Information for the parents of college students
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What To Do If Your Student Is Academically Dismissed From College

When you send your student off to college you hope and assume that he will be successful.  Most students are successful and do well.  However, some students struggle – either socially or academically. No parent wants to receive the news that his or her student has been academically dismissed from college because of poor performance.  It is distressing and disheartening news.  But it does happen, and parents need to help students deal with the situation.  Although you may be disappointed, and possibly angry, your response may be a large factor in helping your student move forward.

Here are some things to consider if your college student is academically dismissed from college.

What does academic dismissal mean?

A student may be academically dismissed from a school for failure to make “satisfactory academic progress”.  This may mean various things and may be defined differently by different schools.  Generally, it means either that the student’s GPA or Grade Point Average is too low (she received poor grades) or that she has not made satisfactory progress by completing enough credits (she dropped or withdrew from too many courses each semester).  A student who does not make satisfactory progress may then be dismissed or told that she can no longer be enrolled in the college.

Should your student appeal the decision?

In some cases, a college may allow a student to appeal the decision to dismiss.  The purpose of the appeal is usually to allow the student to explain extenuating circumstances or to provide additional information that may not have been available at the time that the decision was made.  He may be able to demonstrate that some circumstance has changed – perhaps a health situation, work situation, family situation, or even a change of focus or field of study.  It is important that you and your student remember, however, that an appeal is meant as an exception and to demonstrate extraordinary circumstances.  It is not meant as an avenue simply because the student is unhappy with the decision of the college.  An appeal may not be in the best interest of the student.

Should your student apply immediately to another college?

If your student is dismissed, his first thought, and yours, may be to apply immediately to another school.  This may be appropriate.  However, before doing that, you and your student may need to consider what factors caused the problems that warranted his dismissal.  Jumping immediately back in may not be the best solution.

Has your student taken time to reassess?

A student who is academically dismissed from college is not doomed to failure.  You may need to help your student view this as a time to reassess his abilities, behaviors, and priorities.  He was originally admitted to the college because of his abilities and potential, but something has prevented him from living up to that potential.  Now is a time to step back and reevaluate.  Before you and your student decide to immediately appeal the dismissal or to apply to a different school, consider carefully whether taking a break may be the best course of action for your student.

Would some time out be beneficial?

An academic dismissal from college happens for a reason.  Something has prevented your student from succeeding.  She may need your support more than ever now to think about how to proceed and how to use her time off.  For many dismissed students, taking a break from their current routine and setting may be the best path to success, even if it involves an unexpected detour.  Your student may decide to spend a year working to gain experience and perspective.  Your student may decide to take a course or two at a local community college to achieve some success and/or explore a new area of study.  Your student may need to move back home for a semester or a year to achieve some balance and focus. How you respond to this situation will help your student know how to respond.  Helping your student see this as an important, if unplanned, step in her path will help her to use the time constructively.

Should your student apply for readmission or reinstatement?

In most cases of academic dismissal, the student may be eligible to apply for readmission or reinstatement after a certain period of time.  This is different from appealing the decision at the time of dismissal.  One thing that your student will have had time to consider during his time off is whether or not he wants to return to the same institution or to transfer to another college.  If he wants to return, he should check the policy of his college.  Most schools require that a student “sit out” for a semester or a year.  When students apply for readmission, the college may be looking for certain factors.  They will be looking for indications from the student that things will be different if he returns.  He may be asked to submit a personal statement giving a compelling argument that he has addressed whatever challenges he had prior to dismissal.  They may be looking for successful completion of some credits at a community college or some other institution.  They may ask whether social, family, or personal issues have been addressed.

Is your student prepared for a fresh start?

If your student has used time off from his college productively, he may be ready to return to school with a renewed focus and a new outlook.  Many students who have been dismissed return to their previous college – or another college – and are completely successful.  Helping your student see this time as an opportunity rather than a set-back will mean that he can use the time off to his advantage.  This may not be the path that either of you originally had in mind, but it may be a path that, in the long run, will be most beneficial to your student.  Having your support as a parent will help him to discover and accomplish his goals.

Related Posts:

What FERPA Means for You and Your College Student

How Parents Can Help College Students Value Their Mistakes

Helping Your College Student Avoid “How Do I Tell My Parents?” Fears

What to Say to Your College Student Who is In Trouble, Dismissed, or On Probation

Academically Dismissed from College?  Time for a Reset

Academically Dismissed from College? Ten Steps to Move On

 

308 comments

1 Manjeet singh { 12.08.16 at 9:58 am }

Hi sir my attandance is poor my college terminated me after 2 warning is there any possible way to finish my study

2 Susan Stutler { 11.14.16 at 8:03 am }

I am 45 and have been expelled from the 22 and up program. Not for grades as I am at the top of the class. Rather because I didn’t fit in and was bothered each day with shameful adult class bullying. I ignored most instances. However, it only made the others continue by stealing flash cards and making constant snide remarks. Even instructors joined in the fun. I eventually got upset and a few choice words were said in the halls and on the phone to other students. this got me in trouble. I was upset when they said they were going to dismiss me from the program and cried. They said this made me seem unstable and unable to do the job I was studying for. My average for this course is a 98%. At 45 I am lost. I don’t know what to do next. I am staying with friends and have nowhere to go. No job skills and no GED to get into even an online course. I feel cheated. These other students are failing the course and will no doubt be discharged for grades and attendance . The student who caused the last incident was sent home for the remainder of the day and reprimanded for the same type of thing the following day I was expelled and wasn’t the one standing up and yelling. there were three of them and I never left my seat. I had appealed and found they had made their decision and could not be swayed to spite my perfect attendance and superior grades. Being told by teachers and administration that I would be impossible to place in a job, was unteachable because I had no GED and shouldn’t be there were among many discouraging things I have been told by the staff as well as that I am an expressive personality and the teacher would like to smack expressive personalities. I don’t know what to do. I went through the WIIA program to get my books and they refuse to give me the rest stating that the purchased them. this is only true in that they purchased them with money from the willing program allotted to me in my name and the teacher was giving them away to another student the day I was dismissed before I even made it home. who do I speak to where do turn what can I do. my ability to pass is clear . my desire equally so. it is up to me to find employment after the fact it is up to them to allow me the education without saying things like smack or shouldn’t be here. They say it is not the end of the world and that my life isn’t over. I am 45 practically homeless on welfare and have no job or job skills outside of house painting which I physically can’t do anymore. Please tell me what to do.

3 Anthony { 08.16.16 at 4:22 pm }

Hi Vicki,
I got dismissed from Nassau Community College in May 2016. Problem was that I failed one class couple times and that’s why I got dismissed.

4 Vicki Nelson { 08.13.16 at 2:16 pm }

Amy – Good for you for getting back on track with your grades! Generally, the dismissal is part of your permanent academic record and it cannot be removed. However, whenever you apply somewhere, you should include a letter that acknowledges the dismissal, briefly explains what happened, and then talks about what you have done to overcome the problem and prove yourself since then. That is what colleges are most interested in.

As far as applying to other schools, the best thing is to talk directly to the admission office of the school you would like to attend. They can let you know whether you are eligible and what paperwork you would need.

Good luck as you move forward!

5 Amy { 08.08.16 at 7:59 pm }

Hi Vicki,
I was academically dismissed in Jan. 2015 from a UC. Since then I have attended community college and have gained enough credits for transfer. I am going to apply in the Fall and my question is, how do I get rid of the dismissal? (if possible) Also, am I able to apply to other UC’s for next year or am I dismissed from the entire UC system? Finally, do I need a letter from the Dean at my previous university in order to transfer elsewhere?
Thank You

6 Vicki Nelson { 07.17.16 at 6:23 pm }

Past comments are now back! Not sure what happened, but it should be fixed now. So many interesting stories contained in these comments – I’m glad they haven’t disappeared permanently.

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