Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Even if you were a good student in high school, you can end up on academic probation in college. It can feel overwhelming, even helpless. But not to worry. This post is here to help you get back to being in good standing.
First, we’ll cover what academic probation is, how it can affect your academic progress, and why you may have ended up on it.
Then we’ll give you tips on habits and techniques you can build to help you get off it next semester and ensure you don’t end up on it again. And because we’re all about making things easy, we’ll introduce you to the tool that will help you accomplish just that!
What Is Academic Probation?
Being on academic probation means that your grade point average (GPA) has fallen below the minimum retention standards of the school you’re attending and is used by schools as a warning that you need to improve your academic performance.
The usual minimum grade point average for most schools is 2.00. If your term grade point average or cumulative grade point average falls below that, you might earn a disqualification status.
Why Do Students End up on Academic Probation?
We know that students can end up in extenuating circumstances where academic probation is inevitable, but we believe that academic probation is often preventable.
Here are some of the most common reasons why students end up on academic probation that can be easily prevented:
Not Switching to a Higher Education Mindset
Academic requirements are much more challenging in college than in high school.
Students usually end up on academic probation during their first year in college because they treat college the same way they treat high school.
They think studying the night before an exam will be enough to get by, they don’t take the time to understand their course materials, don’t utilize campus resources, and they don’t make a study plan.
Most importantly, students on academic probation don’t treat college as a project they need to complete successfully. They don’t set up a proper schedule and form good study habits to help them succeed.
Skipping Too Many Classes
College life comes with the freedom to skip classes, however, getting in the habit of skipping classes can be detrimental to your academic success.
Lectures are where professors teach the things you may not learn from the book. They may even mention what you don’t need to study for the exam! Academic probation occurs when you skip classes because your ability to perform better decreases.
Taking on Too Many Classes
Taking on more classes than you can’t adequately devote time and energy to can also affect your ability to stay on top of everything and lower your chances of academic success.
Making sure to know your limits is not only going to be beneficial to you in the short term as you won’t “burn yourself out,” but it will also help you maintain a steady grade point average that will meet your school’s requirements and stay in good standing.
If you need to drop classes to do well in every class and have a good academic experience, do it.
Stress, Anxiety, or Depression
Suffering from anxiety or depression can make your academic record suffer and can be the reason why your GPA is getting lower.
The opposite can be true too, where your poor academic performance is the cause of stress and anxiety.
To solve this, you need to find the root cause of your stress and anxiety. Is it purely because of the academic demands and falling behind on your work, or is something else happening in your life that is making it hard for you to focus on your studies?
If your stress and anxiety are stemmed mostly due to the high academic demands, you need to get a handle on your schedule first and start building a study plan. This will help you move forward.
If your stress and anxiety are caused by circumstances outside of your academics, please seek support resources on your campus. Universities have support professionals that can help you with things outside of your academic life. Speaking to a therapist is never a bad idea.
Too Much Partying
We have nothing against partying, as long as it does not lower your overall GPA and is not the root cause of your disqualification status.
Socializing and partying is a good way to get your mind off of studying and exams, but it needs to be done in a way that does not ruin your good standing.
Parties are great, but walking with your friends during graduation is even better.
Having an Unbalanced Schedule
Not being able to wake up in the morning, skipping classes, and pulling all-nighters are all signs of having an unbalanced schedule.
An unbalanced schedule can easily lead to “burnout,” which will make you feel unmotivated to keep on studying, leading to more bad grades.
Luckily, you can easily fix your schedule and get back on track with the app we’re going to introduce in the last section of this article.
Poor Study Habits
Your high school study habits may not be good enough for college-level courses. But this is not your fault. You may need to learn how to organize your study time and become an effective student.
This will take some time, but you can learn everything here.
How Academic Probation Affects Students
The impact of academic probation varies from school to school and not all individual cases will be met with the same consequences.
Nevertheless, academic probation cannot be taken lightly. Being a student placed on probation can negatively affect your academic progress in various ways:
It Can Impact Your Major of Choice
Some majors might require a higher GPA minimum, and being on probation means that your cumulative GPA might not reach that.
This results in many students losing the ability to pursue their major of choice after being placed on probation.
It Can Impact Your Right to Financial Aid
Since many forms of financial aid require students to be in good academic standing, students placed on academic probation might lose part or all of their right to financial aid.
In order to continue receiving financial help, students usually must perform better by the next two semesters.
Chance of Getting Dismissed From College
Academic dismissal is one of the most serious consequences of being on academic probation.
However, it can be avoided if the student improves their grades during the probationary period.
If you end up being dismissed, each college may have different terms for re admission.
It Can Impact Your Mental Health
Ending up on academic probation can feel like the end of your academic career, and in the case of academic suspension or losing the ability to pursue your major of choice, like the end of the world!
Probation students report lower confidence in themselves and their abilities, as well as elevated signs of stress and anxiety.
It Can Impact Your Future Career Choice
Losing the ability to pursue the major you chose, or worse, getting dismissed from college, can seriously impact your future career choice.
Something like academic probation can totally change your plans for the future, meaning that you will have to consider other alternatives.
How You Can Get Off Of Academic Probation
If you end up getting placed on academic probation, don’t panic!
Schools usually give probation students a period of two consecutive semesters to reach academic success and return to good academic standing.
Here’s a list of what you can do to get back on track:
Get Familiar With The Requirements
A good idea would be to gather as much information as possible about what being on academic probation means for your particular case and also what your school requires you to do to get back to the status of good academic standing and get higher grades.
Ways to Maintain a High GPA
Depending on the institution, schools usually give students a specific time period during which students have to improve their grades if they want to get off of probation. This time period usually lasts for two consecutive semesters.
During that time, the student will either have to improve their cumulative GPA or at least their term GPA, which is the cumulative grade of each academic term.
Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Show up to Every Class. Forming the habit of showing up to every class will help you not only to understand the material better but also to do better on your exams and raise your semester GPA.
- Learn How to Take Notes in Class. Another important factor that contributes to better grades is taking better and smarter notes in class. Learn how.
- Learn How to Read Effectively. Knowing what to read and how to read it in a way that is going to help you later on with your exams is also extremely important. Learn how.
- Learn How to Study for Exams. To improve your academic standing and raise both your semester GPA as well as your cumulative GPA, you need to do well on exams. Learn how.
- Speak to An Academic Advisor. In order to improve their academic standing and ensure student success, students can try speaking to academic advisors at their schools first. Academic advisors are responsible for students’ academic success and their academic progress, therefore, they can provide you with the right resources in order to succeed in improving your grades.
- Use the Many Resources that Colleges offer. There are typically many resources at each university focusing on helping students. Learning centers can teach you how to get ready for your courses and writing centers will teach you how to write better essays.
- Join a Study Group. Going it alone can be tough. Try to find a study group that is serious about getting good grades and their ability to graduate.
How to Get Ready for the Next Semester
Whether you are on academic probation or not, there are simple things you can do to get ready for the next semester.
Create a Balanced Study Schedule
Keeping a balanced schedule is key to a successful college career.
In Shovel, you can easily schedule your classes and your activities and uncover all your available study time blocks.
Is it enough time to do well next semester? You don’t know yet.
Have Every Task from Every Class in One Place
You can’t get good grades if you don’t know what is expected of you. Don’t juggle 4 different syllabi. Consolidate all your tasks from all your classes into one place.
If you’re using Shovel, you can import your tasks from Canvas, Brightspace, or Moodle, and you can add tasks from your PDF syllabus in seconds.
Estimate Your Tasks
If you don’t know how long your tasks should take, how do you expect to get them done on time? Estimate everything. Then adjust as you go.
We encourage overestimating tasks at first so you leave yourself enough time to get them done.
Readings in particular, take up a lot of time in college. But too often, students on academic probation don’t do their readings or always start too late and don’t have time to finish them – not grasping the learning material.
Shovel will calculate the time you need for each reading based on your reading speed, reading source, and the number of pages you need to read.
Time-Block Tasks into Your Calendar
If you know when you can study and for how long, and if you have all your tasks in one place and know how long each task will take, you can start planning your tasks into specific study time blocks in your calendar.
It’s super easy in Shovel. That’s what it’s built for.
Time-blocking will help you prevent academic dismissal next semester. It will help you eliminate distractions and focus on the task at hand. You won’t be stressed about all the things you need to do because you’ll have specific times dedicated to them in your calendar.
The Bottom Line
Ending up on academic probation can be tough. But you have the power to get off of it.
You can talk to your academic advisor about what you need to change. You can learn how to be a better student, you can use the many resources your university has to offer, and you can use the Shovel Study Planner to help you get organized and less stressed.