I’m on academic probation — what should I do now?

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We all go through rough patches. Sometimes, the pressure of college can get to you, and the first thing it hurts is your grades.

Unfortunately, when your GPA dips too low, you might find yourself on academic probation. If that’s the case, try not to worry and follow the below steps to get yourself back on track.

What is academic probation?

Academic probation isn’t a punishment. Let’s get that clear right away.

It’s meant to be a warning that your grades are suffering and encourage you to take the steps you need to improve them. More often than not, being put on probation is the school’s way of encouraging you to reach out and ask for help. Typically, you’re placed on probation if your grades dip below a 2.0 GPA, but it varies from school to program.

With so much going on in a college student’s life, it can be challenging to know where and what resources are available to you. If things get bad, and your grades suffer, probation encourages you to figure out what resources you need

What are your first steps?

Firstly, reach out to the counseling office. Your school likely has a ton of resources and opportunities for you to take advantage of.

Once you’re on probation, it’s more important than ever to show that you’re making progress. If you don’t take the opportunity to improve, it will likely affect your future at the school in a more significant way.

Meet with a counselor and come up with a plan to improve. They will probably help connect you with tutoring research and additional help that will get you through the semester.

Another thing they can help you with is planning for your next few semesters. Once they have an idea of where your trouble spots are, they can assist you in creating a schedule that puts less pressure on you. Whether that’s fewer classes per semester or a better distribution of difficult classes.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Probation is a giant neon warning sign letting you know that things are veering off course. Use the time to course-correct.

How to get organized and get your grades up

Here’s the thing, academic probation is a big deal. It means that your focus hasn’t been in the right place. Whatever the reason is for that, take strides to do better, so you don’t lose out on your college education

Study Often, Party Less

Beyond meeting with the school, you need to take responsibility for your own success. Schedule time to study, and don’t skip those sessions you’ve made with yourself. Rather than going out with friends, ask them if they’d be willing to study with you, especially when you have big projects or exams coming up.

It’s great to have a social life, and the freedom of college sometimes makes us lean a little too hard into that. Don’t forget why you actually came to college. Make sure that’s a priority for you.

Stay organized

Sometimes, it comes down to developing a better system of organization. Review how you’re organizing your notes and keeping track of deadlines. If you need to download an app or put things in your calendar to keep you on track, do it.

If you’ve missed classes, connect with other students that can share notes with you. Take the time to write these notes out by hand, so you soak in the information.

Speak to your professors

Sometimes your professors can be your biggest advocates. Take the time to speak with them and see if there are any extra credit opportunities. If there are, you should jump at the chance to take them on.

Additionally, professors often host office hours, which are a great time to meet one-on-one and better understand what you can improve upon. If your grades are low and not improving, there’s nothing better than getting insight from the person teaching the class.

No professor wants to see a student fail, but they can’t reach out to everyone the way teachers did in high school. It’s important to take the initiative and seek out their help and feedback.

What happens if your grades don’t get better?

If you can’t get your grades up, things could get worse. If it’s not clear to the school that you’re working towards improving, they can take away scholarships and financial aid.

Don’t forget that students who get federal aid money are held to SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress). Not meeting the requirements of SAP can mean that you lose your aid. That’s something you can’t get back unless you improve your grades and go through the SAP appeal process.

Additionally, some schools will prevent you from registering for classes or require you to meet with a counselor before doing so. They can also prevent you from taking part in sports, organizations, or on-campus activities that they feel might be preventing you from improving.

If you still can’t manage to get your GPA up, there is a chance that the school will dismiss you. Meaning that you will no longer be able to attend.

Academic probation isn’t the end of the world. Or your college education. But it’s important that you do what you need to improve your academic standing and crush your college education.