4 years ago
Admissions Advice

How do I make up for withdrawing from a college class?


I am a junior (high school class of 2022) at a public early college high school in Michigan (different than dual enrollment-- for example, we have grades 9-13 instead of 9-12) where all students take college classes and high school classes at the same time (some earn a 2 year degree before their high school degree). Unfortunately, I had to withdraw from a college class (Calculus II) to protect my GPA (The instructor's teaching style was not best for me, even after 20+ hours of studying and tutoring a week). It shows up as a W on my college transcript. My plan is to remedy this by taking the AP BC Calculus exam (There's no room in my schedule to retake Calculus II) and explaining what happened to colleges in the additional information section of the common app. What is the best way for me to explain this (I want to apply to competitive/highly selective schools)? Should I just try to retake the class with a different professor? Are there better ways to remedy this issue? Are the Barron's AP prep book and free AP Calculus videos/practice problems by the College Board enough to study with?

P.S. I plan on applying to be a Human Biology major on the premed track

Thank you so much in advance!

🎉 First post
Let’s welcome @Adedoyin22 to the community! Remember to be kind, helpful, and supportive in your responses.

Earn karma by helping others:

1 karma for each ⬆️ upvote on your answer, and 20 karma if your answer is marked accepted.

1 answer

4 years ago

My primary recommendation in this situation is to try to retake the class next year. You will almost certainly need to take Calculus II in order to apply to medical school, but you won't need much (if anything) beyond this level, so if your scheduling issue is that you were hoping to take a higher level math course senior year, this shouldn't be a central issue. If retaking Calc II is truly impossible (and even if you do end up taking the class in the future), you will want to explain the withdrawal in the additional information section of your application when the time comes. This explanation should focus not on struggling with the course but rather with your decision to take your education in a different direction at this moment in time. You'll want to emphasize what you did instead of taking the class; that is, stress what you used that time for instead.

This brings me to my last point, which is that self-studying and doing well on the AP exam is not a true remedy for withdrawing from the class; you should demonstrate that you are using the time you gained productively elsewhere. Did this switch give you the opportunity to explore a passion in another field? Are you using this newfound time to serve the community, pursue research, or advance your engagement with other issues/activities/achievements? In short, make sure you're focusing on what withdrawing has empowered you to do rather than dwelling on your lack of connection with the professor or material.

With regard to your last question about how to self-study for the AP exam, I recommend assessing yourself early and often to make sure whatever instructional method you're using works for you. In this endeavor, you'll need to be open to changing course if it turns out that your current approach isn't helping you meet your goals.

Best of luck!

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Community Guidelines

To keep this community safe and supportive:

  1. Be kind and respectful!
  2. Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
  3. Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!

How karma works