What Is Academic Probation?

The term ‘academic probation’ is a common term used by universities and colleges to signify a student is not making the academic progress necessary for graduation.

It means the student’s overall GPA or grades are too low to stay in school unless they improve.

There are various reasons why somebody might be placed on academic probation, although the reason has to be academic in nature. If the reason is nonacademic then the offenses could instead lead to disciplinary probation.

Probation is never a good thing and it can lead to the suspension or even expulsion of a student.

Causes of Academic Probation

A student might be placed on academic probation by their school because of his GPA in classes required for his major or his cumulative GPA. One semester of bad grades could also be the cause of academic probation.

A worse scenario is a student failing to meet the standards of financial aid he is receiving. This can also lead to academic probation.

Some students can just decide to drop out of college and go to work. It depends however on what is required to stay in good standing with the school and on the school’s rules.

Even if a student believes he is doing well, it is important to familiarize himself with any GPA standards which have to be met.

These can include the GPA required for a major, honors program, scholarship or even basic academic standards.

It is of course best to make sure a GPA drop never happens to begin with, rather than ending up on probation and having to get out of it.

Responding to Academic Probation

Being put on academic probation is not the same as being expelled or asked to leave the college. There is no need to panic at this early stage.

Being put on academic probation means students will get a semester, or similar probationary period, to show they can make better academic progress.

A student might have to increase his GPA by a specific amount, pass all his classes or meet another requirement set by the school.

There will be some pressure to succeed, since failing could mean eventual suspension or expulsion, but there are some things a student can do to make the most of the second chance he now has.

How to Clear Academic Probation

It is important to ensure the student understands what is required in order to stay in the college. He will want to have the specific steps outlined clearly, as long as how long the probation is going to last.

If it is not clear what steps must be taken in order to clear academic probation, the student should keep asking until they have the correct information.

Once this has been established, the student needs to ask this important question: what changes must he make in his day-to-day life in order to ensure meeting his academic goals?

Let’s look at an example. Say the student can cut back on some work hours, extracurricular activities or social commitments, this might be a good way to spend more time studying.

In this case, the student should ask an advisor or trusted mentor for the best recommendations such as an individual tutor or study group. Some extra help like this can help a lot in clearing academic probation.

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