I am struggling in a class

"Buckeyes are not easily conquered"

Struggling in a class? Ohio State's student body is one strong and reslient, as our mascot suggests. We offer many resources to support your learning if you identify that there is an issue you want to address.

The first thing you should do is take advantage of any study resources listed in your syllabus or linked in your course's Carmen. If you're still struggling, talk to the instructor about what you don't understand. Try to be specific about what you don't understand and bring some sample homework/quizzes to discuss so that your instructor knows what to focus on. Together you should be able to find a solution.

If you both feel it is best to drop the course, be sure to review the drop deadlines and consequences.

If you already completed most of the work in the course and a situation beyond your control prevents you from being successful in the course, you may be able to request an incomplete in the course. This usually means that you will have until the sixth week of the next term to make up the rest of the work. The instructor will submit a grade of Incomplete with an alternate grade. Your grade will change to the alternate grade by the sixth week of the next term if you do not complete the work.

If you both feel that the best solution is to attempt to finish the course, you should look for on-campus support resources. You should also review the deadline for dropping without petitioning, a deadline that may change depending on the course.

Consider if your major/courses is a good fit

Sometimes we've selected career or major that require coursework that isn't a good fit for our skills or interests, leading us to struggle in those courses. Consider talking to a career services to discuss alternative majors or careers.

College Career Services Office

Other Academic Resources

Sometimes it is helpful to think flexibly about your learning. For example, if the way your instructor is explaining a topic doesn't make sense to you, keep in mind that Google can help them answer many how-to questions. Or, for lab based courses, investigate whether YouTube has a helpful video or tutorial. In addition, some subjects may have flash-card apps or learning games available for your phone or iPad.

    Khan Academy

    Consider using https://www.khanacademy.org/ for supplemental instruction on topics related to a variety of subjects. Each topic is broken down into smaller, more managable segments.


    The Math department has sample midterms to help you study and prep at https://math.osu.edu/courses. There is also additional help for Math 1151: https://mooculus.osu.edu/

    Maybe the trouble is online coursework?

    Here is a playlist of Ohio State videos about being a successful online learner: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLz5jpP6Z4ZktyCwISJZ8il51qO1R0fE5D

    For even more tips, download a list of helpful advice for being a successful online learner from the National Academic Advising Association : https://osu.box.com/s/vce3bxq65khrjligumnzjcbkyltnvck1

    Consider taking a class that can help you learn academic skills


    • 2120 - Information Search, Evaluation and Use (2)
    • 2121 - Academic Online Research (2)


    • 1159 - Online Learning Strategies and Skills (2)
    • 1259 - Learning and Motivation Strategies for College Success (3)
    • 1359 - Critical Thinking and Collaboration in Online Learning (3)
    • 2059 - Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner (2)
    • 2060 - Academic Success Strategies for International Students (2)
    Find out if you are eligible to join SpringForward

    A summer enrichment program for eligible students after they complete their first year at Ohio State, which includes: a scholarship that covers up to 6 credit hours, additional academic success coursework, one-on-one academic coaching, and one-on-one personalized advising; and ongoing support in the sophomore year and beyond, including a specific STEP cohort, specialized advising, workshops, social events, and more.

    Having a hard time focusing on your coursework?

    Advisors are always ready to listen and talk through what you are feeling. Begin a conversation with your advisor; they will be able to help you think through the best course of action and will make appropriate referrals.

    Schedule an Appointment

    Academics are also affected by your life outside the classroom

    Mental Health is important

    "Over the past year, I got clear diagnoses and medication regarding Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder which were issues I have been battling my entire life and my academic career suffered because of this. I utilized resources provided by OSU Primary Care to address these issues and have been effected very positively from the solutions I was granted."

    Social wellness is important, too

    "Having peers in the same major as myself helped play a factor and in my gpa rising because they have helped me to stay on track and better understand any assignments found myself stuck on. "

    Find a student group
    Incorporate physical health routines

    "I think first and foremost, taking care of your physical and mental health should come first. Physical health is the easiest to manage methodically, but it is a huge factor in your mental health and preventing burnout. Getting good sleep (and waking up at the same time every day), allocating times for regular meals (between classes, etc), and finding time for exercise and social events are extremely important."

    Financial wellness is important, too

    "Last semester I had a crazy work load, and I work off campus 3-4 nights a week so finding a balance was hard, but extremely necessary. I was able to obtain the GPA I did by designating certain days of the week to just doing school work. I tried to minimize my distractions as much as I could. And somehow I was able to pull off a great semester."

    Find local resources