What to do when you’re on academic probation

Aimee Burch

For most ISU students, it seems preposterously early to be thinking of the end of the midterm and semester grades. It is hot, muggy, and classes are barely a week old.

But for those students who may already be struggling in certain subjects, or perhaps have struggled in the past, this is exactly the time to be thinking ahead.

Iowa State has different policies in place for students who may not be hitting the required benchmarks. The official policy states that academic standing at Iowa State is determined by the total number of credits a student has attempted or earned, the student’s semester GPA and the student’s cumulative GPA. A warning will be given to a student when his or her semester GPA falls less than 2.0.

“Iowa State has the academic standards policy in place to really help students … if they end up in a warning or probation status,” said Jill Kramer, program coordinator for academic intervention and coaching at the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center. “But [the university] really wants students to recognize that their GPA is below where Iowa State wants it to be and where they’re going to want it to be.”

Kramer said to remain off these lists, students need to focus on their semester grades. The warnings are relatively new to the policy and serve as reminders to students with whom, should their performance not improve, more serious action will be taken.

“They put a warning into place so that students would have more time to recover without seeing that dismissal looming as quickly,” Kramer said. “Also with that probation policy, that warning does also require them to meet with their academic adviser.”

In this meeting, students and their advisers will discuss what went wrong and can pinpoint various issues and obstacles a student may be facing. Students can see where improvements to their schedule need to be made and can be pointed towards other resources they may need to utilize.

The keys to staying out of danger lie in pinpointing various benchmarks and signs. Kramer said it is important for students to start the semester on a solid foundation by getting their courses and schedules straightened out and recognizing when they may be in over their head.

If a student ends up on academic probation, he or she will need to complete an academic intervention self-assessment form. Via a link in AccessPlus, students answer questions about what may not have gone as well in the last semester and what kinds of obstacles they may have been facing. From there, they are required to share the results with their academic adviser.

A student may also wish to utilize various services offered on campus, such as academic coaching. Academic coaching allows the student to meet one-on-one with a coach to go over different learning and study strategies.