Back on track
Academic probation offers students a second chance
With the many extracurricular and social activities college has to offer, prioritizing coursework can be a challenge. To encourage students to put academics first, Grand Valley State University employs a
minimum GPA requirement as well as academic probation and jeopardy of dismissal for those who do
not meet the minimum standard.
“I would think more often students go on academic probation early in their time at Grand Valley
because sometimes it’s hard to make that transition to college,” said Jackie Rautio, associate director
for the Student Academic Success Center.
A student’s academic standing is based on both cumulative GPA and the number of credit hours
earned. Being on academic probation gives students an additional semester to bring their GPA up to
good standing, while being on jeopardy of dismissal grants students just one semester to improve
their GPA. The fastest way for students to get back into good academic standing is to repeat a class
they previously did poorly in, as the most recent grade is used and the former grade suppressed when
GPA is calculated.
The GPA for probation is between 1.5 and 1.99 for freshmen and between 1.8 and 1.99 for
sophomores, with any GPA lower than that putting students in jeopardy for dismissal. For juniors and
seniors, there is no academic probation, but instead they will be in jeopardy for dismissal with a GPA
lower than 1.99, according to the SASC website.
“It’s important for students to understand that there is a GPA requirement that they have to maintain,”
Rautio said. “It can often be a surprise for freshmen.”
The number of graduate and undergraduate students on academic probation has remained consistent
over the past few years, with a constant 4.4 percent from the fall 2011 to fall 2012 semester. From
the winter 2012 to the winter 2013 semester, the percentage slightly increased from 3.2 to 3.4
percent. The number of students on either academic probation or jeopardy of dismissal tends to be
much higher from the fall to winter semesters, with last year’s numbers being 1,092 in fall 2012 and
dropping to 795 students in winter 2013.
Rachael Dykstra, research analyst in GVSU’s Office of Institutional Analysis, said that undergraduates
make up the majority of the students on academic probation or in jeopardy of dismissal.
Students placed on either academic probation or jeopardy of dismissal are required to meet with an
adviser and are not allowed to register for classes until they have done so. Only after meeting with an
adviser to discuss more effective approaches to class and to determine a plan to get back on track is
the registration restriction lifted.
“Once a student is placed on academic probation or jeopardy of dismissal, they meet with an adviser
to help them find the best way to get back to good standing,” Rautio said. “They will look at their work
balance and other issues that are in the way of them being successful because something they’re
doing isn’t working.”
Rautio added that it’s important for students to identify what their long-term goals are in terms of
their education, to determine if the major they’re in is the appropriate major or if they should
investigate other options, and to evaluate their course load with the other things going on in their
Students also need to know what resources are on campus to help them succeed in their academics,
Rautio said, adding that many students are just afraid to ask for help when they really need it.
“They should know that they’re not alone,” she said. “There are many students in the same situation,
so it’s important that they reach out and ask for help. Many students are afraid to ask for help or are
uncomfortable to ask for resources available to them, but it’s normal to need help with difficult
For more information, see www.gvsu.edu/sasc.