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Auditing courses in college is often an option when you want to learn without being graded. Whether you want to essentially test drive a class or just want to learn more about a particular subject, you should think about auditing when you’re choosing courses at college.
Just make sure your college allows you to take this route, and then learn your school’s procedure for signing up to audit courses.
Advantages of Auditing College Courses
Many students are dissuaded from taking an interesting class because they are afraid the grade would negatively affect their GPA.
If this describes you, your fear could be stopping you from taking a course you would really like. What you learn in the class may even affect you positively in the long run, so consider auditing the course, especially if your school does not charge you money for the courses you audit.
This way, you can learn the same material other students are learning, but you do not have to take the tests or turn in assignments. If the class is advanced, auditing it may save your GPA, especially if you do not need the course for your degree.
You can also consider auditing courses that you eventually need to take before you graduate.
If you have a choice of a few classes that count toward your degree, and you are not sure which one would be best for your GPA, auditing one of these courses allows you to make the best choice. By the time you take the class for credit, you will have already learned a lot of the material through auditing it, so it will feel less challenging.
Disadvantages of Auditing College Courses
The main drawback of auditing courses is that you will not receive credit for the class. Of course, you may not have to submit any work, but you are still taking time out of your schedule to attend class.
Therefore, it does not usually make sense to audit when you are short on time and need to squeeze in a few more credits to graduate in four years.
In addition, not all courses can be audited. You need to check with your college to find out if auditing the courses you are interested in is a possibility. Even the courses that can normally be audited may take away this option if too many students need the credit to graduate, so they will get priority over you.
This means you might find out on the first day of classes that you can no longer audit certain courses, so be prepared for a last-minute change.
Even when you can get in the class, your transcript might not show which courses you have audited since some colleges do not keep such records, so there will be no proof.
If you think auditing courses will benefit you in some way, you should find out the policies of your school, such as how to register and whether this option is free of charge. But you may find that auditing courses is not the route you want to take in college, in which case you should choose courses you can register for the traditional way.