Student Copes With Inability to Succeed During Class

An SCCC classroom learning. Courtesy of

By Dan Bruno

Three-year college student Ali (who didn’t want his last name revealed) is struggling with his ability to remain ‘on’ during class and remain off the academic probation list.

Ali has been a mainstay at the Eastern campus here at SCCC since the fall 2009 semester. A liberal arts major originally; he has changed his majors twice. The first change was to a psychology degree—and now to a business degree. He needs 5 classes to graduate, assuming all his classes turn up a satisfactory grade this semester. If he finishes this semester unscathed, he will move onto the fall 2012 semester and hopefully graduate in January of 2013, which would take him three years to finish what is normally a two year degree for many students here.

“It sucks sometimes that it has taken me longer than others,” he said. “My girlfriend finished hers already, my friends have finished and moved on to other schools and what not and I continue to be on academic probation and falling behind.”

Ali loves to play ice hockey as his main hobby, and has motioned more toward that field than his school studies, spending much more time at the ice rink than at the school library or even class.

“Obviously it’s my own fault—but I believe I can turn things around and continue at a four-year school if I choose to,” he said.

Ali has two jobs, working for his father’s company and also at Bed Bath and Beyond. That, along with leisure time and time for ice hockey, has left him just going to his classes, taking some notes and moving on. This isn’t uncommon for many students here at SCCC, where community colleges do not usually garner the same effort and focus as a four-year university would.

“I find many classes to be so boring,” he said. “I don’t think I’m the only one in that regard.”

Ali has under a 2.0 grade point overage toward his degree and needs to make it above that point for his major grade point average in order to receive his degree and graduate. As of last semester, he has a 1.7 grade point average. Not good enough to pass at the college level, but bad enough to reach the academic probation list at school, in which there are certain restrictions. Students on academic probation cannot register for classes online or by themselves. Instead, they require a signature by a faculty member or their faculty advisor and they need to visit with them to create their schedules.

“It gets very frustrating when everyone else can simply go online and register for their courses the day of priority registration,” he said.

Ali hopes to pass all his classes this semester so he can continue with a busy schedule in the fall, taking five classes en route to his degree in early of 2013. From thereon, he is considering continuing as a business major for a bachelor’s degree, but doesn’t know which school he would like to attend yet and has left it open. First things first, he knows he needs to put more effort into his studies and classes if he is to succeed at the college level and obtain a bachelor’s degree. He knows he even has a lot more work to do at the community college level before that happens.

“I’ll be trying my best to get off the academic probation list and graduate as soon as possible,” he said. “My advice to others would be to put effort into your classes and studies, as I haven’t and it isn’t fun.”

Students on academic probation at the college are subject to dismissal anytime after they fail to maintain a minimum grade point average or do not complete an appropriate amount of attempted credit hours. This applies to both full-time and part-time students, though students placed on academic probation do not lose their good academic standing. However, they must raise their cumulative grade point average during the next semester and/or the number of credit hours completed to remove themselves from the probation list. Full-time students who do not remove themselves from academic probation during the next semester will lose their full-time student status.

Also, if a student’s matriculated status is rescinded, they may only continue in attendance as a non-matriculated student, enrolling in fewer than 12 credits (full-time). Part-time students placed on probation aren’t subject to dismissal but if they don’t remove themselves from academic probation in the next semester, they will have to continue attending as a non-matriculated student and lose their matriculated status.

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