Chemistry Woes/Advice for dropping class

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by skater, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. skater

    skater <font color=blue>Change sometimes stinks.. doesn't

    Jul 11, 2005

    Your teacher wasn't preparing you for anything at all. I think you wrote the key word here - paying. We will lose money when she drops this class and I"m not even sure how it may affect her scholarships. I don't want her to be handed a grade, but of course, I"m hoping for a fighting chance.
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  3. Pea-n-Me

    Pea-n-Me DIS Veteran

    Jul 18, 2004
    Can't agree more.

    I am one of those people who doesn't get a lot out of being in the classroom as far as learning the subject goes - actual learning requires me to sit down with the book for extended periods of time and not move on to the next page until I fully understand what was said on the previous page. I distinctly remember pouring over my chemistry books for hours on end until I understood the material. Painful, for sure. But once I got the hang of it, it came fairly easily.

    From what I can see, it doesn't seem like many kids today have these types of study habits. I'm not sure why. It's something I'm working on with my own two.
  4. RitaZ.

    RitaZ. Move on don't hesitate, break out.

    Sep 20, 2000
    She absolutely should talk to the department chair. It will be even better if she can get other classmates to go with her to speak to the department head.

    I had a very unreliable professor (an M.D.) for an A&P lab. He had a long distance to travel (so he said) to get to campus and was always late. It didn't matter how late he got to class, we still had to complete the full lab for that day. So, some of us got together and went to speak to the department chair. She listened to us and promised that she'd look into it. Something must have happened because the professor was never late to class again.

    OP, I would encourage her to do this. Community colleges hire a lot of adjunct professors. If they are ineffective and inconsistent, they shouldn't be teaching. For core classes, professors have to meet specific academic goals set by the department.

    GPAs mean a lot, period. If they didn't, everyone could get F's and still graduate with a degree.
  5. jlewisinsyr

    jlewisinsyr DIS Veteran

    Mar 29, 2007
    I'll chime in and also say GPAs can matter, even in the "real" world of work. Sure, a basic 3.00 or 3.25 GPA doesn't mean much compared to a 2.50, but for a recent graduate that has a 3.75 or higher, it can be a deciding factor in getting a job at a preferred employer.
  6. Planogirl

    Planogirl I feel the nerd in me stirring

    Aug 11, 2000
    I dropped a few classes and it never affected me but then I didn't have a scholarship to worry about. Other than that, I don't see the big deal.
  7. castleview

    castleview <font color=blue>I'm on my 103rd attempt to grown

    Mar 4, 2004
    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.
  8. ccgirl

    ccgirl DIS Veteran

    Jun 25, 2009
    Bolded mine. I have a BS in Biology and the bolded is usually true of any science class. You have to know the material to get the grade. While my DD was in a non-science major and they were usually curved. I took Organic Chem I twice, once with a D and once with a C, before I took it at another college and transferred that in with a B. If she is college age, please let her make her own decisions and exert some of her indepedence. If she wants to drop it quietly let her. Chemistry is a very hard subject. Does she need it?
  9. castleview

    castleview <font color=blue>I'm on my 103rd attempt to grown

    Mar 4, 2004
    Given that they can download power points of the notes, have a lot of fill-in study guides, and are used to test reviews (yes, even at the college level), I think many have no idea what to do on their own. I never thought all that outlining we did back in third and fourth grade would have effected me, but it did apparently. I actually asked one of my professors when they started doing test reviews in college (I was the first one there one day) since I'm so used to be taught from a weed out perspective. He rolled his eyes and said that over the past fifteen years, he's been expected to practically spoon feed the information to studentsÂ…and that doesn't work 60% of the time.
  10. Caseheidi

    Caseheidi DIS Veteran

    Aug 28, 2012
    She needs to talk to her advisor about her options. It is possible she could change to Pass/Fail or audit and not affect her GPA.
  11. superme80

    superme80 DIS Veteran

    May 2, 2010
    I had a teacher like this once. I ended up dropping the class. So glad I did. I had a couple friends stay in and I don't think too many passed. He was constantly changing the format of the test, adding things he told us NOT to study, and was just an all around jerk. I can take difficult teachers, but at least give your students some respect. I took the class a couple of semesters later and passed.
    I would recommend just dropping the class.
  12. mamacatnv

    mamacatnv That be a Mum Y'all - a Texas Mum

    Nov 7, 2005
    Sometimes it takes weeks to get in to see their advisers so I would not hinge my decision on that not would I hinge on the refund date. A W is better than an F

    My DS is a 5 year college senior right now because he did not strategically drop a few classes his Freshman year, before he figured out how to play the college game for real. He wants to go to grad school and GPA's really do matter, A LOT!

    Let your DD decide the course she wants to take. I would stay out of it regarding what she should do in regards to leading her. I would lean heavily towards asking her what it is she wants to do and then letting her do it.

    Sure, tell the adviser when she gets a chance'

    Don't think that the school has not heard this guy is an idiot before, they probably have and either really don't care or he is protected and there is nothing they can do but they won't tell you that. They will nod in sympathy, let your DD fill out the forms etc when in reality nothing may be done.
  13. dis-happy

    dis-happy DIS Veteran

    Aug 18, 2004
    Since she is planning for science to be her future major, I would have her drop the class....she needs to learn this material, as it will be the basis for future classes. My dd did a BS in Bio and O-Chem is a huge weed out class for science majors and people considering going pre-med. Your dd will need to be prepared for this fact later on in her schooling career as well.

    Currently my ds is taking bio and chem at the community college as a dual enrolled high school student (we homeschool). Everyone in his class is complaining about the teacher who is foreign born and apparently doesn't teach very well. Supposedly the first big exam did not go well for the majority of the class....there was even a delay on posting the results and after the fact the teacher added 5 pts to everone's score. My son got a 92 then 97 after the extra points; while he is doing well in this class he has already had a high school chem class and he knows how to push in and study hard until he learns the material, even if he has to do it all on his own (something good he's learned as a homeschooler!).

    Also, your dd needs to know how much of the grade and final weighted grade is just the exam. In my ds' CC class a big part of the grade includes the lab portion as well. So make sure she is looking at the big picture on the grading as well.
  14. DopeyDame

    DopeyDame DIS Veteran

    Jul 8, 2010
    I'm an adjunct prof in a science deptartment at a community college (I don't teach chem, so no - I'm not the OP's teacher :lmao:)
    Some really good points have been made:
    1. If she wants to go into nursing, she NEEDS chemistry - not just for the grade, but for the material. If she's not learning it well from this prof, she should drop it and try again later.
    2. from the college's perspective, dropping it "quietly" vs. talking to everyone about it first makes absolutely no difference. Once she fills out the forms, the registrar will process it. End of story.
    3. I would, though, encourage her to talk to someone in the science department. Not in a "this teacher is crappy" manner, but approach them saying "I'm dropping chemistry this semester. What can I do now, and next time I take it, to make sure I'm more successful?" My school offers a chemistry 001 class the second half of every semester. It's a non-credit class for students who dropped out of the intro chem class (there are always a LOT of them every semester.) The class goes over some of the basics, including the math skills, that are necessary to succeed. It also stresses a lot of the study skills that students often lack heading into college and introduces the kids to all of the resources available for help.
    4. Whenever she takes chemistry, make sure she knows when the tutoring center hours are, when her profs office hours are, what online tutoring is available, etc., etc. I 99% guarantee you that those things are all available to her - for free - at her college. That doesn't mean she'll get a private tutor from the college, but that there are LOTS of resources available for help. She may need to use every single one of them.
    5. Finally, I know you're her mom and that you want to help her. And advising and offering our opinions is what parents do. It's in our very DNA. But now's the time to step back and let her handle this. Listen, commiserate, ask questions, but let her figure out what she wants to do and how best to do it.

    Good luck!
  15. ILoveToRun

    ILoveToRun Mouseketeer

    Dec 13, 2011
    GPAs also matter when they decide on magna cum laude or summa cum laude. That is something that DOES matter in the real world.

    But also, I have heard by numerous professors that when they admit prospective students into programs, they'll typically look for ones with 3.5-3.99 GPAs opposed to 4.0s. So if she's a 4.0 student, a B here and there isn't going to be horrible, but an F would.

    Withdraw from the class!!! In the world of academia when GPA matters a lot for many programs, a B here and there is ok but a C or lower is not. A W, assuming there's only 1 or 2 overall can be explained.
  16. Schmeck

    Schmeck <font color=blue>Funny thing is now my 17 year old

    Aug 26, 1999
    Of the 15+ years I've been in the workforce, college GPA, summa/magna cum laude, and grades at community college have meant diddly squat for anyone I've come into contact with. I work in education, BTW.

    Chemistry is a lot of math, a lot of formulas, and a lot of vocabulary. My guess is that community college General Chemistry isn't much more advanced than AP Chem, or even Honors Chem at the high school level. Did the OP's daughter have any chemistry classes in high school?

    The OP mentioned that the daughter's self-esteem is taking a beating - good! If everything taught in her college was easy, then she's in the wrong place. She needs to learn how to teach herself, on top of what is going on in class. It's a good skill to have.
  17. MrsDuck

    MrsDuck DIS Veteran

    Sep 2, 2011
    Absolutely withdraw. Heck, given those circumstances (if DD is telling the truth.. not saying she isn't but it's worth discussing with her!), I'd drop even if I had to pay for the class!
  18. Bungle

    Bungle DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2011
    I completely agree with both of these points. But also just know that for some people chemistry feels like a foreign language, and will require WAY more work than you anticipate. Chem tutors are great and the khan academy has some great videos that help too.

    One thing I'm wondering OP is where the test ?s are coming from. If he isn't giving complete lectures isn't there a book you can study from. I know at least two of my chem classes have been based 90% off of self study versus off of lecture/power point.
  19. SandrA9810

    SandrA9810 DIS Veteran

    Jul 24, 2005
    Withdrawing is nearly the same thing as taking an F. You can still retake the course and petition to get the bad grade off her transcript. All classes here have to be passed with a C or better, D's don't transfer.

    Now you have to weigh her options based on any financial aid. I get the Pell Grant which means I must have 12 units each semester to get the full amount. If I withdraw from a class, I have to repay that amount back (or it's withheld from next disbursement). I failed a history course over the summer because the teacher is just awful in prepare the material for online work. I knew I couldn't take a W on it because of the grant, so I plan on enrolling in it next summer and hopefully spend more time on it to get a better grade. I was able to take the hit on my GPA to continue to get the Grant though, and this semester should bring it back above a 3.0
  20. kitgal421

    kitgal421 Earning My Ears

    Apr 22, 2012

    I'm currently a senior in college and there have been a few classes with teachers that are absolutely bat**** crazy. This sounds like one of them. It is not worth losing your sanity, or grades. Dropping those few classes were the best decision I ever made!

    One or two W's look much much much better then flat out failing. Tell her to get out while she can and take it again with a sensible teacher!
  21. skater

    skater <font color=blue>Change sometimes stinks.. doesn't

    Jul 11, 2005
    Thanks for all the great advice. She has utilized some of the methods suggested here like borrowing other Chemistry books (Idiot's Guide, etc.). There's no way I can say with absolute certainty that she has given it all she can, but I know she's given it a good try. I know she'll learn some life lessons, but I'm not glad her self esteem is suffering. But maybe that's the Mom in me ;).

    She does have a Pell Grant which is why I was hoping she could discuss this with an adviser first, but we'll see if this is an option before the withdraw date.

    I am planning on backing off a bit. Its hard to let go :goodvibes.

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