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Information about Academic Probation

What is academic probation?

A student whose cumulative grade point average (GPA) falls below 2.0 is subject to academic dismissal from the College. If your cumulative GPA is <2.0, in a minority of cases, you may have been allowed to continue at SUNY Plattsburgh on Academic Probation for one of two reasons:

  1. Your cumulative GPA has fallen below a 2.0 (within reason), but you were granted leniency and the chance to improve in one semester's time because it was your first (i.e., transitional) semester at SUNY Plattsburgh; OR
  2. You were subject to academic dismissal, but your formal appeal of the dismissal was granted (with proof of extenuating circumstances) and therefore were allowed to return conditionally on Academic Probation.

In either case, students returning with academic probaton status must raise their cumulative GPA to a 2.0 or higher by the end of their probationary semester or, in all likelihood, face dismissal at the end of the next semester.

How did I end up on academic probation?

Students find themselves in academic jeopardy resulting from two primary sources:

  • Academic Causes, including but not limited to:
    • Not studying enough (quantity)
    • Not studying appropriately (quality)
    • Frequently missing classes
    • Excessive socializing/partying to the sacrifice of academics
    • Missing assignments or turning them in late
    • Struggling with courses but not seeking/utilizing help
    • Taking courses in a major that is not suited for you
  • Personal Causes, including but not limited to:
    • Medical or psychological issue affected your academic work
    • Family or personal situation distracted your concentration
    • Relationship involvement or drama became a focus
    • Employment or extracurricular schedule was too heavy
    • Substance use/abuse or other activities subtracted from your academic clarity

Whether your main sources of poor academic performance were academic, or personal, or some combination, it is vital that you reflect deeply on those factors and commit to reorganizing priorities (where possible) in order to repair your academic record.

What can I do to clear probationary status?

Because the reasons for poor academic performance differ, the strategies to implement vary accordingly. A series of "Suggestions" to raise your GPA were provided in the notice we sent you about your academic probation (e.g., retaking certain failed courses). We encourage you to follow those recommendations seriously, as well as the suggestions listed below.

"10 NECESSITIES" to get you back on track:

1. Attend all classes.

Perfect attendance is the most fundamental behavior you'll need to institute while on academic probation (AP), regardless of the attendance policy. Going to class, remaining attentive, and taking good notes ensures that, at a minimum, you are receiving all of the "information" you need to do well. Of course, making it to all of your classes requires that you have a lifestyle that permits waking up earlier and remaining alert throughout the school day. Save your allowable excused absences for times when you are legitimately ill or attending to other emergencies.

2. Re-evaluate your study habits.

If you did not previously study much, you must carve out substantial amounts of time each day for academic work - and that includes reading course material and starting assignments even when there is nothing due tomorrow. If you studied some, but did so in a distracting environment (people and/or computer, cell phones, etc.), you must completely change locations to a place more conducive to focused work and/or silence AIM, blackberries, and Facebook chats. If you tended to be a procrastinator or late night crammer, you must learn to do school work during the day, weekend, and/or in between classes instead of waiting until the wee hours.

3. Set a semster GPA goal by the first week of the semester.

Waiting to "see what happens" or "hoping for the best" is not exactly the best way of clearing probation. If you earned a 1.6 in your first semester of college, you know you need about a 2.4 in your second semester - which means higher than a C+ average. [Note: The number of credits carried and repeat coursework affect these approximated calculations.] Take a look at each of your courses, and set a realistic final grade goal for each of them. Having a specific objective in mind makes working toward it easier.

4. Seek help early and often.

Especially if you know you have struggled with grasping course content or experienced medical/psychological difficulties in the past, it is imperative that you BEGIN your probationary semester with the resources you need. Waiting until midterm is simply too late to repair most academic or personal problems. Academic help may be sought from your instructors, your advisor, or Learning Center tutors; assistance with personal issues (medical, psychological, addiction, etc.) is available at the Center for Student Health and Psychological Services. If you have a documented learning disability, utilize accommodative services available through Student Support Services.

5. Hang out with people who are serious about school.

Peer influence is not restricted to middle and high school. If you spend most of your time with friends who "go out" many weeknights and all weekend, they AND you can quickly find yourselves falling into old habits and in academic jeopardy. Instead, socialize with friends who have learned to balance the academic and social aspects of college. Friends are true who support and inspire your academic growth and bright future, not derail or sabotage it.

6. Keep a daily planner with you.

Most of your instructors have a syllabus with the dates on which reading and other assignments are due. To keep all of this information centralized, transfer due dates into a daily planner or other calendar so that you can "see" your whole week at one time. Update your planner when instructors make announcements about assignments, study sessions, etc. Knowing what is due when will allow you to better manage your workload and keep other commitments such as group meetings, tutoring appointments, and instructor/advisor office hours.

7. Be realistic about the nature and demands of your major.

If, in the past, you already attended classes, studied very hard, got extra help, and you STILL performed poorly in your "major courses," it just might be that the major you chose does not speak to your strengths. We understand that you might have done well in the subject in high school/community college, or had your heart set on becoming a professional in that field. But the feelings of constantly climbing uphill, with little in the way of results, can be draining and discouraging. In these instances, you might seek an honest appraisal of your prospects with your advisor; alternatively you may turn to the Academic Advising Office or Career Development Center to explore new and liberating options.

8. Be mindful of important dates and deadlines.

Through email, MyPlattsburgh announcements, and other means, the College duly informs you about course advisement, registration, and deadlines for course and college withdrawals. It is important to be mindful of these dates so you can make wise course decisions with your advisor. Course Advisement is a two-week period after midterm grades are issued; be sure to schedule an appointment with your advisor in advance. S/he will help you to select appropriate courses for the next semester. If you are struggling with a current course that is not salvageable, it might be wise to drop it - only after consulting with your instructor, advisor, and possibly financial aid. If you are struggling with school overall, you might consider a college withdrawal in order to avoid dismissal.

9. Determine if this is the right time for college.

If all else fails, consider having a heart to heart with your family (if they are involved in your education). Some students feel they are "expected" to go to college right after high school, even if you lack the desire, maturity, or self-discipline to fully embrace what college demands of you. If you are not "into" college, you should reconsider if college is right for you at this time. As well, sometimes there are personal/family tragedies and trials that provide constant or acute stress. If you experienced personal trauma or continue to face other major obstacles, you might not feel "ready" to undertake another semester right away. Returning later, when you are fully focused, can make all the difference in the long run.

10. Contact the Academic Advising Office.

Our professional advisors are here to assist you if:

  • you have a question about your Academic Probation status;
  • you need help with or referrals for the academic or personal issues affecting your grades;
  • you are questioning progress in your courses, your choice of major, or college overall;
  • you are concerned about your GPA and don't know where else to turn!


Contact Information

Academic Advising
Office Location: Feinberg 101-103
Phone: (518) 564-2080
Fax: (518) 564-2079
Email: [email protected]