10 Major Causes of Bad Grades in College (FAQs)

I show up to class on a regular basis, actively participate in lectures, and complete all of my homework; so why am I still struggling academically in college? Is there anything I can do to fix this?

These feelings are common for students who excelled in high school but find themselves struggling in college. Don’t fret; I’ll discuss why students struggle academically in university.

What are Bad Grades in College?

Bad grades are grades below the pass mark. It’s impossible to progress in your studies with these marks.

A failing grade will lower your grade point average (unless the course was taken pass/fail), which could affect your eligibility for financial aid.

You may have trouble getting into graduate school or graduating on time if this failing appears on your transcript.

The ability to maintain full-time enrollment, maintain financial aid eligibility, and get admission to a graduate program all depend on how well a student does academically in their undergraduate years.

The quality of your college education may also play a role in your job prospects.

College students suffer from high rates of despair, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, and the numbers tell a similar picture.

These health crises have been connected to academic stress, and students’ perceptions of their academic performance are a major contributor to this stress.

Although there are caveats to using GPA as a predictor of future success in the workplace, it is still an important component.

Gatekeepers for numerous post-undergraduate prospects, such as graduate school, internships, fellowships, and job applications, look at a student’s academic performance in college.

Causes of Bad Grades in College

1. Course against your Will:

There are instances when parents make a huge difference in their children’s lives.

They would prefer that you take the course they think is best. My friend’s parents, for example, made him choose between medicine and the music he liked, so he started studying medicine but eventually quit because of his poor academic performance.

So, he resumed his musical education and is doing rather well.

When you’re enrolled in a subject that truly interests you, you’ll find the motivation to crack up your textbook, do in-depth research for your assignments, and ultimately succeed academically.

What is your Situation?

Is it possible that you’re stumbling through school because you’re taking a course you hate? then I have this for you: Rather than spending all that time and effort for nothing, why not try switching majors or starting over? A lot of students’ academic performance suffers because of this.

2. Discouraging Voices:

Just because people drop out of school doesn’t mean there is no value in school.

Don’t listen to those who say school is a “SCAM” and that there’s nothing positive that can come from staying in school.

Put up as much effort as you can in school so that you can graduate and put your degree to good use.

3. Distractions:

causes of bad grades in college

It’s possible that you’re being diverted from your work by social obligations or professional obligations.

Your academic success is strongly influenced by the type of friends you keep. Good friends will prod you to do well in class and do your homework, whereas bad friends will only bring up the most recent party.

I’m not suggesting that going out and having fun shouldn’t be a part of your college experience, but you need to strike a nice balance between your studies and your social life.

Have just the kind of people who won’t detract from your focus.

Not only will you be too busy to read or complete homework, but if the business fails to take off, you stand to lose a significant amount of personal wealth as well.

Related: Which type of student are you? find out here.

4. Overload:

 am not doing well
causes of bad grades in college

In this context, “overload” refers to the practice of cramming for multiple exams simultaneously.

It’s possible that if you failed some classes one year and they carried over to the next, you would find yourself studying not only the required courses for that year but also the courses you had missed the year before.

The best way to handle extra courses is to plan and schedule your time properly so that you can study them all. Planning is everything.

5. Lack of Financial Support:

why am i not doing well in school

It is possible that your poor academic performance is attributable to a lack of financial backing from home and sponsors.

If you’re trying to study late at night but don’t have much cash on hand, you can end up eating something too heavy that leaves you too exhausted to concentrate.

How do you get Financial support?

  1. Scholarships: You could apply for scholarships e.g, AGIP, TOTAL, etc. They provide financial support to students through a yearly provision of funds.
  2. Learn a Skill: A skill is another source of income. If you have value to offer, people are always willing to pay. The more value you add, the more money you make.

6. Lack of Planning:

To get where you want to go, you need a plan. Make sure you schedule time to study, do homework, conduct research, and do other necessary things.

Planning ahead will allow you to get your life in order and free up some time for other pursuits.

How is it my problem?

If you don’t have a plan, you could think that you have plenty of time to study for your exams because the semester is still young.

However, if you do have a plan, you’ll get a head start on your studying and be ready for your exams well in advance.

Another is that you will never complete an assignment since you will never remember that you were assigned one because there is no plan for the study.

This is a major contributor to low academic performance in university.

7. Lack of Socialization:

why am i not doing well in class

One of the main reasons why so many students struggle academically in university is because of this.

Because of my popularity in high school, I often viewed myself as Mr. Know-It-All in college, which negatively impacted my academic performance.

That’s why I don’t want you to feel any of the effects of this. Get to know your classmates and ask questions if there’s anything you don’t get, so you don’t waste time or get off track.

8. Lack of Attendance:

There is a direct correlation between class participation and academic success.

You will be completely lost for the rest of the semester if you miss the first three courses of a course, as they provide the foundation upon which the rest of the material is built.

Recently, I’ve noticed that some professors are giving failing grades to students with attendance rates of less than 75%.

Attend classes as often as possible, and if you need to miss one due to an emergency, be sure to contact the instructor or a representative from your course.

9. Change of Course/Institution:

It’s normal to feel out of place in a new class; if you want to succeed, you should do your best to adapt to the requirements of your new major.

Most students struggle with this because they are new to the course and fear being treated poorly or ignored.

If you need to switch schools or departments, your best bet is to talk to someone who can introduce you to the right people.

10. Check your Relationship life:

why am i not doing well in class

Having a sweetheart is great, but don’t let them distract you from your academics.

Provide the finest possible experience for your partner. The best part of being in a relationship is having the freedom to do what you want when you want.

When you have an exam, study on your own time and make sure your spouse knows you have to read for it.

FAQs on the Major Causes of Bad Grades in College

Is 80% grade an A?

It depends on the exam and differs from college to college.

Is it bad to get a low grade?

No, it isn’t. Don’t let a F on a single assignment define you as a student. Your worry demonstrates your intrinsic drive and the high standards you set for yourself. Do not be too hard on yourself if you get a low grade.

Why am I failing even when I study?

You put off studying, so you don’t have enough time to fully comprehend the subject before the exam. The key is to establish a custom of routinely examining your notes. Make sure you spend some time reviewing your class notes every night.

Does grades really matter in High school?

If you want to attend college, you should focus mostly on your high school performance. Colleges may use a student’s grade point average (GPA) as a criterion for acceptance or rejection. Intensify your focus on academic success in college if you have sights set on postgraduate study or a career in the helping professions.


Doing well in college is a personal thing. If you want to do well, you need to do your best and avoid anything that is against your goal for success.

Ask a friend, “what are the causes of bad grades in college?” and add their reply in the comments below.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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Paschal Uchechukwu
Paschal Uchechukwu

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain is a professional and passionate SEO writer on Education, including homeschool, college tips, high school, and travel tips.

He has been writing articles for over 5 years. He is the Chief Content Officer at School & Travel.

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain holds a degree in Computer Science from a reputable institution. Also, he is passionate about helping people get access to online money-making opportunities.

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