What Happens If You are Academically Dismissed From College?

According to a survey conducted by Intelligent, up to 87% of students say that college is difficult. But the same percentage of degree-seeking individuals are hitting the books for less than 10 hours per week.

And if you happen to be one of them and you fail to keep your GPA high enough in the eyes of your college, you are running the risk of academic dismissal.

Being academically dismissed doesn’t necessarily put a student’s dream of becoming a bachelor’s degree holder to an end. However, he or she may have to sit out of school for 1 semester or 2 semesters or take the pursuit of a college diploma at another institution. The dismissal may or may not appear on the transcript as a notation.

academic dismissal

What is Academic Dismissal?

Academic dismissal is being asked to leave the institution for a while for poor academic performance, usually after failing to raise one’s GPA during a probationary period. Although the student may get readmitted after the dismissal is through, he or she may choose to attend another college while the action is in effect.

First things first: academic dismissal and disciplinary dismissal are not the same things.

As the name suggests, disciplinary dismissal is the action taken against students who are found to have violated the institution’s policies on academic and non-academic conduct.

Some common examples include cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of academic records, violent behavior, harassment, illegal drug use, and vandalism and damage to school property.

Disciplinary dismissal will be noted on the student’s transcript just like in the cause of academic dismissal, although in the case of the latter the notation may be removed in some instances — I will discuss this later, so read on!

But unlike being dismissed academically, a student who is dismissed disciplinarily is ineligible to return to the college.

On the other hand, academic dismissal is the failure of the student to meet the expected academic performance by the institution. In most instances, it involves getting a GPA lower than 2.0.

Also, before a school academically dismisses a poorly performing attendee, he or she will be given enough time to improve his or her grades.

How Long Does Academic Dismissal Last?

Academic dismissal typically lasts anywhere from 1 semester to 2 semesters, which is usually preceded by 1 to 2 semesters of academic probation. Unless an appeal for reinstatement is successfully made, the dismissed undergraduate student must sit out of the college until the specified duration of the decision ends.

Most postsecondary institutions are caring and understanding enough to give their students who are faring poorly academically sufficient time to bring up their grades to 2.0 or higher, usually from 1 semester to 1 year.

But it’s a different thing if the dismissed students are unable to do their part.

After academic probation comes academic dismissal for those who fail to make their grades good enough in the eye of the school.

Similar to probation, dismissal can be as short as 1 semester (although it can feel an eternity to someone who is dismissed but wants to stay in the same school badly) to as long as 1 academic year.

The length of time you will have to sit out will depend on the dismissal policy of the college — sometimes the length is dependent on how bad your academic performance is or fixed across all cases and/or circumstances.

While your academic dismissal is in effect, of course, you will not be allowed to go back to the institution that gave the decision.

It’s completely up to you how you will use your time away from the books, whether you will feel miserable about yourself or furious with the college or whether you will spend it wisely by doing productive things.

For instance, even though it’s true that you cannot attend classes at the school that dismissed you, it’s possible for you to take courses elsewhere.

Yes, you read that right — academic dismissal need not mean you totally being away from school!

student academically dismissed

Does Academic Dismissal Show on Transcript?

In general, academic dismissal becomes a permanent part of a student’s transcript. There are ways, however, through which it can be reversed. For example, it may be removed from the transcript if successfully appealed. There are cases, too, where the reinstatement of the student to the same school can get rid of the notation.

Something as scary to any degree-seeking student as getting academically dismissed is the thought that the dismissal may follow him or her around, which can make getting to another institution difficult.

Well, it’s true that it may haunt you wherever you go as a result of it being added to your transcript.

The submission of your transcript with your academic dismissal included in it to a school you are applying to may cause admissions officers to have second thoughts about sending you an acceptance letter.

Especially if the institution is the selective kind, any available spot would be best given to someone who has no record of continued poor academic performance.

However, it’s not always that once academic dismissal makes its way onto your transcript it will remain there forever — the notation on your transcript may go away after some time or after you take certain steps.

Let’s take a look at some instances when your transcript may be rid of the dismissal:

Reinstatement to the school

As mentioned earlier, academic dismissal can last as long as anywhere from 1 semester to 2 semesters, depending on the institution of higher education that issues the probation.

After the duration of the student’s academic dismissal and he or she reapplies to the same school, then the transcript may be rid of any indication of the decision.

I don’t know how it works at some colleges, but I am certain that it’s the statute at Rutgers University.

Successfully appealing the dismissal

There are instances when a dismissed student may have the option to appeal the school’s action.

This is especially true if some extenuating factors other than laziness and spending more time partying than doing homework have led to poor academic performance.

The appeal may be done in person or via a letter, depending on the appeal process of the college.

Reaped success and the school decided to reverse your academic dismissal?

Chances are that the action will be removed from your transcript, particularly upon meeting any conditions imposed by the institution.

What Can You Do After Academic Dismissal?

Other than waiting for the duration of the academic dismissal to come to an end for readmission to the same school, a dismissed student may consider immediately applying to a different institution, usually a community college. He or she may also use the time away from college to revisit his or her original academic plan and goals.

No matter if the dismissal entails sitting out for 1 semester or 2 semesters, there are a handful of things you may do to make the most out of your time outside of your alma mater.

A common step taken by dismissed degree-seeking students is applying to community colleges.

Well, you can apply to another 4-year institution.

But while your academic history won’t necessarily get you blacklisted, sadly, it can make it harder for you to get into some colleges and universities, particularly selective ones.

Whether it’s a 2-year or 4-year institution that admits you, you can take courses such as general education ones to use your time wisely.

Doing volunteer work or entering the workforce allows you to gain an assortment of hard and soft skills that can help strengthen your application, which you can use to your advantage should you decide to give a competitive institution a go.

In case your academic dismissal will run only for 1 semester and you plan on returning to the same college, you may use the short time to look back and determine the root cause of your unfavorable academic performance.

Were you going to the wrong institution?

Did you pick the wrong major?

Were you missing home?

Was your social life your priority?

And while you’re at it, you might want to determine whether or not college is for you.

According to a Gallup survey, as published by CNBC, only 51% of Americans see college as important.

And if you are a part of the rest who don’t believe an undergraduate degree is essential, it’s while you’re on an academic dismissal that you may figure out what else you may do to reap success other than going back to college to work on a bachelor’s degree.

Appeal Academic Dismissal

Can You Appeal Academic Dismissal?

Students who are academically dismissed by the institutions they are attending, in most instances, can appeal to have themselves reinstated, thus warding off in the process unwanted repercussions such as having to spend some time away from college or the decision appearing on their academic transcript most likely for good.

Before anything else, I would like to say that the importance of appealing your academic dismissal to get readmitted to your college in a timely manner cannot be stressed enough.

So much so that immediately researching the right time to take such a step is important if you don’t want to miss any opportunity to go back to school and keep your transcript blemish-free.

Like when applying to a college or for financial aid, it’s a must to meet the deadline when it comes to appealing your academic dismissal.

Otherwise, you may have no other choice but to wait for the decision to take its course.

Different institutions, as expected, have different deadlines for academic dismissal appeals.

For instance, at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln the appeal for academic reinstatement must be filed no later than the 4th day of classes for the semester immediately following the one in which you were dismissed.

Other things that dismissed students at the said school have to do to appeal the decision include meeting with a college advisor as well as obtaining documentation, if applicable, that can provide verification of the appeal to be made.

In terms of making the appeal itself, you usually have a couple of options:

Submitting a written appeal

The process of appealing reinstatement as a result of academic dismissal can vary from college to college. At most institutions, however, it’s the submission of a written appeal that’s preferred.

Needless to say, you may have to write your school an email to ask for the probation to be rescinded. In doing so, it’s a good idea to be honest and, of course, as polite and humble as you possibly can.

Especially if it’s an extenuating circumstance that has caused your poor academic performance, like an illness or loss of a loved one, explain the matter clearly.

As mentioned above, attach any document to your email that can serve as proof of your defense.

Making an in-person appeal

If given the opportunity, consider going for an in-person appeal for academic reinstatement.

What’s so nice about this approach is that it allows the scholastic standards committee to ask you questions and have a much better idea of the circumstances that lead to your dismissal.

It may be more nerve-racking than sending an email alright, but it will provide you with the chance to explain your side clearly and openly.

But make sure to show up on time or ahead of schedule, dress nicely and demonstrate appreciation for everyone’s time.

And, as always, remember that honesty is the best policy — making lies or giving lousy excuses may make things worse.

What happens if the appeal for reinstatement is approved or denied?

Students whose academic reinstatement appeal is approved are allowed to return to the same school but on the condition that they will earn a semester and cumulative GPA of 2.0 in 1 semester.

On the other hand, students usually have to sit out for 1 to 2 semesters if their appeal for reinstatement is denied by the committee.

Just because you have an excuse for having a bad GPA doesn’t mean right away your appeal will be accepted.

No matter if you will make your appeal via email or in person, see to it that you have a good justification for your poor academic performance as well as an academic plan, which will show the steps you are intending to take to make up.

And the development of a solid academic plan that might win your appeal and approval starts with meeting with an academic advisor.

Can I Apply to Another College After Being Dismissed?

Applying to another college is possible for students who are academically dismissed. However, few of 4-year institutions, including especially competitive ones, accept transferees with low semester and/or cumulative GPAs. Usually, applying to a community college is the best bet for any dismissed student.

Waiting for 1 semester or 2 semesters to pass so that you can get readmitted to the college that gave you academic dismissal may mean pushing back your graduation and, ultimately, career goals.

If delaying the earning of a college degree is not an option, you may consider applying to another school.

Again, being academically dismissed does not mean a death sentence to your college dreams — you can go back to school for as long as it’s not the same institution that just dismissed you.

As a matter of fact, in some instances, a college may require a dismissed student to attend a community college to take a few courses and earn a good grade in each of them.

And speaking of which, it’s a community college where you are more likely to get admitted despite having been dismissed by your current school. This is especially true since most community colleges have an open admissions policy.

So, in other words, the vast majority of them will give you an offer to enroll no matter your GPA.

While it’s a great idea from a strategic and even financial standpoint to head to a community college after receiving an academic dismissal and even completing an associate degree program, too, you don’t have to restrict yourself to attending a 2-year institution — you can always opt for a 4-year institution and aim for a bachelor’s degree.

But given that your transcript is likely to forever have an academic dismissal notation and thus can affect your admissions chances, it’s important to be smart when sending applications to colleges.

Which Colleges Accept Academically Dismissed Students?

Scouring Reddit for real-life experiences about being academically dismissed and transferring institutions, one school a user mentioned was Western Governors University.

A private, non-profit online university located in Millcreek, Utah, WGU has a rolling admissions policy and an acceptance rate of 100%.

Nursing, business, elementary education, accounting, human resources, healthcare management, information technology, computer and information systems security — these are the top majors at WGU.

Another school mentioned was Arizona State University, which is one of the largest public universities by enrollment in the US.

While it has rolling admissions, too, like WGU, it doesn’t have a 100% acceptance rate. As a matter of fact, the acceptance rate for transfer applicants is slightly lower than for freshmen applicants — 84% vs. 88%.

On the other hand, the site eLearners suggests the following 4-year institutions:

  • American Intercontinental University
  • Colorado State University
  • Northcentral University

How to apply to college after academic suspension?

Similar to applying to an institution for the first time, the initial step is to fill out the application form. In most instances, the application form for transfer applicants is different from the application form for first-time, first-year applicants.

It’s therefore a must to determine whether you should apply as a transferee or a freshman.

It will all depend on the transfer policy of the target college — usually, hopefuls can apply as transfer students only after earning a specified number of credits from their previous school, commonly equivalent to 1 to 2 years of college work.

After filling out the right application form comes the submission of the rest of the requirements.

Because sooner or later the new college will learn about your academic dismissal once it gets its hands on your transcript, it’s recommended to be honest about the matter upfront.

As a matter of fact, you can explain your side in your supplemental essay. It will also help a lot if you share some of your plans on how to keep the same thing from happening again.

You may also need to submit a recommendation letter from an instructor from your previous college. Consider asking someone who knows your true potential despite your academic performance to be your recommender.

Academic Dismissal and What It Means to Your College Career

Getting dismissed academically is not ideal for any college student. Especially because it’s something that may appear for good on your transcript as a notation, it can have an impact on your college career.

And just imagine what could happen if a prospective employer asked to see your transcript!

However, an academic dismissal isn’t the end of your dream of becoming a bachelor’s degree holder — you can still apply to and attend a different college as soon as you are dismissed by your school.

As a matter of fact, you may get readmitted to the institution that dismissed you after waiting for the decision to expire.

Still, as much as you possibly can, you should avoid getting academic dismissal by working hard and staying committed to your educational endeavors in order to keep your semester and cumulative GPA from dipping below 2.0.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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