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Getting a Bad Grade in a College Course: What Can I do About it?

When you don’t do as well as you thought you did or would, can be difficult to deal with. Getting a bad grade in a college course can be especially hard because you have fewer chances to make up for lost points or units before the semester is over.

Tips for coping

Even though your grades might not be what you were hoping for, that doesn’t mean that your future is hopeless, or that you’re a failure. Here are some suggestions that can help you figure out where to go from here:

1. Talk to your professor, teaching assistant, or someone who can offer advice. Talking to your professor or a college counselor can be a great way to make a plan and explore your options. It might also be a good idea to discuss your bad grade before you receive your final grade for the class.

2. When feeling pressure from friends and family talk to them and let them know how you’re feeling.

3. Challenge and reset your expectations. Sometimes the biggest pressures we feel come from our own expectations. It can be helpful to re-think your own expectations to help you decide if they’re realistic and achievable.


Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 

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