Choosing what classes to take without any prior knowledge of the material can take a toll on students. Luckily, students have the ability to drop a class shortly after enrolling. However, it can be challenging to assess within such a small window of time whether or not classes will be suitable.
The last day students are able to drop a class and receive a full refund for the fall semester of 2018 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was Aug. 27. This amount of time gives students a week to gauge their future success in a class before committing to it. This is not an ample amount of time to understand the difficulty level or workload of a class.
Placing a time limit on students’ ability to drop a class not only dissuades students from taking challenging courses, but also forces them to choose between their sanity and finances. As such, the deadline for dropping a class for a full refund should be extended.
Students often anticipate a class to be far less taxing than it turns out to be, leading to problems later on in the semester such as an unbalanced workload, excessive stress and lack of sleep. When only given a week to decide whether to stay in a class or drop it, many find themselves out of luck once they are stuck in the class and realize they don’t have the resources to succeed.
Having such a small time frame to drop classes also encourages students to give up on difficult courses early in the semester. They are forced to toss in the towel sooner rather than later if they want to succeed in other classes without losing hundreds of dollars or tanking their grade point average. Giving students ample time to drop a class and get a full refund, such as a few weeks rather than just one, would encourage them to take more challenging classes without fear of having no escape.
Students also fear the repercussions of their financial decisions. Having an unreasonable date by which classes have to be dropped for a full refund forces students to choose between their mental health and being compensated for a class they have dropped and are no longer earning credit for.
Taking on a challenging class can add to a student’s workload, straining their focus and increasing their anxiety, but dropping the class later in the semester means losing money. Because of this, students feel obligated to make smart financial decisions by sacrificing their mental well-being.
Extending the drop dates would coincide with UNL’s recent strides in caring for students’ mental health because it would be a natural reliever of stress and anxiety and would serve to improve mental well-being across campus.
Extending full refund drop dates for classes would give students the freedom to make their own decisions about how their money and energy should be spent. UNL should consider implementing this change as it encourages students to take difficult classes without putting their money or mental health on the chopping block.
This piece was originally published in the January 2019 edition of The DN.