Academic Expulsion from College

College leaving

Students who have a record of low academic performance may find themselves expelled from college for academic reasons. There are ways to prevent this.

There are many rewards for students who excel academically while in college. Increased job opportunities, higher earning potential, graduate school opportunities, and degrees with distinction are just a few.

Unfortunately, it is very easy to get behind academically while in college, especially when a student is juggling school with a job and various other commitments. For many, this may result in a low GPA for a term or two before rebounding and making up for lost time. For others, however, repeated terms of poor academic progress may result in academic probation with the student’s college or university or, worse yet, academic expulsion.

Being expelled from school for academics does not mean it is the end of a student’s college career. It takes a lot of work, but it is possible for a student to return to school after academic expulsion, provided that the student meets all of the conditions set forth by their institution.

How Academic Expulsion Works

Academic dismissal from college does not happen overnight. This action is usually taken after a series of warnings and probations, and records of low academic performance take time to build.

Once a student begins to show signs that he or she is struggling, the school’s academic advising unit or academic department may ask to meet with a student to discuss options. When a student is placed on academic warning or probation, the school may restrict the number of credit hours that can be taken per term, require tutoring or regular advising appointments, or suggest that a student consider changing majors. Additionally, schools usually require students meet a series of GPA benchmarks at the end of each term and may impose additional restrictions, such as barring a student from participating in campus organizations or revoke privileges, such as living in special residence halls or campus apartments.

After a student has failed to meet the terms of their probation over a period of time, the student is usually dismissed from their college or university. Depending on the college or university’s policies and the student’s academic record, an appeal may be possible if the student can prove that he or she will be able to make significant improvements if allowed to remain enrolled.

In some cases, colleges or universities may have policies that speed up the expulsion process. First-year students who do not know how to write an academic paper and don't meet a certain minimum GPA by the end of their first term may be dismissed, and certain academic programs that require minimum GPAs may expel students from the program for low grades while still allowing the students to remain at that institution.

There are other reasons for which students may face academic dismissal, including academic dishonesty, plagiarism, or failing to make specified progress as expected of all students regardless of academic standing.

What to Do if Facing Academic Dismissal

Academic expulsion is not something that creeps up on anyone. There are always warning signs, but if a student does not address poor academic performance as soon as possible, the situation can deteriorate quickly.

Once a student has been notified of academic dismissal, it is important that he or she understands why a school has decided to expel them. These terms are often outlined in the notice of dismissal or may be discussed at a formal meeting involving the student, his or her academic adviser, and other college or university officials. An appeal may be available as an option for students who believe they can improve quickly or who even wish to return to the college or university after a certain prescribed period of separation.

For example, students at The University of Tennessee – Knoxville will be dismissed if their cumulative and semester GPAs are at or below a 2.0 following a period of probation. According to the university’s “Action Plan for Academic Success for Students who Are Academically Dismissed,” students facing dismissal should reflect on the cause of their poor academic performance and meet with appropriate campus officials, such as academic advisers or counselors to pinpoint the reasons behind a student’s academic record and determine whether or not the problems can be fixed while still enrolled at the university.

Appealing an Academic Expulsion

In most cases, students are given the opportunity to appeal an academic dismissal. While policies and procedures vary greatly by institution, the basic premise is the same. Students must be able to analyze why they reached this point in their academic progress, how to change, and present a detailed action plan for continuous improvement.

For example, students facing academic dismissal at The College of New Jersey must submit requested documentation to the appeal committee, which is comprised of leaders from various college departments and divisions. This documentation includes official transcripts, an analysis of how the student achieved poor academic standing, and an action plan outlining how the student is going to make satisfactory academic progress if allowed to remain at the school. Additionally, a student must obtain information from his or her department on how they have worked with faculty and staff to try to improve their academic record.

If a student does not win an appeal and is formally dismissed, there is often a prescribed period of separation that must elapse before the student can begin to reapply to the college or university. During this time, students may take courses at another college or university to prove they are capable of academic success, or work through personal or medical issues that lead to bad academics. For example, students who are dismissed for academics from Villanova University must be separated for two semesters before they can re-enroll in classes, cannot live in campus residence halls, and will receive refunds for tuition paid for the following term.

Academic dismissal from college is a serious issue that has a negative impact on a student’s college career. With proper reflection and analysis, however, it is possible for students to not only appeal an academic expulsion, but to succeed and complete a college degree.