Photo illustration by Caitlin Sirse | Daily Kent Stater
Credit: DKS Editors
As freshman Ashley Deck finished the first of her Tuesday classes, she breathed a sigh of relief remembering she had an hour break until her next class.
The middle childhood education major, dance minor and Honors College student was originally scheduled for classes Monday through Friday, 8:50 a.m. until 3 p.m. Before school started, she realized such a demanding schedule was unrealistic to manage.
“I was originally scheduled for 18 credit hours,” Deck said. “I realized I would be going every day all day with only 15 minute breaks between each class. I knew I had to change something, so I dropped a four-credit class and a night class I had, and picked up sociology instead.”
Changing her schedule when she did allowed Deck to not be left with a “W” on her transcript. Students are allowed to drop or add classes to their schedules until Sunday. Any student dropping a class between Sept. 8 and Nov. 2 will then receive a grade of “W.”
Bruce Mitchell, academic adviser at the First Year Advising Center in Lake Hall, cautioned students to leave withdrawing from a course as a last resort.
“Withdrawing from a course should not be used in such a way that it resembles a ‘get out of jail free’ card,” Mitchell said. “Students should enter a course with the expectation that this course may become both challenging and intense, with the belief that laziness or failure is not an option.”
When deciding to drop or withdraw from a class, Mitchell advises students should first ask themselves whether they have taken every possible step to salvage the course, such as utilizing academic support services like tutoring.
In Deck’s case, she made the decision to change her class schedule into something she felt more comfortable handling.
“I like it now because I have time to work on homework and eat during my breaks, which I wouldn’t have gotten to do with my previous schedule,” Deck said.
When deciding a course load for students, Mitchell said advisers pay attention to a student’s academic history or perceived ability at the time of the initial advising session.
“For freshmen, we take into account the student’s high school GPA and transcript, COMPASS scores, ACT and SAT scores and major of interest,” Mitchell said. “Typically, I tell students that freshmen should be between 12 to 15 credit hours of coursework for their first semester.”
For Deck, she is juggling a schedule that will accommodate classes for her major, minor and Honors requirements.
“At first, I wasn’t signed up for any of my major classes because the classes in my minor are only offered at specific times,” she said. “But after mailing my adviser back and forth we were able to work it out.”
Mitchell recommended that students who are struggling to meet requirements for both their major and minor should just stay focused.
“The different paths that advisers might suggest can be used by the student to initiate the thinking, researching and soul searching process for the student to ultimately decide his or her future path,” Mitchell said.
Kelly Gephart, junior health physical education major, said she made decisions to alter her schedule her freshmen year in order to stay successful in her academic and athletic endeavors.
“I dropped my General Chemistry class because my schedule was too stressful to handle with classes and cross country,” Gephart said. “Also, it was my freshman year and it took time to adapt to college and learn what is manageable and what’s not.”
To freshmen who are feeling overwhelmed with their schedules this semester, Mitchell said, “Welcome to college life at Kent State University.”
“This is a place where we strive to see and achieve excellence in action,” Mitchell said. “Students should understand that the challenge is what primes them to become well-trained and excellent professionals. The worst thing they can do is sit in a class every day, not understand what’s going on and never ask questions or seek help.”
Mitchell said overtime students learn to become organized to help plan study time and downtime that is needed to have a social outlet. Those who don’t take heed to such advice might find themselves continually struggling.
“My grandfather used to say this,” said Mitchell. “It’s your little red wagon – you can either push it or pull it. So what’s easier or makes more sense to you – you decide.”
Contact student life reporter Erin Dean at [email protected]