Salvaging the semester
With two-thirds of the semester over, midterm grades have been posted to OASIS. But any students with C’s or below know this, as the university sent out an email informing them of their below-average grades.
Of course, no one wants to end up in that situation. Many students depend on their GPA for financial aid, and for the students that are already on academic probation, these grades will determine if they are even allowed to continue their academic career at USF.
Students may think that it’s too late to recover from subpar grades. With only five weeks left in the semester, there are still a handful of tips and tricks for people who need to salvage their GPA.
Let’s be honest. Most students aren’t chatting with every other person in their class. When their grades begin to spiral they have no idea who to turn to. So what’s the answer for all those socially awkward, stressed out Bulls? The internet. Using social media is an easy way to reach out to those who have walked this path before.
There are class pages on Facebook where students often send out desperate calls for help when the F’s begin to pile up on Canvas. Creating a simple post asking for advice, recommendations or even tutoring will allow anyone who’s feeling like doing a good deed to lend a helping hand.
If students are determined to pass without help from instructors or advisers, they ought to form or join a study group. This not only helps them, but also allows them to help their classmates.
Study groups help students to focus more, as they have other people there to keep them in check. It’s harder to procrastinate when you have classmates who are motivated to keep you focused because their grade depends on the success of the study session.
Additionally, if the main issue with grasping the subject matter was how the professor explains topics, having a fellow student break down the material instead may help students understand the material.
One academic opportunity many students do not utilize is office hours. Not only can people air their grievances with their professors in a one-on-one setting, but these spontaneous conferences help students get to know their instructors on a more personal level — which will come in handy when letter of recommendation season rolls around.
The first thing that students with unsatisfactory midterm grades should do is either make an appointment or attend their professor’s walk-in hours. Don’t be afraid to grovel. Students might be surprised to discover how much many professors will do to help them pass their class.
Students shouldn’t be going into these office hours expecting an easy A, but some professors might assign them an extra credit assignment or two, or even give them some leeway on upcoming assignments, in order to for them to pass the class. After all, professors don’t get anything in exchange for students’ failure in the course.
Fully utilizing Canvas
Everyone knows how to upload assignments and check grades on Canvas. It’s no secret that using Canvas email to contact your professors nine times out of ten will result in failure and that you sometimes need to get creative to find assignments on the site. However, what a surprisingly large number of students fail to realize is there is a magic little tab on the class page titled “People” which lists every student in the course.
So when you reach the edge of a cliff and know one more bad grade will shove you over into the abyss, click on the magical tab and start scrolling. Find Kip Dynamite, who you know has an A in the course, click on his name to get his student email and send him a desperate plea for assistance. Even if he doesn’t have time to tutor you, he should be able to point you in the right direction so you can at least scrape together a C.
When making any big decision about their educational career, students should visit their academic adviser for help or information about how to best manage grades or classes. Advisers can give tailored recommendations on what each student should do based on their specific problem as well as provide students with options that many didn’t even know they had.
While most of the time, students have to make an appointment to see the adviser in their department, some advisers are currently holding walk-in hours over the course of the next week because registration is opening up for the spring semester.
Students who have talked to their professors about their grade and see no possible way of passing the class can consider withdrawing from the class altogether, but only as a desperate last resort.
As withdrawing from a class may affect financial aid, students contemplating a withdrawal should speak to the University Scholarships & Financial Aid Services Office as well as their academic adviser.
Students with fewer than 60 credit hours are allowed three withdrawals while students with 60 or more are given two. This means that students have a total of five withdrawals available over the course of their academic career if they time them correctly.
As the semester is well past add-drop week, students can no longer receive a refund on their tuition if they withdraw from a class now. If they do withdraw, they will be given a W grade, which does not affect GPA.
The original withdrawal deadline was Friday, but because of the power outage on that day which affected a large part of the campus, the deadline was extended to today. This is the final opportunity for students to withdraw from a class this semester if they want to.