Hello there, my fellow OPMs! I’m back once again to talk about my latest issue.

I am taking Calculus I this summer. Unfortunately, I feel a bit lost in class, and I am thinking of dropping it and take a pre-calculus class perhaps in the fall.

The problem I am having right now in Calculus I is the trigonometry part. I haven’t taken trig in 12 years (1995) when I was doing my undergrad in the Philippines. The algebra part in this class is easy for me. My teacher has been helpful, and let me borrow a book so I can review the trigonometry. Still, I am having problems grasping the material.

I had taken calculus this past spring but there was a lot of algebra and no trig at all. My advisor had told me that I didn’t need to take pre-calc since I made an A in this algebra-based calc. Furthermore, taking the pre-calc was more of an option than a requirement. Sigh. Wish I had known better.

So now that I know my mistake, it’s time to fix it. I think I would be more comfortable to take the pre-calc (and yes, it does have trigonometry in it) since I do have to take three more calculus classes. As a med tech, I am detailed-oriented person and that same characteristic applies to me as a student. So I think that I need to go back to the basics, so I can understand the advanced topics better. At least, that’s just how I comfortable I am.

Now my question is…how bad would it look to have a W in my transcript? I had already dropped one class last year. And how many W’s an applicant can have anyway? I know there should be as few as possible…but how few?



There’s no answer to the question of how many Ws. “As few as possible” is a reasonable answer, and so is “A W is way better than a D or an F, and probably better than a C.”

Do you really need to withdraw, or can you just DROP it, in which case it doesn’t show up on your record at all? And why do you have to take all this calculus? Calculus is not an absolute prerequisite for all med schools, although some require it… but not taking calculus doesn’t limit your options all that much. Calculus should not be a prerequisite for pre-med physics unless you’re at a school where your only options are physics for poets (you don’t want that one) and physics for physics majors/engineers – you don’t want that one, either, if you can help it, but that is what you’ll have to take if there are no other options.

Anyway, back to the original question: drop or withdraw now. Regroup and figure out what you need to do for the next time around.


Hi, Mary. Thanks for your reply.

I just looked at the academic calendar at my school, and I can still DROP the class instead of withdrawing it.

Anyway, to answer your question about the calculus classes, they are not required for med school, but they are required for my major, which is chemistry. The physics that is required for this major is calculus based.

I have thought about changing majors, but unfortunately, there are too very few science-related majors at USC (South Carolina). Aside from biology, chemistry is the only science major that I am interested in. And I would’ve chosen biology but I already have one, and it would just look odd to have two bachelor’s of science degrees in biology. At least to me, anyway.

I did consider a major in history, but right now I am participating in the tuition reimbursement program at the hospital where I work. The requirement is that I would have to major in something that is related to my work or science-related. I do like having the tuition reimbursement option since it would save me some money.

Honestly, I wish I didn’t have to do another bachelor’s degree, but USC and the Medical University of South Carolina require a bachelor’s that is finished here in the US. And since I am a state resident of SC, those two would be my top choices. Of course, I am keeping my options (to other med schools) open.

Those are all good reasons to do what you’re doing – especially the tuition reimbursement, which is huge!! So be sure to meet the DROP deadline and then figure out how you’ll tackle this the next time around. I’m sure you will work it out; you’ve got a good track record and this is a very minor, temporary bump in the road.


Yes, I agree about the tuition reimbursement program. That is a huge deal. I have a supervisor who finished her bachelor’s degree, and she said the hospital paid for all of her tuition, which was $10,000. That’s pretty cool.

For every $500 I borrow, I am required to work for them for 1 month. But I can fulfill that work obligation while I’m in school, not after I finish my degree. However, if I change my status to part time or leave my job, I do have topay them back.

Still, it’s a good thing to have. Not only the hospital helps me pay for school, I get paid and get health insurance. Can’t beat that combination.

a few Ws are not going to hurt you, especially if you intend to retake the course but with better background knowledge. Better to have a few Ws than Cs, Ds, or Fs.

Thank you for replying, megboo.

I did drop the class online last night. I feel a lot better today, knowing that I will be more confident when I take up the Calculus class.

PS Love your cats.

LOL - I didn’t read the other responses until after I posted and realized you already dropped!

Great minds think alike LOL.

The kitties are really funny. I need to post new pics I have of them and their antics.

For what it’s worth, my university requires me to take Calc as a pre-req for the 100-level physics classes. Can’t get around it.