How to Handle Academic Suspension

Carolina Jacobs

Jan 28, 2022
stressed student

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College brings many opportunities for personal and academic growth. However, these opportunities can quickly become overwhelming, and many students struggle to balance their responsibilities during this phase of life. 

If a student falls behind, schools may place them on academic suspension. Here’s everything you need to know about academic suspensions and what to do if you become suspended: 

What Is Academic Suspension? 

Most colleges have a system in place to help students who are struggling with their grades. If students are routinely failing classes or earning low grades, schools may give them an academic warning or put them on academic probation. 

A warning gives students time to reassess their study strategies and work with a tutor to bring their grades back up. Academic probation is more severe and usually includes a deadline by which students need to have improved their grades to avoid further disciplinary action.

Next is academic suspension, sometimes also referred to as academic dismissal. If students can’t improve their academic performance during the probation period, schools may put them on academic suspension and require them to take some time off. 

During the suspension period, students can’t enroll or take classes and aren’t considered part of the school’s student body. Check your school’s policies to fully understand your options as a student, as suspension rules vary by college. 

How Long Does Academic Suspension Last?

Academic suspension generally lasts for one or two semesters, depending on the school. After the suspension period is up, students must reapply to the school before they can take classes there again. It is possible to shorten the suspension period if a student can successfully appeal their suspension. 

Students can also apply and switch to another school to save time after being suspended. However, academic suspensions and dismissals typically become part of a students’ permanent academic record and may restrict future educational opportunities. 

The best way for students to keep their options open is to take academic warnings and probation seriously. Paying attention to academic probation can save students from the stress of dealing with a suspension. 

How Do I Appeal Academic Suspension? 

Typically, students are suspended if they can’t maintain a GPA higher than 2.0. There are many reasons why students may struggle with academic performance, including health issues, poor time-management skills, or a death in the family. 

Students who believe their grades were affected by personal tragedy or health issues can appeal their suspension. A successful appeal is honest, humble, and includes the student’s plan to improve their performance at the college. 

Although academic suspension may seem cruel, this disciplinary system was put in place to protect students and school staff from wasted time and potential. If probation and suspension don’t motivate students to pass their courses, it’s unlikely that anything else will. 

How Does Academic Suspension Affect Financial Aid?

Academic suspensions do have a negative effect on students’ financial aid. Many financial aid programs require high GPAs and school performance for continued funding. In many cases, financial aid programs have higher standards than colleges

If academic suspension affects a student’s financial aid, they can appeal to the financial aid program for a waiver to retain aid. Typically, financial aid programs will only continue funding if students’ poor academic performance was caused by events out of their control, such as health issues or a disruptive life event.

In some cases, students may be able to retain financial aid if they switch colleges or programs. A new major that doesn’t include failed classes can improve students’ overall GPA, continuing their eligibility for financial aid. However, this is a loophole and shouldn’t be relied on as a graduation strategy. 

What Can I Do If I’m Suspended? 

If a student has been placed on academic suspension, they have several options. To continue their college education, they can fight the suspension with an appeal, wait out the suspension period before reapplying, or switch schools. 

Appeal success rates vary depending on the state and specific college a student attends. However, students have the best chance of success if they meet their college’s appeal grounds and have evidence to back up their claims. For instance, students who experience health issues should have documentation explaining what happened. 

Academic suspension is also an opportunity for students to rethink their college careers. Many students go to school simply because it is the thing to do, but they don’t have a solid plan for where their degree will lead them. 

During their academic suspension period, students can gain work experience and reconsider their future goals. While academic suspension is never pleasant, it is a good opportunity for students to gain clarity and focus for their next step. 

The Aftermath of Academic Suspension

Experiencing an academic suspension can be frustrating and embarrassing. Often, students who are suspended are already struggling in their personal lives, and a suspension can make everything feel harder.

However, academic suspensions are an opportunity for students to reassess their life goals and make a solid plan for moving forward. With the proper support and focus, students can come back from an academic suspension and finish stronger than before.

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