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Old 10-09-2012, 07:59 AM   #1
skater
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Chemistry Woes/Advice for dropping class

DD is in her freshman year at a community college. She took two classes last year and did well, so she went in feeling good about her abilities. She is typically a straight A student - even in the harder subjects, and she enjoys Science.

Here is the problem. She currently has a grade of 55 in Chemistry and this grade is higher than the class average. The instructor says he won't grade on a curve. He does things like teach part of a class and then says "Bye" when he's tired of teaching (and she is sitting there wishing he would teach). When he can't figure out power point, he won't use the blackboard and everybody's lost with his verbal ramblings. The first major exam was too long, so he tells the class mid way through the test that he will only grade what they were able to complete. So my DD slowed down and worked hard on what she was able to finish. When he returned it, he apparently changed his mind and everybody got zeros for the uncompleted sections. From everything she is telling me, it sounds like he doesn't teach.

I think she probably needs to withdraw from the class to save her gpa and try Chemistry again with a different instructor. I think she should first talk with her advisor, the instructor, and maybe even the department head about this situation. I don't think she can trust the instructor to be straight forward with her based on things he has said in the past and then backed out of. My DD just wants to quietly drop the class. Any thoughts on how I can convince her that she should at least discuss the ramifications of dropping a class with her advisor and possibly ascertain if the Chemistry Dept. is really going to allow the majority of the class to fail with no chance of fixing the situation? Or do you think I should just let her handle it the way she chooses?
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:02 AM   #2
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DD is in her freshman year at a community college. She took two classes last year and did well, so she went in feeling good about her abilities. She is typically a straight A student - even in the harder subjects, and she enjoys Science.

Here is the problem. She currently has a grade of 55 in Chemistry and this grade is higher than the class average. The instructor says he won't grade on a curve. He does things like teach part of a class and then says "Bye" when he's tired of teaching (and she is sitting there wishing he would teach). When he can't figure out power point, he won't use the blackboard and everybody's lost with his verbal ramblings. The first major exam was too long, so he tells the class mid way through the test that he will only grade what they were able to complete. So my DD slowed down and worked hard on what she was able to finish. When he returned it, he apparently changed his mind and everybody got zeros for the uncompleted sections. From everything she is telling me, it sounds like he doesn't teach.

I think she probably needs to withdraw from the class to save her gpa and try Chemistry again with a different instructor. I think she should first talk with her advisor, the instructor, and maybe even the department head about this situation. I don't think she can trust the instructor to be straight forward with her based on things he has said in the past and then backed out of. My DD just wants to quietly drop the class. Any thoughts on how I can convince her that she should at least discuss the ramifications of dropping a class with her advisor and possibly ascertain if the Chemistry Dept. is really going to allow the majority of the class to fail with no chance of fixing the situation? Or do you think I should just let her handle it the way she chooses?
Let her drop that POS class like a stinky turd. Man what a lousy teacher!
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:20 AM   #3
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A few things

1. Welcome to college. As your DD is figuring out, college != high school
2. Dropping a class simply to save a GPA is not the right decisions. GPA's don't mean much in college.
3. Will the chemistry dept. allow an entire class to fail? Sure they will. Again, college != high school.

Have her talk to her advisor. That's what he/she is there for. Take the advice he/she gives. Simple as that.
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:22 AM   #4
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A few things

1. Welcome to college. As your DD is figuring out, college != high school
2. Dropping a class simply to save a GPA is not the right decisions. GPA's don't mean much in college.
3. Will the chemistry dept. allow an entire class to fail? Sure they will. Again, college != high school.

Have her talk to her advisor. That's what he/she is there for. Take the advice he/she gives. Simple as that.

Her gpa will matter when she's trying to transfer and continue to receive scholarships. I think I will push her to talk to her adviser.
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:26 AM   #5
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Her gpa will matter when she's trying to transfer and continue to receive scholarships. I think I will push her to talk to her adviser.
Scholarships yes. real life, no. You didn't mention scholarships. I still say talk to the advisor
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by rgf207 View Post
A few things

1. Welcome to college. As your DD is figuring out, college != high school
2. Dropping a class simply to save a GPA is not the right decisions. GPA's don't mean much in college. 3. Will the chemistry dept. allow an entire class to fail? Sure they will. Again, college != high school.

Have her talk to her advisor. That's what he/she is there for. Take the advice he/she gives. Simple as that.
I don't know what planet you live on, but here on earth they sure do mean something, especially if you are trying to get into many community college programs like nursing, RT, etc. GPA means everything when you are competing for scholarships and also spots in special programs.

I would let your daughter drop this class and get a different instructor next time.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:33 AM   #7
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GPAs mean a lot as far as keeping scholarships, when applying for additional scholarships, when transferring from community college to a four-year, when applying to certain programs, when applying for graduate school. They can mean a lot to a student's self-esteem.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:37 AM   #8
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GPAs mean a lot as far as keeping scholarships, when applying for additional scholarships, when transferring from community college to a four-year, when applying to certain programs, when applying for graduate school. They can mean a lot to a student's self-esteem.

You definitely nailed it. And her self esteem is taking a beating. I don't necessarily think its terrible that she's struggling in a class - it hits most of us at some point. I don't even think its terrible that she has a difficult instructor - life is full of difficult people. I just wish it was a little more manageable because I know she can do it. I am wondering if at some point, she should speak to the department head. This teacher is newly hired and maybe he needs some feedback on his teaching style.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:35 AM   #9
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I don't know what planet you live on, but here on earth they sure do mean something, especially if you are trying to get into many community college programs like nursing, RT, etc. GPA means everything when you are competing for scholarships and also spots in special programs.

I would let your daughter drop this class and get a different instructor next time.
I live on earth also but here in the real world (workforce, post-college), GPA's mean just as much as memberships in collegiate clubs.

As I stated above, the OP did not mention anything about scholarships so there was no way I could have known she was competing for scholarships.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:40 AM   #10
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I live on earth also but here in the real world (workforce, post-college), GPA's mean just as much as memberships in collegiate clubs.

As I stated above, the OP did not mention anything about scholarships so there was no way I could have known she was competing for scholarships.

You are correct in that once you're in the real world, gpa's mean little to nothing. Its just that she's a long way from the real world yet . Thanks for your advice about seeing the adviser though. I think I will push her to do that, and hope she follows through. I think her adviser can give her um... advice about how to proceed and how to make this class up in time to protect her record.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:09 AM   #11
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I live on earth also but here in the real world (workforce, post-college), GPA's mean just as much as memberships in collegiate clubs.

As I stated above, the OP did not mention anything about scholarships so there was no way I could have known she was competing for scholarships.
GPAs mean a lot when transferring and trying to get into competitive grad programs.

I went to community college and transferred into a very competitive university ( where I am currently) and they required a minimum 3.0 to transfer into my major. Most of the transfers had 3.5+ ( I had a 3.03)

Also, a minimum 3.25 GPA is required for the post bac programs I am applying to ( some programs have a minimum 3.5 GPA)

GPA DOES matter. Is it the ONLY thing that matters...no. But it is very important at this stage in life. Once you make it into the work force, " real life" no it doesn't really matter, but you have to make it there first.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:28 AM   #12
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A few things

1. Welcome to college. As your DD is figuring out, college != high school
2. Dropping a class simply to save a GPA is not the right decisions. GPA's don't mean much in college.
3. Will the chemistry dept. allow an entire class to fail? Sure they will. Again, college != high school.

Have her talk to her advisor. That's what he/she is there for. Take the advice he/she gives. Simple as that.
Agreed! And I have to add that although classes are important, in any science course it's the work you do on your own and in the lab that really makes a difference. Your professor isn't the only one teaching you -- there are lab techs and tutorial leaders there to highlight the important points. So your daughter's marks may not be only the professor's fault. I second the advice to talk to the advisor, but she may be missing some of the basics in chemistry and might need to study harder and get more help. Or chemistry might not be for her.

I actually started out first year economics failing on the assignments - I put some extra work in and I got it! Happy to say I now have my Masters in Economics -- it was straight A's after that.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:36 AM   #13
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Agreed! And I have to add that although classes are important, in any science course it's the work you do on your own and in the lab that really makes a difference. Your professor isn't the only one teaching you -- there are lab techs and tutorial leaders there to highlight the important points. So your daughter's marks may not be only the professor's fault. I second the advice to talk to the advisor, but she may be missing some of the basics in chemistry and might need to study harder and get more help. Or chemistry might not be for her.

I actually started out first year economics failing on the assignments - I put some extra work in and I got it! Happy to say I now have my Masters in Economics -- it was straight A's after that.


There definitely could be some other factors than the teacher, and I haven't ruled out the possibility that there are some good life lessons here. (But aren't they painful to go through ). I know that she can learn Chemistry, but it is probable that she will need to work harder on it. She may decide to hold off on Chemistry until she gets to her 4 year school, or she may take it again at the community college if there is a different instructor. She will most likely be planning a career in Nursing/Animal Science or some other science field, so she will need to get through it at some point.

I was blessed with a wonderful beginning Chemistry teacher and managed to get through 3 semesters of it with few problems. Unfortunately, I don't remember much of it to help her. She has tried to get a tutor, but the school hasn't been able to help her with this.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:40 PM   #14
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Agreed! And I have to add that although classes are important, in any science course it's the work you do on your own and in the lab that really makes a difference. Your professor isn't the only one teaching you -- there are lab techs and tutorial leaders there to highlight the important points. So your daughter's marks may not be only the professor's fault. I second the advice to talk to the advisor, but she may be missing some of the basics in chemistry and might need to study harder and get more help. Or chemistry might not be for her.

I actually started out first year economics failing on the assignments - I put some extra work in and I got it! Happy to say I now have my Masters in Economics -- it was straight A's after that.
Absolutely. Google is your friend. Keep in mind also that the getting used to the math and the conversions is a major hump in chemistry. If she can get past that okay, she'll be fine. But definitely have her check her answers on the computer or get some sort of guide (even the For Dummies books are helpful). Chemistry and Physics are not all memorization like Anatomy is. You are applying it now and teachers tend to go at the speed of their class getting it, not by a pre-arranged schedule.
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:41 PM   #15
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A few things

1. Welcome to college. As your DD is figuring out, college != high school
2. Dropping a class simply to save a GPA is not the right decisions. GPA's don't mean much in college.
3. Will the chemistry dept. allow an entire class to fail? Sure they will. Again, college != high school.

Have her talk to her advisor. That's what he/she is there for. Take the advice he/she gives. Simple as that.
I am going to have to echo the WTHeck?

I have a child in engineering. Every job and every internship possibility has a listed a minimum GPA before you will even be considered. Lower than a 3.2? Forget getting any kind of internship which also means forget getting a decent job after you graduate.
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