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Academic Probation Support

Being placed on academic probation or academic disqualification status can feel overwhelming or upsetting. Academic Advisors are here to support you and assist you in devising strategies to get back on track and become a Cal Poly graduate.

The full policy on academic probation can be viewed in the catalog.

What is academic probation?

Students receive three GPAs each quarter. Academic probation occurs when any of your grade point averages drop below 2.0 (C). Students can calculate GPA and view all GPAs are on your PolyProfile. From the student portal, click on the academics tab to access PolyProfile.

Term Grade Point Average (Term GPA) is based on all graded work for the term (quarter).

Cal Poly Cumulative Grade Point Average (CPSLO GPA) is based on all graded work completed only at Cal Poly.

Higher Education Cumulative Grade Point Average (Higher Ed GPA) is based on all graded work completed at all colleges and universities including Cal Poly.

Understanding Grading Dates and Deadlines

Timeline for academic probation or academic disqualification:

  • Grades are due the Tuesday after finals week at 4 pm. Students can access grades via the Student Center. To access, click on the drop down menu then click on Grades.
  • Official GPAs are typically available the Friday after finals week. If students repeat courses during the term, these calculations will also happen on this date.
  • An email will be sent to the student’s official Cal Poly email address from the Office of the Registrar, informing them of their academic status after official grades and GPAs are calculated.
  • The email will contain next steps that the student will need to take and/or who will contact them next regarding their academic status.
  • Students on academic disqualification status will receive information on how to appeal.

What if there is a mistake with a grade?

  • Contact your professor as soon as you notice a grade discrepancy. Faculty have access to on-line grade changes the Monday after grades are posted and can make changes through the 7th week of the following term. More information about grade changes.
  • The Office of Student Ombuds Services is a safe space for Cal Poly students to seek assistance with resolving any university related concern, conflict, or complaint. The Ombuds staff advocate for fair processes and cooperative resolutions.

What is disqualification?

Undergraduate students will be placed on academic disqualification status if their CPSLO GPA or their Higher Ed GPA falls below the following academic progress level GPA limits based on the corresponding academic progress levels (degree applicable work completed).

Using your academic progress gauge in your PolyProfile and the chart below, you can identify the limits that apply to you.

Academic progress levels and GPA limits
Academic Progress Levels Academic Progress Level GPA Limits
Academic Progress Level IV (75.1%-100%) 1.950 Cal Poly Cumulative or Higher Ed GPA
Academic Progress Level III (45.1%-75%) 1.850 Cal Poly Cumulative or Higher Ed GPA
Academic Progress Level II (20.1%-45%) 1.700 Cal Poly Cumulative or Higher Ed GPA
Academic Progress Level I (0%-20%) 1.500 Cal Poly Cumulative or Higher Ed GPA

Special Cases

First Year Students

First year freshmen on academic probation for the first time must attend a First Year Success program (FSP). Students will work with an academic coach to help them succeed at Cal Poly.

New Student Success Clause

If a first year freshmen or transfer student’s GPA falls below the designated academic progress level GPA limits during fall and winter quarters of their first year, they will not be in disqualification status.

We strongly encourage students to work with their advising centers if they find themselves in this situation.

5-year programs

Although the academic progress levels for the 5-year programs at Cal Poly differs from those of the 4-year programs, students in the 5-year programs are held to the same corresponding GPA levels as described above for the purposes of the academic disqualification policy.

I’m on Academic Probation Status. What's next?

The reasons you may find yourself on academic probation status are specific to you. There are many reasons students encounter academic challenges. These challenges can include personal, financial, health, family, time management or study skills.

Using the resources below and your advisors, formulate a plan for academic success in future quarters to reach your goals. 

Course Schedule

Balancing your courses appropriately can contribute to academic success. Academic Advisors can talk with you about:

  • How many units to take each quarter
  • Selecting a variety of courses each quarter (balance course selection with major, support and general education)
  • Identifying pre-requisites to ensure you enroll in appropriate courses
  • Staying on-track with your major, and creating a realistic plan to graduate on time

Over Commitment

College offers many opportunities and activities that enrich your academic experience. Additionally you may have a job, family responsibilities, and off-campus commitments.

Success is about creating a realistic schedule based on priorities and sticking to it.

What does 25-35 hours of studying per week actually look like?

  • Here's an example of a weekly student schedule. This student has 16 units of classes, 10 hours of work, clubs/activities, and family commitments, and most importantly 32 study hours (2 hours x 16 units).
  • Notice how the study time is spread throughout the day and week in small sections. This is how your brain learns best. Staying on campus between classes can be extremely helpful and helps you maximize your study time.

Now that you've seen an example, create your own daily, weekly and/or monthly schedule: Time Management Schedules

Personal Circumstance

Sometimes things happen that are outside your control. These circumstances may have affected your academic performance in small or very significant ways.

A strong support system can greatly impact your academic success and create an important sense of community. A support system may include family, friends, staff, faculty and academic advisors who can assist, guide, and motivate you towards achieving your goals.

Here are a few resources on campus for students to utilize:

Getting back on track

Grade Forgiveness

Cal Poly’s course repeat policy can help you improve your GPA through “grade forgiveness.”

You can repeat a maximum of 16 units at Cal Poly for grade forgiveness for classes in which you have earned a C- or lower. There is no time limit, but Academic Advisors recommend repeating a course as soon as possible while the content is fresh in your mind. You must repeat the same course, and it must be taken at Cal Poly as "graded" to be eligible. You may also choose a different instructor. Once you repeat the course, your original grade is "forgiven." The original grade does not disappear from your transcript, but the original grade will not be calculated into your GPA. Grade forgiveness is the single most effective way to boost your GPA.

If you are concerned about how to make room in your schedule to do this, speak with an Academic Advisor. Contact your College Advising Center or the Mustang Success Center.

Current Class Schedule

Meet with an Academic Advisor to to make sure you have a realistic class schedule and resources you can use to maximize your support.

What if I want to make changes to my schedule?

  • Students are able to make changes to their class schedule via the Student Center until the last day of Open Enrollment. Open Enrollment typically ends the Wednesday before the new quarter begins. For specific dates, refer to the Student Planning Calendar.
  • After the last day of Open Enrollment, students can make final class schedule adjustments until the Add/Drop Deadline. Students can drop a class on their own, but will need a permission number to add a class. Add/Drop Deadline (8th day of classes. Date can be found on Student Planning Calendar.
    • Last day to add or swap classes via Student Center with a permission number.
    • Last day to drop classes, and change CR/NC grading option via Student Center.
    • Last day to submit class audit petition to the Office of the Registrar (5:00 pm).
    • Last day to log in and adjust your PolyPlan to avoid being placed in the last rotation appointment (PolyPlanner non-compliant) by 5PM

I'm on academic disqualification status, what does this mean?

The Office of the Registrar notifies students who are on academic disqualification status before the beginning of the next consecutive regular quarter via your Cal Poly email address.

Students will not be dismissed due to academic disqualification status at the end of the winter quarter, but will be placed on an academic success contract.

Academic Disqualification Appeal Process

Students who are on academic disqualification status at the end of fall or spring quarter, may appeal for reinstatement. The appeal form will be available at the end of Spring quarter.

If reinstated, students will be placed on an academic success contract. Students who do not appeal for reinstatement or whose appeal is not approved will be dismissed from the university and will need to consult with their college regarding readmission process.

For more information, refer to the Undergraduate Academic Probation and Disqualification policy.

Campus Support for Students on Academic Probation

Academic Advisors

Academic Advisors can assist you in identifying resources on campus suited to your personal needs, schedule planning, and study skills development. Academic Advisors can help you navigate and understand your degree requirements, curriculum, and Cal Poly's policies. You can meet with an Academic Advisor in your College Advising Center or in the Mustang Success Center.

Office Hours

Weekly Cal Poly faculty office hours can be a great place to ask for clarification on lectures and course materials, review exams, discuss mentoring opportunities, and much more. You are encouraged to meet with your professors early and often. You can reach out via email or phone to inquire about other options.

Study Skills

Learning how to study is an on-going process. Different strategies may be required for different types of exams or assignments, and everyone has a unique learning style. During office hours, ask your professors how you might focus your efforts to study most effectively for their classes. Cal Poly also offers a Study Strategies Library that you can use to explore various aspects of studying.

Tutoring, Study Sessions, and Supplemental Workshops

The Writing and Learning Center, in partnership with other departments  offer free tutoring on campus. Students are encouraged to build these options into their weekly schedule and access throughout the term.

Readmission Process

Former students who did not leave the university in good standing (i.e. academically dismissed), will have their application and transcripts sent to their department/college for review before reinstatement can occur. Applicants in this category are advised to contact their department or Student Services Center to begin dialogue about satisfying any requirements before submitting the application, per the instructions outlined above.

Former Student Readmission Process

View your College Specific Requirements for Academic Probation

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