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What is Academic Probation?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2016
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No one ever claimed getting an education was going to be easy. Every so often a student may encounter an especially difficult course which leads to a significant drop in his or her overall grade point average (GPA). If that grade point average falls below a minimal standard established by the school, the result could be a condition called academic probation. This may sound like a punishment, but most colleges view academic probation as a safety net between rehabilitation and expulsion.

Almost all incoming students receive an academic break during their first sessions, since actual GPAs have not yet been established. Once the student has entered his or her second session, however, there are minimal standards of academic progress which must be met to remain in good standing with the school. A GPA of 1.00 may be required for freshmen students, which essentially means a D+ average. This requirement may be ramped up to a 1.5 or 2.0 GPA as the student becomes an upperclassman. Any drop below those minimal academic requirements will most likely trigger academic probation.

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In reality, academic probation is handled as a wake-up call for both instructors and students. The student's faculty adviser may suggest retaking difficult courses in order to boost a sagging GPA. Additional services provided by the college may include intensive tutoring and personal counseling. The student may have to reconsider his or her major if the coursework continues to prove too difficult. Academic probation does not restrict a student from enrolling in the next session, but it might affect which courses are available.

The alternative to academic probation is often academic expulsion, which no one wants. While under academic probation, a student is still under the protective umbrella of the institution and can still take steps to rehabilitate himself. Once academic expulsion has taken place, a student's options may be limited to attending a different school, taking a temporary sabbatical or pursuing a different career path without a diploma or degree. This is why many colleges put such an effort behind rehabilitating students under academic probation. The institution accepted the student for qualities beyond academics, so losing him or her forever because of a temporary academic setback would be distressing.

Academic probation is usually self-limiting. The student has a specified amount of time to bring his or her grades up to a specified grade point average or other measurement of academic progress. If the student manages this feat, then full rights are restored and the student is free to pursue his or her program of choice. If the student continues to perform poorly, then the school may ask the student to transfer to another college or pursue other fields of endeavor.

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pollick
Post 2

Policies vary from institution to institution, but in general a student who is officially put on academic probation can learn more about the conditions by contacting their academic adviser or a school counselor. You may have to take certain courses over again in order to stay on track for a degree program, and you'll need to bring your overall grade point average(GPA)to a certain minimal level after the next term.

Sometimes you can appeal the decision through a form of student/faculty court, but not every school has such a process in place. You may also be able to meet with an instructor to appeal for a grade change, which might raise your GPA out of academic probation range if approved.

If the grade is found to be fair and the academic probation still stands, however, your best bet is to work on your study and test-taking skills during the next term and demonstrate a marked improvement in your overall GPA. Academic probation should not be taken lightly, but consider it more of a wake-up call than a warning shot.

anon153891
Post 1

what do you do when you find out that you are on academic probation?

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