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The Importance of Understanding Academic Probation

The Importance of Understanding Academic Probation


By Emily Ludeman
Senior Advisor in Academic Advising, APUS

We all plan for success, but the reality is that life throws curve balls at us. Academic course demands are intense and difficult to balance. Anything can contribute to an academic probation status, but once you’re placed on probation, it is essential for you to focus on the call to action for positive changes.

Probation is an official notice that you must improve if you want to continue at the university and in your academic program. It is a real and serious consequence for falling below university standards that give value to our degrees and institutions. Failing to recover from probation can result in your suspension and dismissal from the university.

Before you jump into courses, it is essential to recognize what we expect from you so that you maintain a good academic standing. This is where university staff and resources come in handy! Our student handbook states what is used to measure academic probation. More often than not, it is a cumulative grade point average in combination with a set amount of course attempts.

Generally, graduate students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher, which is a “B” average. Undergraduate students are expected to stay at a 2.0 GPA (“C”) or higher average.

Probation alerts us to a problem and asking the questions below will help identify and remedy the situation. It is important to review these questions with your academic advisor. Your advisor is well versed in university policies and helpful resources. The relationship with your academic advisor and access to resources will create a clear, accountable and supportive path to your success.

  • What is contributing to the poor performance? Factors both inside and outside of the classroom need close examination. Are professional or family demands too stressful to balance with courses around the holidays? Do you need to boost math skills before advancing further?
  • Is this setting and degree the right fit for you? Consider the skills, motivation and time necessary to succeed with the degree in the long term. Are you comfortable passing engineering courses in an online setting?
  • Where are the resources to strengthen your skills and support your success? Time management webinars, peer mentors, writing labs, live tutors, studying and test prep, disability accommodations, research tips and style guides — there are tons of success tools right at your fingertips. Connect with your academic advisor to highlight the resources that will be most beneficial to your situation.

It is essential to review your resources individually and also with your academic advisor. The Advising team is here to support you with a clear understanding of our expectations. We’ll help you access resources and provide motivation to help you recover from academic probation. Please don’t hesitate to email counseling@apus.edu or call 877-755-2787. We look forward to working with you!

About the Author

Emily Ludeman has worked in the Academic Advising Department at APUS since 2010. Prior to APUS, Emily was an advisor within the Residential and Commuter Life Office at Longwood University in Farmville, VA. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and leadership from Longwood and is currently in the public administration master’s program here at APU.