Academic ProbationCredit: Sigurd Decroos

Many college students are able to move forward without any academic issues, however, there are some students whose academic progress gets delayed with academic probation. Upon entering college there is a time period in which students must adjust to their new environment and advanced coursework. Academic probation happens for many reasons and fortunately there are many ways to improve your college GPA.

Read your academic probation notice. At the end of the semester, a list generates showing those who have fallen under the university or department GPA requirements. A letter or email goes out to the student for notification purposes and with instructions to help the student get back in good standing. You should read this information carefully and act as soon as possible.

Visit with your major advisor. Most students will need to meet with an academic advisor. It is best to meet with a major advisor as soon as possible. An advisor can help with a student’s next steps to help the student get off of probation. The advisor will ask about the student’s progress in classes and based on the information will recommend various resources offered through the university.

Change your study habits. High school and even community college study habits will not work at the university level. You will need to learn how to improve your studying to match the rigor of the classes you are now being exposed to. Try taking a few workshops offered by your college on how to improve study habits and see if they help you with improving your academic probation situation.

Work on time management. There are 168 hours in a week. Do you know how you are spending your time? If not, it’s time to look at managing your time effectively and constructively. Buy a planner and use it to record all of your time spent and then review it and see if there are any areas that need to change so that you are making the most of your time to improve your grades.

Pick up tutoring. If your academic troubles are school-related, then tutoring is the best thing to help improve grades. Some courses are just naturally difficult for students and it’s never too early to meet with a tutor. In most cases, students will not seek tutoring until it’s too late and they already stand to fail courses. If you are having a difficult time with classes, it is imperative to work with a tutor so that grades may increase.

Seek professional counseling. Sometimes academic issues are not class or school-related. There might be underlying issues or circumstances that have affected your study habits and interest with classes. You need to seek counseling offered through the college. These trained and educated professionals help students handle and cope with any personal issues that might be preventing them from achieving academic success. Note that any counseling is private information and is not disclosed unless there the counselor believes there is any imminent danger to the student or to others.

Seek learning resources or medical help. You might be very capable of obtaining passing grades to get off academic probation, however, you might have an undetected disability or medical condition that is affecting performance in classes. Don't be embarrassed or in denial of certain conditions that you can overcome with disability resources or medication. Grades can dramatically increase once you are open to receiving help.

Evaluate work schedule. It’s important to get internships while in college, however, more and more students begin placing more emphasis on the job opportunity than the education opportunity. Working 30 or more hours dramatically impacts academic focus. If you are on academic probation because of long hours, check your work hours to make sure you are making school a priority.

Evaluate major and course of study. Students may have selected a major that might not necessarily fit with their interests or prove more challenging. It is important to check the curriculum of the major you’re in to make sure that you are in the right major.  If you have any doubts you will want to visit with an advisor or career counselor for more information that will help you select the right major.

Pay your own way. Sometimes receiving financial aid or money from parents makes students less appreciative of the college education they are obtaining. If you find yourself not doing well in classes because you have no vested interest you may want to look at picking up more of the tuition tab so that you can see value in where your own money is going.

Take a break. From preschool to high school, students are in school for a long time. Even though society influences the masses to attend college right after high school, that path might not work for everyone. If you feel burned out, you might want to look at taking a little break from school for a short while. Taking off one semester or one year might allow you to refocus on your studies once you return to school.

Go to a community college. Attending a university is a big step and a different environment than most other experiences. Some classes are large and impersonal which can affect your commitment to school. You might be better off attending a community college for a few classes since the campus will be smaller and you have a more personal experience with instructors and staff before moving on to a larger university.

Transfer schools. This might be a last resort, but changing colleges might be the best option for you. You might be able to do better in a different setting altogether. Review other schools and majors and if you can visit them to get to know the culture of their community and academics.

As you can see, there are multiple ways to help increase your GPA and get you back in good standing with your college. Try a few. In no time, picking up these strategies can help you get off academic probation.