Reinstatement: Finding college success after difficulties

Lyndsey Schley

Kellie Miley tells her story of how she was dismissed and then reinstated.

Students do poorly in college for all kinds of reasons. Work and school might be hard to balance. Family problems might leave students distracted. Whatever the case, some students have trouble completing their course work and are academically dismissed from the university.

There are three reasons the university academically dismisses students, according to the university’s website. First, the university may dismiss students if they do not maintain a certain GPA. This ranges from 1.5 to 1.9, depending on how many GPA credit hours a student has earned.

“If you get so far in the hole, GPA-wise, it’s very difficult to get out,” said Judith Rule, director of the Exploratory Advising center. “We’ve been doing this 100 years. We kind of know what those guidelines are.”

Second, the university may dismiss a student on probation if they receive an F, NF (Never attended class), SF (Stopped attending class) or U (Unsatisfactory performance) in nine or more credit hours of classes.

Third, the university may dismiss any student that does not make “adequate progress” in their studies. This may include students that make “excessive complete term withdrawals” or make multiple withdrawals along with receiving SF and NF grades.

In Spring 2012, the university dismissed 492 undergraduate students, about 2.4 percent of the undergraduate population at Kent State, said Wayne Schneider, director of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness.

Students may appeal their dismissal. However, if a student is dismissed, he must be reinstated before he can come back to the university. Students must wait a year before being reinstated, Rule said.

To be reinstated, the student must fill out a form and apply for reinstatement to the college they wish to join. This may be different from the college they were dismissed from. The purpose of this application process is to try to determine whether the student will be more successful if given a second chance, Rule said.

“We want to see why you failed, what your explanation is, what you were doing well on, what you learned from that experience and how you’re going to solve the problems that got in the way of your academic success in the past,” Rule said.

The university reinstated 134 undergraduate students this semester, Schneider said.

Many scenarios can make a student a better candidate for readmission, University Advising director Charity Snyder said.

“One of those could be that they attended another institution and they were successful there,” Snyder said. “Another example might be working. It might just be having a job for an extended period of time. It might be progressing through and being promoted or given more responsibility in the job. It may be taking a job and realizing this is not the kind of thing you want to do for the rest of your life and become motivated to pursue a degree or a different path. In some cases, it could be just the amount of time they were off, and they are more mature now than when they were here before.”

Reinstated students are on academic probation until they achieve a 2.00 cumulative GPA, Snyder said.

Depending on the college, a reinstated student may need to participate in a program to help them succeed in college, Rule said. The Exploratory program started a new program for reinstated students last fall.

“In the past, probably between a third and a half of students who get reinstated got dismissed again,” Rule said. “We must have done something right because last fall, we had 15 reinstated students, and we didn’t dismiss a single one of them and we think it’s because of this new program we have set up so there’s a lot of contact with our reinstated students.”

Students participated in a half-day orientation in the beginning of the year, Rule said. The students also had to meet with someone from the program once a week for 10 weeks and read a textbook on college success.

“The program has great promise, we think, in helping our students that have not been successful in the first go around to come back and to nail it,” Rule said. “[It helps them] to figure out what it is they need to acquire the skills they need, to access the resources that are necessary to them, to bring it all together and to be successful the second time.”

If students are dismissed, it does not mean they have no future at the university. By proving a dedication to success, a student can come back to make much more fruitful second chance.

Contact Lyndsey Schley at [email protected].