Students facing failing grades turn to Q drops

Heather Kirby

Last spring, more than 1,500 students failed at least one class and more than 6,000 students Q-dropped at least one class.

Q-dropping a class can prevent a student from having an ‘F’ grade calculated into their GPA. A Q-drop means the student withdraws from the class and a “Q” is placed on their transcript for that course. 

“UT-Austin’s academic standards are very high, and our students consistently rise to the challenge of our courses,” said Rachelle Hernandez, senior vice provost for enrollment management.

 Albert Medina, a radio-television-film junior, said he has failed a class and used all of his allotted Q drops to protect his GPA. 

 “We go to a top-tier university, and some people are really scared to affect their GPA, so they would rather Q-drop than fail,” Medina said. “UT can be tough … and it’s something that we can all relate to.”

Jay Guevara, student program coordinator in the University Leadership Network and Academic Counselor’s Association president, said students should take advantage of resources to help them with classes, such as the Sanger Learning Center and the University Writing Center.

“Students should check in with their academic advisor to find out about resources that might be specific for their college or school,” Guevara said.

The deadline for Q-dropping courses was Nov. 1. The only other way a student can drop a class is by using their “one time exception,” or OTE. This is a one-time course drop that can be used at any point in the semester.

Medina said failing is just a step toward success. He said he thinks it’s common to hear other students talk about failing, because UT coursework can be tough.

 “Failure equals growth,” Medina said. “One thing my parents distilled in me is to never give up and always try your best at everything you do, whether you fail or not.”

Hernandez said students should remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength and confidence in your ability to learn, your desire to succeed and your commitment to education.

 “Every UT-Austin student is extremely talented, but everyone needs help in college at some point,” Hernandez said. “Even the most talented students benefit from additional tutoring and support throughout their college.”