Get stories and expert advice on all things related to college and parenting.
End-of-Semester Options for Difficult CoursesIanni Le
As parents of college students, we have high hopes for them to succeed in school. Sometimes, though, our students struggle.
It starts with failing a course here or there. If F’s become a pattern and your student’s GPA falls below 2.0, they could be put on academic probation, which is intended as a warning that they needs to reverse course or risk being academically dismissed.
If your student is currently under academic probation or facing academic dismissal, it’s important that they understand their options. Let’s start by explaining what an academic dismissal is.
Academic dismissal is what happens if your student cannot get their GPA above 2.0 by the end of their probation period. The length of academic probation varies from school to school, but is typically just one or two semesters long.
Simply put, academic dismissal means being asked to leave the school because of continued poor academic performance. It doesn’t mean your student can never go to college again; it just means they have to put a stop to their education at their current institution for the time being.
In most cases, an academic dismissal will show up permanently on your student’s transcript, so even if they go on to get a college degree in the future, it will remain part of their record.
Note: Due to campus closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, grading and academic dismissal policies at some institutions may change. Check with the school to find out if there are any updates on the status of your student’s academic probation or dismissal.
Your student may have the option to appeal their dismissal decision — it depends on the college and the specific circumstances.
If an appeal is on the table, talk to your student about whether or not they should do it. If there were personal factors that led to their poor performance, like an illness or grief over the loss of a loved one, then an appeal might be a good idea.
Or maybe you and your student have identified some issues that could be worked on to help improve their grades after a successful appeal.
If you can make a plan for better time management and more energy dedicated to schoolwork, as well as getting a tutor and joining a study group, your student may very well find success if their appeal is granted.
A few tips for appealing an academic dismissal:
The same goes for a written appeal. If your student isn’t able to articulate on their own why they’ve struggled academically or how they plan to succeed in the future, maybe they aren’t ready to go back to school.
If your student feels disenchanted with school and doesn’t think they would do much better if they successfully appealed their dismissal and re-enrolled, it might be time for a break to assess their future.
If your student is dismissed for good, you have a few options:
If your student is allowed to return to their school or decides to enroll in another school in the future, they need a strategy to avoid going down the path that led to their dismissal in the first place.
There are so many possible reasons for a student to have difficulty with their grades.
Maybe they struggle with time management, or it’s a challenge to balance school and employment. Anxiety, depression and other mental health issues are common during the college years. Stressed students struggling with money, personal relationships, homesickness or the impacts of the current unsettling public health and economic situation may find themselves performing poorly in the classroom (whether in person or virtual).
Your support can make a big difference.
Encourage your struggling student to: