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College-age child fails class


Our 19-year-old daughter failed a college course and is truly devastated. We’ve emphasized good grades, stressing their importance to her future success. We are upset as well, but we don’t want to add to her shame. What can we do?



It sounds like your daughter might need some help adapting to the college classroom, which is very different from the high school one. Talk with your daughter about what went wrong with this class and ​why she thinks she failed. Some reasons could be missing classes, not understanding the material and/or not seeking help from the teacher frequently enough. 

College professors expect students to be much more proactive with their education than high school teachers do. There aren’t prompts to turn in work, and feedback on work quality happens less frequently. Help your daughter discover the root of her problem so this does not happen again.  

If needed, look into tutoring services at her college. These can help her learn effective study habits. Check that her class schedule is not too taxing and that the class meeting times fit into her schedule. While you can’t change a failing grade, you can take steps to ensure that it does not happen again.