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Son flunked out of college on purpose


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momanon1 June 16, 2011


My 20 year old son flunked 4 classes in college this year, and lost his scholarship. He flunked out on purpose - the school is not too hard for him. He was on academic probation and got off it, having raised his grades. As soon as the probation was lifted, he flunked his classes. He wont talk to mom or dad. He is home for the summer, but clearly, can't go back to college. Please advise.

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TeacherParent June 16, 2011


Some more information could be helpful - was this his first year at college? More important might be - why did he want to leave college so badly as to choose to flunk his classes?

As a parent, I'd certainly agree I would not want to send him to college if he is so determined not to go. Sometimes working for a while can change a young person's mind about college.

There are training programs other than college of course but except for the very wealthy, most of us when we're young and in our 20s really only have three life choices - college, work or the military.

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MagnetMom June 16, 2011


momanon1,

Find someone your son can confide in--another relative or a clergy member. He can't go back to school, but he can't sit on the sofa and not make plans for the rest of his life.

Talk to him about getting a job, and if he's not going to school, explain he will be paying rent. Set a deadline and enforce it.

He may decide that college isn't for him, but you're right to think there's more to it than just him not wanting to go.

Let us know how you're doing.


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momanon1 June 17, 2011


Thank you TeacherParent and Magnet Mom for replying.

More information. My son just completed his sophomore year. Actually not, since he flunked 4 classes. Since he wont talk to me or dad, we finally pursuaded him to see a psychologist (on our health plan) He has been to one session so far. Unfortunately, the psychologist cannot talk to us, So the whole thing remain a mystery to me.

You are right, he will have to find a job in the fall and earn the money to make up the difference for the lost scholarship . I explained to him many times while he was in school to to keep his grades up so he can keep the scholarship, because his dad and I simply do not have the resources to pay for college without the scholarship. So flunking out must have been his way of saying he didnt want to go anymore.

I dont know if he thought out his options clearly or not, or just over-reacted He wasn't too happy at school, had few friends there from what I gather. He refused to call home to say hi at all and wouldnt respond to any emails from us, except if he needed something or a ride home.

This summer, he has been hanging out with his friends from high school and he seems happy but they all go to school out of state and will be gone at the end of the summer. Otherwise, when not with his friends, or at work, he reads or plays on his laptop or phone. He also sleeps a lot, I dont know if that's depression or just beacuse he stays up late reading and talking online to his friends from home.

He will help out around the house, upon request. Sometimes he is surly, sometimes not. One good thing is this part-time summer job he has - he wants to use the money to save up to buy a new guitar. So he goes to work although I know he doesnt enjoy the office work. So if he is motivated he can perform

He's not really trade-school material-not good with h is hands, and not military-material either. He really does belong in college - he can be a good student, but I guess just not now. I am hoping that maybe he just needs a year off to actually see what working would be like for someone with no college, to motiviate him. Maybe he was just too immature to go.

It's just that he did get good grades for a while, and then let the grades fall apart, so that really worries me. i dont know if that self-destructive behavior is just immaturity, or someting more serious.. or he just needs time off. ... (he was very excited about going to college in the first place, and this college was his first choice),

I know he was not comfortable at school with all the drinking going on - he doesnt drink, and many of the students spent the weekend plastered - so he didnt have too many people to hang out with. He is not one to go out and make new friends easily, and he is not very confident socially or otherwise.

I was hoping when he went off to college he would grow up a bit, but perhaps he just wasnt ready. Only time will tell.

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momanon1 June 17, 2011


The other very real problem about his flunking out of college is that I dont know if any other college will accept him, with his 4 "F"'s. He may very well have destroyed any chances of having a career at anything. I dont think he even considered that.

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MagnetMom June 17, 2011


Community college will take him regardless of his past mistakes. I'd consider having him pay for his own course work at a community college, and you can reimburse him if he passes with As or Bs.

But you can't make him excel. The fact he is going to a psychologist is good. They'll get to the bottom of it, and express your interest in a group session. You might not ever be privvy to what is going on, but you can keep the communications door open.

Good luck.

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hollyone June 26, 2011


Maybe your son felt between a rock and a hard place, where he did not "fit in" as a non-drinker, yet he chose this school and was supposed to want to go there.
Community college may be a better choice as he has friends who will be home from time to time and he can afford the tuition with a part time job. At work, he will have instant new "friends" or co-workers or boss and that is all the cocial interaction he may need until the others return on their breaks....
I commend your son for not succumbing into the drinking lifestyle prevalent at so many colleges; that is a dangerous, destructive path and he may be best to be away from that, praise god!
How could he explain the craziness of that drinking lifestyle and the pressure to join in the fool-hardiness and insanity? If he had told you he was not "feeling it" there, would you have added pressure for him to stay there, against his better(albeit sub-conscious) judgement? probably yes?
please compliment him for me and tell him I for one I am so glad he did not join in the merrymaker drinking. This he can not regret, because it is hard to get off the alcohol, once it is habituated, even as a binger. My brothers joined fraternities in college and to this day, live for their next drink!
Another consideration is keeping up the pace of study. he may be more comfortable at a community college taking fewer credits. For some students, being "full-time" is exhausting.
Ask him to have a therapy session where the therapist can be a facilitator to a discussion for you. The therapist can agree to help the progress of the discussion so you all will not fall into the old ways of communication that do not work. If he and his current therapist are not agreeable to this, you can find one who is.
best of luck and please compliment your son for making good choices regarding the drinking!

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delanagolden June 27, 2011


I know this is upsetting, but sometimes children just need to find their own way. I quit school after 1 1/2 semesters to get married. I was failing. I had scolarship money. Deep down I just wasn't mature enough for the responsibility of college. I am almost 36yr old, the mother of 5 children and have returned to school after quitting 17rs ago. At this point in my life, after the hardships I have endured with out an education, I can appreciate the gift of an education. Your son will come around. Hopefully, it won't take him as long as it did me. Just let him taste the "real world" first and make him support himself instead of floating on Mom and Dad. If he has to do it on his own he'll get the message much faster. Good Luck.

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momanon1 July 25, 2011


Things may be looking up. The first thing we did was find a psychologist on our health plan. My son seems to like the guy and has been seeing him weekly, although the first meeting took some doing to get him to go. Then we told our son that he would not be going back to college and would have to get a job. All of a sudden, my son decided he did in fact want to return to college. So right now, he is back in school taking summer classes (summer classes are actually a bargain ) Coincidentally some of his good friends from school are also taking summer classes, so he seems to be having a good time. We told him this was his last chance and that if we saw anymore bad grades we would never let him go back (college is out of state) . So we shall see.

He seems to want very much to graduate with his year, but I can't figure out why he didnt make the connection that failing 4 classes would graduating with his class impossible. Anyway, hopefully he wil pass these 2 summer classes, and then be only down 2 classes.

His enrollement in the fall is also contingent on getting good grades now. Plus we are making hm pay for the fall semester out of his savings/loans,etc. (actually, mom is unemployed and dad hasnt earned a salary in months, so we really had no way to pay anyway, especially since he lost the scholarship money on purpose.

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tjlove July 25, 2011


Thanks for the update! It sounds like once your son realized the reality of his situation he started working to turn it around. Hopefully he'll continue once school starts up again in the fall!

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user5645176 August 5, 2014


Hello - I was wondering if you could give me an update on how your son is doing? I have a son going through something very similar - 3 years after yours. He made 3 Fs his first semester and was on probation. He was able to bring his grades up a good bit but still ended with a D in one class so he was academically dropped from his university. He is enrolled to start classes at a community college this fall and he has been working this summer. He seems depressed now that his friends are all heading back.

So I was wondering how everything worked out for your son. Hopefully he's doing well and has moved past all this. I'm very upset but hoping my own son will grow up and be able to finish his degree somewhere.

Thanks



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