Earning good grades is a common goal among college students but not all achieve it. Some have personal or family emergencies that interfere with their class work while others spend too much time socializing with friends. At the end of the semester students who have done poorly and failed to maintain the college or university's required grade point average (GPA) may find themselves on academic probation.
The written notice students receive about academic probation often detail the school's policy for academic progress. If you fail to make academic progress after receiving notification you've been placed on probation, the college or university you attend has the right to dismiss you as a student and prohibit you from taking additional classes or earning your degree. While it can be disheartening to receive this news, it is possible to overcome it and remain in school if you know how to get off academic probation.
As soon as you know you've been placed on probation with your school, make an appointment with your academic advisor. They're the one person on campus who is on your side, and they are there to help you develop a plan to succeed. They can assist you in planning a schedule that you can manage, and they are aware of resources on campus that you can take advantage of such as tutoring or study groups.
When discussing your options for getting off probation with your advisor, consider taking a lighter course load or classes that aren't as challenging. If there's a particular subject that you find interesting such as psychology or history, take courses in that department. The more interested you are in a subject the more likely you'll be to attend class, do the homework and get a good grade.
Once you've got your class schedule set, take time to make a weekly schedule for yourself. List the times you'll be in class as well as the hours you work if you hold a job and attend school at the same time. Make sure to include time each day for studying and doing homework. You should schedule free time for yourself throughout the week, so you can inform friends and family members when you are available to hang out with them. Making the schedule and sticking to it helps you establish set hours each day to study rather than procrastinating and putting it off until it's too late.
It's important that when you're on academic probation you make your classes a priority. Reducing your hours at work or limiting your socializing time with friends may seem detrimental to you, but it's only for a semester or two until you are no longer on academic probation. If you don't raise your GPA to the required minimum and get off probation, you won't need to work to pay for school or have all the college parties to attend anyways. Limit them now so you can enjoy them in the future.
As you start your new classes for the semester take the time to get to know your instructor. Walk up to them and introduce yourself. Ask them any questions you might have about the structure of the class or the materials covered in class. Throughout the duration of the course make sure to check in with them either before or after the class or during their scheduled office hours. Learn what opportunities exist for extra credit, and what they suggest focusing on when studying. The more engaged you appear to them in the class and its content, the more likely they are to round your grade up if it is close to the next letter grade.
Get to know some of the other students in your classes as well. They can be a huge resource in the event you miss a class due to an illness or a family emergency. You can compare notes with them and figure out any key points, names or dates you missed when writing your own notes. In addition, you can form a study group specifically for the class with a few of the other students. Study groups are very beneficial since they allow students to discuss ideas and concepts from class as well as point out information each other missed or wrongly interrupted. Not only does meeting with a study group give you a set time to study for the class each week, it also provides social benefits as you get to know other students on your campus.
Tutoring is also an option for you as most colleges and universities offer it for free. Usually the students serving as tutors have taken the class before and received a good grade. Sometimes they are juniors or seniors who are majoring in the subject they tutor, which means they have additional knowledge of the subject which can help them in tutoring you. Working one-on-one with a tutor gives you the opportunity to focus on the concepts you don't understand and skip over the material you know and are confident about remembering.
Disabled individuals and first-generation college students are just a few of the special populations that qualify for additional academic services. It's important that you check with the academic resource center on your campus to determine if there are any special services that you may be able to receive. For example students with severe test anxiety may be given special permission to take the test in a campus office to eliminate the intimidation and anxiety that comes from taking it in the traditional classroom setting. The academic resource center may also offer special classes and programs that teach time management, test preparation or study techniques which you can learn and apply to your own life.
If you think that you've been wrongly placed on academic probation, you do have the option to appeal. The written notification you receive informing you of your probationary status should contain details of what you need to do to appeal or a person to contact to learn about the appeal process. Generally appeals aren't granted for academic probation since the minimum GPA required is written into academic policy. You've failed to maintain it, and regardless of the reasons for that you need to bring it back up to the minimum requirement.
If you have a family or medical emergency that you think is going to wreak havoc on your grades and GPA, don't wait to contact your instructors or the academic dean. Incompletes and extensions can be granted to give you more time to complete the class.