How Long Does Academic Probation Last? [+ How To Avoid It]

Academic probation is a term typically used in universities for students who are not making satisfactory academic improvements toward their degrees. But how long does academic probation last?

Commonly, academic probation lasts no more than two full semesters. Concerned students will be warned regarding their grades, before being placed on probation.

Once a student has been placed on academic probation, they must maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher to return to good standing. However, this differs from school to school.

This article explores what academic probation is, the conditions, how to avoid it, and other information about it.

Read on to learn more.

Academic probation restrictions

Academic probation often comes with some limitations.

Firstly, a student with a poor GPA should first consult with an adviser to determine what needs to be done to improve their academic standing and remove them from probation.

However, there is no uniform policy for probation restrictions as every institution determines its policies.

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For instance, in some schools, students who get poor grades in their first quarter receive an academic warning as opposed to being placed on academic probation. If they improve their grades during the next quarter, they can regain academic standing.

While in some institutions, students who have been placed on probation are not allowed to register for classes until they have met with an adviser to draw up a proper academic contract, which will be lifted upon completion.

Probation threatens your eligibility for funding. Even most universities have a policy of expelling students on probation if they do not improve their grades.

How to avoid academic probation

The goal of every student should be to maintain good academic standing. However, what do you do if you are already on probation or at risk of being there?

Here are tips that can help you achieve and sustain academic success.

1. Identify your academic obstacles

Identifying the root cause of your academic decline is the first step. Did you start a new school this year and find it challenging to settle in for the first semester? Do you often miss classes? Do you have any mental or physical health problems?

Determine what has been holding you back and work to resolve it. If you need more time to study and complete assignments, you may need to cut some other activities. It may also involve seeking help from the university’s counseling department.

2. Reach out for help as soon as possible

Many students put off dealing with poor performance until the end of the semester. However, to increase your chances of academic success, it is best to seek help early, by sending an email to your instructor or meeting them during office hours.

If you are having problems outside of the classroom, such as mental health issues, or childcare for parents, there are resources available at your school to help you.

You can also inquire from a faculty member about any available writing centers or tutoring sessions.

3. Consider changing your course

Low grades are an indication that you need to make changes. Are you doing poorly in certain subjects but thriving in others?

This might necessitate you to change your major if that is the case. Hence, you should look for patterns in your transcript.

For instance, if you are struggling in science, technology, engineering, and medical (STEM) classes, you might want to change your major course and try out something else.

4. Reduce your course unit

It is normal for college students with a heavy academic load to suffer. So, you should consider reducing your course load, which may help you avoid the risk of probation.

You can also talk to your school counselor about the bare minimum of credits you need to take if you are on probation.

However, in most institutions, to come off probation, you must boost your total GPA over 2.0, and taking 1-2 classes may not be enough.


Can a student on academic probation change their major?

Yes, you can change your major while on probation.

In fact, some academic advisers suggest changing your degree to improve your scores. However, some departments need a minimum GPA for major declaration.

How many times can a student be on academic probation?

In most institutions, students can be placed on educational probation more than once.

What happens if a student fails on academic probation?

If you fail on academic probation and do not increase your GPA, you will be dismissed. However, you can appeal or seek reinstatement.

How many times can you fail a course?

In most colleges, failing a course four consecutive times will require you to drop the course, or change your program. However, some college allows you no more than three times or fewer.

Can you still get financial aid while on academic probation?

Yes, you are still eligible for financial aid even while on academic probation. However, each school gives you strict rules to follow to keep you on track.


While academic probation is such a cut on every student’s academic progress, its goal is to help students get good academic standing and improve their grades.

Generally, academic probation lasts not more than two semesters, and students at risk of academic probation will be warned before being placed on probation.

This means they must maintain at least a grade point average (GPA) of 2.0, to return to good academic standing.

However, if you are placed on probation and are unable to raise your GPA, you could be dismissed or expelled. However, you have the right to file an appeal or request reinstatement.

I hope you found this article interesting. You can also read to know the top qualities of a good student.

Thanks for reading.