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First year student about to fail a course, need advice!

This is my first semester at university and I am about to fail a course. I still have a term paper to do for the course, but I am doing so bad that even if I get a good mark on the term paper I will still fail. So, is it even worth it to attempt the term paper knowing that I will fail anyway? Does it matter if I get 10% in a course as opposed to a 49%, since they are both fails anyway? How much does failing courses/getting bad marks in first year matter, especially if I wish to transfer into another faculty? I am currently a communications student doing very poorly this semester, getting a little above 50% in my other classes, but I have realized that I do not wish to continue studies in this faculty after this semester and plan on either transferring to computer sciences or dropping out and pursuing something else. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


  • I would try your hardest. In some courses if you don’t complete all components you will get an N instead of an F. An N looks worse than an F IMO, so I would complete the term paper. Also, make sure you do the term paper correctly such as the citation because you don’t want to get caught for plagiarism or anything.

    Also, SFU allows up to five repeats. So if you fail one course it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but you don’t want to make it a habit otherwise you’ll be screwed. You can reevaluate where you went wrong and retake the course to boost your GPA if worst comes to worst. Just tough it out this semester and who knows, you might pass the course with a D. Some profs will bump the class up a letter grade. For example, in BPK 110 I’m pretty sure Diana Bedoya bumped everyone up a letter grade or some percentage because I got an A- and I’m pretty sure I was supposed to get a B+. Therefore, if you’re getting 49% and your prof bumps everyone up you will get a D. So I would try your best to get 50% or even 49% because sometimes the profs will do that especially for first year courses.

    Not to sound like an asshole but I honestly think you not doing well may not have anything to do with your major. First semester/first year is the hardest. I’m a business major and after my first semester I wanted to drop out of school but I kept going and didn’t give up and now I’m halfway through my degree and doing a lot better. Maybe you just need to re-evaluate if you want to study your major and why you’re struggling (freshman transition, procrastination, not passionate about what you’re studying, study habits, etc.) . At SFU, you can take a semester off. I would recommend you consider taking the next semester off and just working. If you’ve come to
    SFU straight from
    High school that’s not always enough time for someone to actually THINK about what they want to do with their life or at least university.

    If you fail the course or do really badly you may be placed on academic probation. You won’t get kicked out of SFU.
  • Also, I wouldn’t recommend dropping out of SFU after your first semester. That’s why I recommend maybe taking a semester off to think about it so at least you still have the door open. If you think it’s going to be any easier at college or another institution it won’t be. It will still be a lot of work. I’m not trying to sound like an asshole OP and if I am I’m sorry but I was in the same position as you and I wanted to drop out but I’m so glad I didn’t. You can always PM me if you want to talk more about it. I wish you all the best of luck! You can also post on the SFU reddit forum as I find more people are online there so you can still keep your anonymity and get advice! :)
  • Also, I heard at some in Canada universities you can drop courses you did bad in during your first year using the excuse “i was a freshman” but at SFU you can’t unfortunately.

    However, if you have extenuating circumstances you can WE. So if you have extenuating circumstances this semester you may be able to apply for WE. I would recommend talking to an academic advisor regardless of what the outcome is / your decision to make sure you’re on the right track.
  • Also don’t feel bad about transferring to another faculty aka switching majors. So many people switch majors. In fact, I remember it was said that 40%-50% of students change their major at least once. You definately should study what you want to study and what you’re interested/passionate about. Otherwise, you most likely will not continue to do well at SFU or any other institution and go downhill. Ofc you don’t want that, so you have to find what you’re interested in and good at and stick with it. Good luck OP and feel free to message me. :)
  • Thank you so much for your help and advice. Right now I'm leaning towards giving up on this course and focus on my other classes to at least get a slightly better mark in those. How much do my marks matter right now if they are not relevant to computer sciences? I am planning on taking the next semester or two off and then work towards transferring to computer sciences, as I am now positive that communications is not the degree that I want to pursue. Once again, thank you.
  • @sfuguy do what you think is best for you OP, I am glad my advice helped. I just wanted to give some insight. I am not an academic advisor so I highly recommend you talk to one. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about because they deal with these situations all the time. Some faculties have different requirements for transferring but I think generally they only care about your CGPA and the courses you are required to take to transfer in. I don’t think getting on academic probation will automatically not allow you to transfer to computing science. However, your CGPA will be very low and you will need to work very hard to build it back up. So you may need to retake the one course you fail to help with that and take some GPA boosters, and do well in the required courses to transfer into computing science. It’s best you talk to an academic advisor (ik I’ve said this so many times) but they can help you will all of that and any questions you have! In the grand scheme of things your situation is not the end of the world and you can definately pick yourself back up from it. It’s not uncommon for first years to go through this. One of my friends in business failed two courses in there first semester because they took five and they are graduating next fall and currently have a CGPA of 3.4 and are doing quite well. :) So it is possible to pick yourself up but you definately need to learn from your misatekes and not make it a habit. Good luck!!

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