Academic suspension may seem like a really scary thing to happen to you during your time at university, but what actually happens when you get a notice of academic suspension?
Academic suspension occurs when your GPA drops below your university’s required standard. When this happens, your university will send you a notice explaining how long it will be before you are allowed to register for classes again as well as any other consequences that may be involved.
But what other consequences might there be? Let’s take a look at exactly what you need to prepare for if you think you may be facing academic suspension.
The most obvious consequence is suspension, which means that you will not be able to register for classes at your university. Academic suspension is supposed to give struggling students an opportunity to take a break and reflect on their difficulties. If you could register for classes while you were suspended that would defeat the whole purpose.
This might be the easiest consequence to understand, considering that most people encounter at least the idea of suspension long before they start studying in university. However, many of the more unexpected consequences stem from the severity of this one.
Your suspension may last anywhere from one to two semesters depending on your university. However long it lasts, you will have to find something else to do during that time apart from taking classes.
How To Know What Happened
At most universities, getting academic suspension shouldn’t be a surprise. This is because it is usually preceded by a period of academic probation, during which you are expected to improve your grades and attend class more often. Suspension should only occur after at least one semester of probation.
It also shouldn’t be hard to figure out that you have been suspended. You should receive letters and emails explaining the situation to you as soon as the university has made its decision.
At most universities, only current students are allowed to live in on-campus housing. Because students who are suspended are not considered to be current students, if you have a housing contract for the next semester it will either be canceled or postponed for whenever you come back.
In practice, this either means that you will have to find an off-campus apartment to live in or you will have to move in with friends or relatives until you can get on your feet. This can be a major consequence because you may end up paying more for a new apartment.
Student Loans And Financial Aid
You will obviously lose access to any scholarships you were receiving since you will not be taking any classes. What might be more upsetting is that if you are out of school for six or more months and you live in the United States, you may have to start making student loan payments.
In order to regain access to financial aid, you will have to prove that you are working to get back to a good academic standing once you get back to school.
This can be one of the most stressful parts of academic suspension since even well-off adults who have graduated from university and have respectable jobs can have an extremely difficult time making their student loan payments. Your best bet to avoid this is to try to appeal and get your suspension shortened to the point where your break is going to be shorter than six months.
It is nearly impossible to transfer to another four-year university if you are facing academic suspension. Most universities simply will not accept transfers with low GPAs, and a low GPA is usually the reason that you were suspended in the first place.
To add another layer of stress, many universities will recommend that you try to take credits during your suspension. The best option for re-enrollment while on probation is to take classes from a community college near your home since it will be nearly impossible to take classes from anywhere else.
On the other hand, taking classes from a community college could help you to stave off your student loan debt for the duration of your time away from school, which is fortunate.
Unfortunately, while some universities require that you take credits from another institution during your probation, others will not accept any credits taken during the period of academic probation. To find out the rules of your university, look at their website.
The bright side to academic probation is that it doesn’t necessarily put any new barriers up towards graduation. Because the point of academic probation is to give you space to figure yourself out a little better, once you’ve gone through the readmission process, your track to graduation should look about the same as it did before, although you will have to retake any failed classes that are required for graduation.
This means that once you’ve made it through the period of academic probation, you can still keep working on your goal of graduation however you have decided will work best for you. You just need to be careful not to make the same mistakes that you made last time.
What To Do
The first thing you’ll need to do is decide whether or not you want to appeal the suspension. If you appeal, you might be able to either get it shortened or changed into probation. Depending on your university, the chances of you succeeding at this might be fairly low. Or, you might simply not want to make the appeal at all. It’s also entirely valid if you want to take some time off after struggling for a few semesters. Suspension can be an opportunity to do just that.
The next thing you’ll need to do is make sure that you have somewhere to stay for the duration of your suspension, especially if you were previously living in student housing. If you have a job that can pay rent, you may want to find an apartment to stay in near the university so that it will be easier to go back to school at the end of your suspension.
Alternatively, you could take the opportunity to go back home and live with family or friends. As long as you have a plan to put a roof over your head, whatever you do is probably going to be fine.
Next, you’ll want to spend a little bit of time consulting with your academic advisor to get an idea of what you should be working on during your time off. This can be anything from getting more organized to considering a new major.
Speaking of considering a new major, if it was your major courses that were giving you trouble, now might be a good time to explore your other interests and see if one of them might be a viable choice for a major. Studying something that you are passionate about can make it a lot easier to get your work done.
You also might want to see a therapist. The reason you’re struggling could be because you have an undiagnosed issue that you aren’t receiving proper treatment for. Depression, ADHD, and other learning disabilities can all make college-level work significantly harder if you don’t know how to ask for accommodations from your TAs and professors.
In the United States, we often tell people that the best way to solve their problems is to work harder. Academic suspension is one of many situations where this advice simply does not apply. You cannot simply work hard to get out of academic suspension. It’s a good idea to spend at least a couple of weeks reflecting on how you ended up in this situation in the first place.
That being said, you should still be doing some work. Preparing yourself for the workload you might face when you return to school is very important, since it could be the difference between graduating and having to drop out of school.
How To Talk About Academic Suspension
For some people, going through academic suspension might be a shameful experience. Like any other failure, it’s normal to be disappointed and frustrated with yourself. However, if you are going to improve during your period away from school you will have to learn how to talk about it with other people.
No matter how bad you feel, it’s a good idea to tell your parents about the suspension as soon as you know. This will give them the most amount of time possible to figure out how they can help you. You can help them keep their reaction calm by putting the event into context. Academic suspension is an opportunity to learn and improve after all, and it’s not a permanent status that will keep you from being able to move on with your life.
You can also prepare for the conversation by practicing with friends or your academic advisor. Your parents will likely be upset, especially if they didn’t know that you were under academic probation. However, if you can help them to understand that you have a plan to get back on track or that this time off will be good for you, you might be able to keep their frustration to a minimum.
If you can’t talk with your parents, then having conversations with another person you respect can be a good way to process your thoughts and feelings about the situation. Whether you’ve made up your mind about how to proceed or not, this can be a good time to examine your reasoning and maybe change your mind about things.
If you are a parent reading this article, then welcome! When discussing academic suspension with your child, there are several things that you can do to help them along their path. The most important thing you can do is to keep your cool. If you overreact, you might scare your child away from sharing more with you about their struggles, which will make it much harder for you to help them.
Being supportive of them during this period is very important since they probably already feel awful. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that you can do to make them not feel that way. You can, however, talk to them about possible solutions and paths they can take to get themselves into a better situation.
Now is also a good time to be clear and honest about your expectations of them. This can help avoid miscommunication later on and be a good starting point to get your child into a place where they can do whatever they need to do.
Most parents probably already know this, but the conversation can’t be about you. The goal of this conversation is to help your child make a plan to solve their problem, not to unload your frustration on them or to punish them. Remember, by the time they come to you to talk about suspension, they are already being punished by their university. It’s likely that an increase in punishment will only make things worse for all of you.
Both parents and students can make the process easier by communicating throughout the duration of the suspension to make plans and follow through on goals. The best way to do this is to set a certain time or day each week where you will have a conversation, however long or short, about where you are along the path to returning to school.
You can have this conversation in person, over the phone, via text, or any other way that works for you. It should be a supportive, positive conversation that isn’t judgemental. The safer everyone feels in the conversation, the more likely they are to be able to open up and talk about the challenges they’re experiencing.
Finally, if you’re a parent of a student who is facing academic suspension, encourage them to seek professional help. There’s nothing wrong with seeing a therapist to help you sort through your feelings, and you should encourage your child to do so regardless of whether there seems to be anything wrong with them or not. You never know what will end up helping them get where they need to go.