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Contact and reassure your advisee that academic probation is not uncommon and is recoverable. Negative feelings need to be defused to allow a student to make positive changes. (Dembo, 2004; Schunk & Zimmerman, 2006).
*Regular connection with an advisor can be very impactful and meaningful to students (on probation) because they are able to articulate their obstacles to someone in an open dialogue, which can be a relief for struggling students who may feel discouraged by dispassionate probation emails and letters (Kirk-Kuwaye & Nishida, 2001).
Send your advisee the Academic & Self-Assessment Form. This form takes students through a list of common academic and personal difficulties - prompting them to self-reflect on their behaviors and experiences of the previous semester. The process of completing the form is meant to be a learning experience - not a punitive task!
At the end of the form they are asked to look back on their responses and choose 3 or 4 behaviors/skills that they would like to improve in the coming semester - encouraging them to take control of their education.
*Self-reflection is a skill that can help beyond college, and institutions can help support its development.
Completing the form will prompt your advisee to schedule an initial meeting with you. This meeting will likely take at least 30 - 40 minutes. It can be conducted by phone or in-person
Submission of the form prior to the initial meeting is helpful. It allows the advisor time to review student responses prior to the scheduled meeting and consider:
- Has your advisee experienced any external barriers to their success? If so, they may be able to retroactively withdraw from all or some of their classes (official supporting documentation will be required). Refer to Office of the Registrar Withdrawal for more details. You may also contact the Office of the Registrar, SBS 1st floor, 707-826-4101 or the Dean of Students Office, SH 211, 707-826-3504 if you or your advisee need more assistance.
- Has your advisee has been struggling with internal barriers to success?
- Do the behaviors/skills they elected to improve seem like a reasonable plan?
Complete the three sections of the "Academic Action Plan" with your advisee in the initial meeting (a subsequent meeting may need to be scheduled if the student’s situation is very complex).
- Financial Aid Status vs. Academic Standing. Emphasize that there are differences between University Academic Standing policies and Financial Aid Status.
- Check the Student Center for any Financial Aid unit deficiency warning or loss of eligibility message.
- Students can click on the details of their ‘To-Do List’ item for information regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policies https://finaid.humboldt.edu/node/337. You may be asked to write a letter of support if a student appeals their loss of eligibility.
- All questions regarding the student’s financial aid status should be directed to the Financial Aid office! Review academic probation or reinstatement policies with the student (see ‘Academic Regulations’ in the current Humboldt catalog for more information).
Complete the remaining two sections of the plan in either order (depending on student’s circumstances).
- Academic Goals. Use the Learning Center GPA Calculator to calculate grades needed to return the student to good standing. An unofficial transcript is needed to calculate GPA.
- Personal Challenges/Concerns. If, in your opinion, the student has not developed a reasonable/realistic/detailed enough plan, here are some talking points to be used in conjunction with page 2 of the action plan:
- What personal challenges and/or concerns do you anticipate this semester? Refer them to appropriate campus resources.
- What academic habits are you going to cultivate with regard to planning and organization, follow-through strategies, test-taking strategies, reading and note-taking strategies? Refer to the list of suggested academic habits and have the student generate a short list of manageable action steps.
- What resources will you use to ensure your academic success?
- What goals do you have, in addition to academic recovery?
- Conclude by revisiting earlier encouragement, focus on positive outcomes, to help the student feel a sense of hope, empowered and ultimately in control of their own destiny.
Both Advisor and Student should sign the form as an indication of serious intent.
*Through frequent advising, students are able to connect with additional resources on campus and engage more in campus life, and measurable improvement in student GPA after at least three meetings with an advisor has been shown (National Survey for Student Engagement, 2007; Vander Schee, 2007).