NO student heads off to college with the plan of being placed on academic probation (and facing possible dismissal). As a matter of fact, few parents think about this when they drop their kids off for college during the late months of August.
But the reality is that, for most students, once their institution has officially notified them that they are in danger of being dismissed, parents turn from being a tremendous asset, to making matters worse.
Here are some ways you – and your student – can cope with academic probation.
What’s academic probation?
Generally speaking, “academic probation” is the most common term colleges and universities use to indicate that a student is NOT proceeding academically as required by their institution. In other words, it’s a warning that the student’s performance falls below the university’s minimum requirement for “good academic standing.”
Academic standing is often measured by GPA (grade point average). But it can also be determined by a student’s academic progress, and the number of credits taken and passed. It is possible, at some schools, that a student may, in fact, have a high GPA, but may withdraw from too many courses throughout a semester.
Normally, most schools expect students to maintain a 2.0 GPA, which is average. Other schools however, might even lower that number for first-year students.
Whatever the case may be, academic probation is a serious step on the part of college student, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Being placed on probation is usually NOT the same as being asked to leave college.
However, students are typically given a grace period (normally one semester) to demonstrate that they can indeed turn things around. This isn’t meant to insult them or make things worse. In fact, the message is meant to serve as a wake-up call: letting students know they need to make some changes.
Overcoming Academic Probation
Review Your Study Habits
College is an entirely different situation than high school. Although classes are made up of fewer grades, they’re worth it in the long run. Some classes have only midterms and finals, while others consist of papers, projects, and presentations. That being said, it’s important to stay caught up. If you’re a student, ask yourself “How often do I study for my class?”
You’ll be surprised to find out the real answer as most students prefer not believing that they’ll remember all the answers come test time. Instead of allowing your pride to get in the way, take the time to learn new study habits and apply them.
If you want to become a successful student, don’t get discouraged, and DON’T GIVE UP. Instead, work to develop each of the study habits below and you’ll start to see a difference in your GPA, as well as your ability to learn information.
A few helpful tips:
- Don’t attempt to cram ALL your studying in at one time.
- Plan WHEN you’re going to study.
- Set SPECIFIC GOALS when you study.
- Try to study around the SAME TIME.
- Start with the most COMPLEX subject first.
- AVOID studying in noisy environments.
- Use GROUP STUDY effectively.
Attend Class Regularly
This is something that should be done everyday. But of course in higher education, you must take responsibility for your actions. Meaning that mom and dad won’t be there to wake you up for class.
In all honesty, going to class isn’t easy, especially if it’s an infographic or online lecture that give students the ability to decide how quickly they want to watch the lecture or not. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, they’re not the same thing.
Infographics, for instance, are visual representations of data. In other words, when students create infographics, they’re using information, visuals, and technological knowledge. This is a type of learning that’s much more different than the traditional teaching we’re all use to.
As students, it’s important to discipline yourself to go to class and come equipped with writing tools, books, and notebooks. You know, things that are needed in the classroom. Students should also sit towards the front and be in the same place if they can. That way, the instructor can associate the seat with you.
Rather than running to a house party on a Saturday night for drinks, consider paying a visit to your local community service event. This will allow you to focus better and have a positive impact on your resume. Volunteering provides many benefits to both the student’s mental and physical health.
Just like going to a job, committing to a volunteer position shows a tremendous amount of responsibility. It allows students to work on becoming more reliable and allows them to get involved in community events.
For example: students who love to read can find work at local libraries; whereas students, who love to teach or coach, can volunteer at after-school programs for children.
Put Parties On Hold
This is an enormous sacrifice for some students. Roommates and friends will do everything in their power to suck you in and drag you out by your heels. But if you have a midterm coming up, it pays to simply say “no.”
At first, you might feel like you’re missing out. But you’ll really be missing out if you fail the exam, OR walk into class buzzed. It’s always a good idea to get out of the house and hang out with friends; but when hanging out turns into drinking, things can quickly escalate.
Forming bad habits like alcoholism and substance abuse can weaken D2 neurons, as the brain is unable to make cognitive decisions.
Improve Your Situation by Setting Objectives
Goals should be specific and NOT general. For instance: if a student wants to get off of academic probation and improve their skills, they shouldn’t merely say “I want to do better in school.” Instead, that student should create a plan that sets a specific goal, and hold themselves accountable if they don’t achieve it.
Setting goals like: “I will pass my English class with nothing lower than B letter grade,” or “I will study for my history test on Thursday” are specific goals. In addition, make sure the goals that are being set are achievable.
In other words, telling yourself “I will get off of academic probation this week,” would be a far-fetched objective for anyone who just found out about their current academic standing. Goals are meant to have a purpose. In this case, only focus on the student’s achievements.
As a final point, students (especially college students) should appreciate their academic journey. Schools are a place to have fun, get to know people, and discover WHO you are as a person.
Remember why you’re going to school. To get an education. Get in gear, stay focused, and get those grades up. Your education and future depends on it.
Thanks for the read. Did I miss anything? What are some other things students can do if they’re placed on academic probation? Feel free to share in the comments section below.