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How Many College Students Fail a Class: The Percentage Given

Failing in class

Many college students fail one or two classes each semester. A few even end up at the infamous ‘F’ level. These disappointing results are unknown to many students and their parents.

Students do not know how to prevent failure, and parents are not aware of the factors that lead to academic failure on campus. In extreme cases, a professor drops a student from class due to a fail grade.

Each year, colleges release lists of students who have been placed on academic probation. While a few tend to be rather surprised, most are not only aware but have a backup plan in place if they fail a class.

What Percentage of College Students Fail a Class NCES

inadequate Study habits

Based on the latest data, about 30% of college students flunk or withdraw from a class.

The likelihood of failure depends on factors such as the student’s age and academic major.

About 30% of college students fail or withdraw from a class, according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The likelihood of failure depends on factors such as the student’s age and academic major.However, almost 1 in 3 students under 25 years old fail or withdraw from their classes.

College students who are over 25 years old have a lower rate of failure than those under 25 years old. Only 23% of students older than 25 years fail or withdraw from classes.

Causes of Student Failure in College

1. Lack of Preparedness

Lack of preparation is one of the reasons why students fail. Most students do not take college seriously. They go to classes when they feel like it, and they study when they have a test or quiz coming up. The critical thing with college is to learn how to learn on your own since professors are not always available for assistance.

Many students enter college assuming it will be the same as high school and quickly find out it is not. High school has more structure than college, so students may have difficulty adjusting to the new environment, leading them to drop out and failure.

Poor college students are often poorly prepared for college. They may not have taken the right prerequisites to even qualify for the classes they take. Or, they may have poor study skills that make it difficult to succeed in college courses. This can result in these students dropping out of their courses or failing.

2. Inadequate Study Habits 

Inadequate study habits

One of the most significant reasons students fail college courses is because they simply do not know how to study effectively.

The lack of proper study skills may be due to the level of preparation from their high school or even as far back as elementary school. 

Most students who struggle academically do not have poor intelligence; rather, they were not taught how to study. 

Thus, these students find themselves having difficulty succeeding at the collegiate level.

3. Poor Time Management Skills 

Going to college is different from high school, and some students struggle with this change. They may not cope with new responsibilities like living on their own or managing their own time independently.

A major reason why many students struggle with time management is that they have so much freedom over when and where they need to study. There are assigned classes and scheduled times for doing homework in high school. 

This is not the case at a university, where professors might only meet twice a week during class hours while expecting you to complete several hours of homework each day on your own time. Students who fail to manage their time wisely may find themselves getting behind in their classes and struggling academically as a result.

4. Overconfidence 

Many students come to college thinking that they can do well without putting forth much effort. Many do not attend class, study, or meet with their professors because they believe they can get by independently. 

In fact, a student may think there is no need to study because he may this he is smarter than his professor. Nevertheless, such a student is likely to fail and by overestimating what he can do at a time. 

5. A Wrong Mindset

Students who tend to fail in school have a wrong mindset. They think that once they are in school, they are already successful. They have no goals or plans as far as education is concerned.

If they have no plans or goals, they will not work hard and eventually fail their exams. A student should sit down and plan their goal for going to school. What do they want to become? What sacrifices do they need to make? How much effort are you willing to put in so as to be successful? 

These questions will help you set realistic goals for yourself, which will help you pass your exams with flying colors.

6. Life Issues

Many people do not realize how many life issues can affect their education until they get to college. Personal problems such as health issues, family emergencies, financial troubles, and work responsibilities can sometimes become too much for some people to handle on their own, making it difficult to concentrate on their education.

7. Getting Distracted

Getting Distracted

College can often be a fun experience, but students need to remember why they went in the first place — to get an education.

Many students find it hard to stay focused, especially since there is so much going on all at once.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is it normal to fail a class in college?

Yes. College courses are difficult and require a lot of time and energy. If you do not put the effort in, you will not succeed. Such occurs, especially if you picked the wrong course or are struggling with your mental health. 

Is there a reprieve if you fail a class in college during a pandemic?

No. If you fail a class, you will have to retake it again next semester. If you do not well in that class, then your grade point average (GPA) will drop significantly. If your GPA goes down so much that you are placed on academic probation.

What happens if I fail a university course?

You can continue the course while taking remedial measures. Remedial measures can be academic help from other students or tutors or seeking help from the professor or academic advisor.

Alternatively, you can retake the course. If you retake the course and get at least 50% on the second attempt, your grade will be recalculated to use that grade instead of the first attempt.

Is there financial aid after failing a class in college?

Yes. The first step is to talk with the financial aid office at your school to let them know what happened. You will have to make up the class, which may affect your scholarship, but you should be able to continue receiving some kind of aid.

What to do if you are failing a class in college?

Talking with your professor is one of the first steps you should take if you fail a class. Your professor may offer some helpful advice or point out areas where you can improve.

Also, meet your academic advisor, who will help you analyze the situation and determine why you failed the class. The advisor will assist you on how to better prepare for the future.

How common is failing a class in college? 

t depends on where you go to school. At some schools, the rate of failure is extremely high. At others, there is no failure at all. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, about one-third of students who began college in the fall of 2012 failed to graduate within six years.