Academic Probation

Learner Series:

Academic Probation

Table of Contents

How Do You Wind Up on Academic Probation?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already on academic probation. This isn’t a good place to be, let’s start with a real quick review about how one gets on the academic probation list. 

Basically the way you wind up on Academic Probation is by failing (or just barely passing) classes. 

How Do I Get Off of Academic Probation?

Basically, you need to start passing your classes! What happens is the school will place you on probation, then monitor your progress for the next semester. They’ll often require you raise your GPA + Earn a minimum grades (Think C or better) for a semester. You really need to meet with your academic advisor and understand EXACTLY what you need to do. 

That being said, you might be panicking a bit right now. After all you have plans to be a doctor, you know how competitive it is, and now you have both a red flag AND a weakened GPA. 

  • IF this is your FIRST semester. You have time to recover – but you really need to take your work seriously and make corrections NOW.
  • IF you’re on academic probation as a Junior / Senior, due to a low cGPA you’re going to be in a very difficult place. Your low cGPA will make it so you’re not competitive for medical school right after graduation. 
    • You may need to seriously consider other career paths OR find ways to rehabilitate your GPA.
    • Special Masters programs, and Post-Baccs may be an option at this point. 
  • IF you’re on academic probation because your grades dropped for a SINGLE semester as a Junior / Senior then that’s a different story.
    • Figure out why they dropped, if it’s a personal or familial, or mental health reason create a corrective plan now with your advisor AND a BreakThru Mentor here on the site.  

For practical advice on how to identify academic problems you’re having – read our article “Help I Failed My…

How Do I Identify What Went Wrong?

 For practical advice on how to identify academic problems you’re having – read our article “Help I Failed My…” This will take you through a process of problem-solving to identify your problem, find a solution, hold yourself accountable, and succeed!

Will Academic Probation Keep Me Out of Medical School?

Good News. There are only a few red flags so big that you’ll never get into a medical school. Academic probation isn’t a felony, or even a misdemeanor, it’s a state of transient state of poor academic performance. One semester of academic warning or probation alone shouldn’t keep you from being a doctor. That being said, it will almost certainly hurt your competitiveness – unless you have an extremely legitimate and compelling reason. Also, as we said earlier, if you are on academic probation after several semesters of poor grades… that’s going to be hard to come back from.

If something did happen that was out of your control, let admissions know about it in your personal statement or secondary. However, excuses like “I had a really hard semester” or “I was distracted by academics and work” are insufficient. If you are in doubt, ask one (or more) of our mentors for their advice. 

How Do I Explain Probation to Admissions?

The very best things you can do is learn something from the experience, and be honest with yourself, and the admissions committee.

Try to turn the academic probation into a learning experience and show that you’ve grown because of it. If you can do that you can potentially turn a weakness into a unique strength. 

The Path to Medical School Can Feel Long And Unclear

But never forget that we’re here to help. Do you have a question about something you just read in our BreakThru Learner Series?

Use the BreakThru Feed to Ask and Inspire others with your questions. Our Medical Student Mentors are always here to help you, for free, anytime.

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