Friday, February 13, 2009

This is Why Some Students Need a "How to do College" Class

Today I've been emailing back and forth with one of my less successful calculus students.

On Wednesday I emailed every calculus student who scored less than a C on the first exam asking them how things were going with the class and whether they had any questions. One student wrote back that he sucks at math, doesn't understand much, and is worried that he's going to fail. I responded with some tips as to how to get started getting caught up, a suggestion that he come see me in my office, and a reminder that there is free tutoring at the math help center (including the location of the math help center).

He writes back today asking where he can get some tutoring. I reiterated about office hours and the math help center and gave him a link to more information on the web.

And then he writes back again asking if it's too late to drop the class.

So I respond telling him the deadlines for dropping with a W and dropping with a last-chance-W.

Then he writes back again asking what it means to drop with a W.

At this point, I'm worried that I won't be able to effectively communicate all the nuances of the situation (and how Ws count against students in terms of scholarships), so I told him to get in touch with an advisor or with financial aid. If you're failing math and don't know what it means to drop with a W, you probably need some advising.