter and I’m not going to start now. I am going to keep on keeping on, hopefully life gets better. Again, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to reply!


Alright! Best of luck to you.

Get tutors for the subjects you are struggling with. I was doing abysmally in Chemistry as a freshman, failing the first two exams. So, by early October, I was failing the class.

I got a tutor based on advice from a family member. That tutor was the best thing that happened to me for that class. I got As on the next two exams after working with him once or twice a week, and then got an A+ on the final, which the professor substituted for one of my failing exams and dropping the other failed exam.

I remember studying for the final on a balmy Sunday afternoon, and my tutor called me, wishing me the best of luck. He told me not to worry, and that I totally knew it. I owe my grade to him. I am a huge fan of tutors, especially your fellow students at your school.

You will start doing better, and you’ll probably make friends with your tutor(s) who can always and also guide you on non-academic stuff.

Don’t give up. And you don’t have to give up your social life. Just plan each day until the end of the term for your classes and fun stuff. Once you have a plan (meaning a schedule written out on a calendar) for the rest of the semester/quarter, things became much clearer and easier to deal with.

Heavens…if I could get an A in chem, EVERYTHING is possible!


Is this your first semester at college? If so then you might be doing better than you think. However, if so you probably do need to learn how to deal with classes that are tougher than you are used to.

One time at an introductory lecture for new students at MIT they asked how many students expected to graduate in the top half of the class. 90% of the students raised their hands. Of course any freshman at MIT is smart enough to know that 90% of them were not going to end up in the top half of their class.

Something similar happens to premed students. You are going to be in classes with a lot of other premed students, and a very large number of the students are going to be very strong. The classes are going to be aimed at very strong students, and some of the classes will be tough. Some of your exams will be tougher than anything you have ever seen (and the professors know that the exams are tough).

Yes this is more difficult than what you are used to. Do not give up. You need to learn the study skills that you did not need in high school. Attend every class. Sit near the front if you can. Always pay attention. Try to stay ahead in all of your homework. Start your homework early. Be aware that some homework is going to take longer than you expected. If you need to then spend Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon and evening on your homework. If you keep ahead, this will help you pick up just a little bit more in each class. Keep a list that shows what work you need to get done, and knock one thing off the list at a time.

Also, seek out help. Your college probably has counseling and tutoring services. Talk to the professor. If you are having trouble in a class, attend the professor’s office hours and ask them to explain anything that you are having trouble with.

Also be aware that the grading curves are often different in college or university. If you just took an exam where the class average is 45, then a 75 is probably NOT going to be a “C”. I can remember an exam at a highly ranked graduate program where the second highest grade in the class was a 75, and the one guy with an 85 got an A+ in the class. An 85 probably was not an A+ and a 75 probably was not an A when you were in high school. Similarly a 45 was probably not a passing grade in high school, but it might be in university if the exam is tough enough and depending upon how the grades are curved. One daughter reported that her first midterm exam freshman year in “biology for biology majors” (a class frequented by many premeds) the class average was again in the 40’s. An 85 in this class was again an A+.

If this is your first semester then I think that you need to make a strong effort to keep ahead in very tough classes and you also need to find out how well you are doing. You might be doing better than you think.

I had a Differential Equations professor once return exams with the comment “passing is a positive number”.