Spring semester drop rates reflect flexibility for entry-level courses

Corbin Reiter

Colorado State University students are able to freely add and drop classes for the first month of each semester in order to more efficiently spend their time in class, said Haley Richards, a counselor for the Collaborative of Student Achievement.

Many students drop classes in order to maintain academic success, Richards said. During the first week of each semester adding and dropping classes has little consequence, and if a student for any reason does not feel that a class will further their academic goals, they may choose to drop it.

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Out of the 10 most dropped classes of the spring 2019 semester, seven were 100 or 200-level classes, according to data provided by the Office of the Registrar. By the number of students dropped the top 10 most dropped classes from January 22 up until March 6 were CO150, CO300, LIFE102, SPCM200, GEOL121, CHEM112, JTC300, STAT301, MU100 and ECON202, according to data provided by the Office of the Registrar.

This is just the number of students who took the action to drop the course,” Katie Rischeill, an associate registrar, wrote in an email to The Collegian. “This does not take into account the capacity of the course.” 

The trend of lower level classes being the most dropped is not an uncommon one. According to data presented by Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness the most dropped classes in past semesters have been overwhelmingly 100 and 200-level classes.

Fall 2018 most dropped classes by percent of students dropped 

FSHN192, LSPA100, CS164, AA100, ACT205, SOC210, HES207, MATH161, ECON240, ACT220.

100 and 200-level classes are entry-level classes that are generally taken by first and second-year students. These students are just starting their time at CSU and, as such, they do not have a roadmap for the time that they will be spending at CSU, Richards said.

“We get a lot because they don’t know how to do it,” Richards said “First and second-year students. Even declared students will come here because their friend is undeclared and has come here, and they don’t know what a drop or withdrawal is, how do I do it.”

During the first weeks of the semester, students must weigh their potential academic success against minimum requirements for financial aid and other factors, Richards said. Many scholarships require that students remain full-time status in order to receive benefits, and so dropping a class can put some students at risk of losing money.

Fifteen credits are the recommended number for all students at CSU, 12 is the minimum requirement to remain a full-time student and stay eligible for many scholarships and financial aid and nine credits is the minimum requirement for students to remain living in the residence halls.

“If you get down to nine, nine is the minimum to stay in the residence halls and you are not eligible for financial aid with nine,” Richards said.

The Collaborative for Student Achievement is an organization that primarily offers undeclared student advising. Their mission is “Empowering students to create and achieve their personal and educational goals.”

While a balance between credit number and success must be made by each student at the start of a semester, the most important thing is the success of students at CSU.

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“(Discussing withdrawing from a class is) a lot of hypothetical GPA projections to see what is going to help this student accomplish their goals,” Richards said.

Corbin Reiter can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @CorbinReiter.