Academic Success and Student Progress

Our Mission

The College Office in Arts & Sciences is committed to helping students achieve their academic goals and have a successful learning experience. More specifically, our programs are designed to

  • assist students who are experiencing academic difficulty and could benefit from extra support
  • guide students who choose to take a leave from their studies at WashU

Academic Success

At the end of every semester, the College Office reviews the academic record of all students to determine if they are making satisfactory academic progress. No matter the circumstances, getting notified by the College with concerns about your academic progress can be discouraging. We want you to know that you are not alone. The College Office is here to help you get back on a successful academic path, and the progress programs outlined below are designed to benefit you.

More information on Progress Programs and Leaves of Absence

Progress Programs

Academic Concern

Academic Concern is an early alert to the student and their advisors that additional support may be needed to maintain academic progress. This status may be applied when you meet some criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Student received a D or an F in a course
  • Student successfully completed less than 12 units with a semester GPA or cumulative GPA  between 2.0 and 2.5
  • Student has a semester GPA or cumulative GPA above 2.0 with two incompletes
  • Student failed College Writing

Students who fail to adequately address those concerns may be moved to Academic Notice or Academic Time Away status.

Academic Notice

Academic Notice represents a significant concern regarding a student’s academic progress. Academic Notice status may be applied when you meet some criteria, including but not limited to: 

  • Student received Ds or Fs in more than one course
  • Student has two unresolved incompletes and a GPA below 2.0
  • Student has a semester or cumulative GPA less than 2.0 AND earned less than 12 units
  • Student did not pass any major-related courses
  • While on Academic Concern, student received more than one final grade of D, F, or I

In order to be eligible for a return to good academic standing, you must address the academic concerns identified by the Committee on Academic Progress. Students who fail to adequately address those concerns by the end of the term may be moved to Academic Time Away status.

Academic Time Away

Academic Time Away requires that a student take a break from coursework. This time allows you to address matters that have significantly impeded your academic progress. Academic Time Away status may be applied when you meet some criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Student received D’s, F’s and/or I’s in majority of their courses
  • While on Academic Notice, student received more than two final grades of D, F, or I
  • After having been on Academic Notice in the current or previous term(s), student does not meet the requirements to return to good academic standing in the current term
  • Student has three or more unresolved incomplete grades

All students recommended will receive an electronic notification shortly after the conclusion of the semester, which outlines the conditions of the time away and the instructions for submitting an appeal, if you wish to appeal this decision. If you pursue this option, you must submit a detailed statement in which you explain your performance last semester and articulate your plan for significant academic improvement in the upcoming term. Some parameters for the appeal statement are noted below. 

Appeal Parameters

  1. Reflect in detail upon the circumstances that affected your academic performance during the semester in question. You may choose to focus on ongoing, chronic issues that arose during the semester in new or especially challenging ways, or describe the special, unusual, and/or acute factors that manifested this semester that negatively affected your academic performance. Provide a detailed explanation of special, unusual, and/or extenuating circumstances. Supporting documentation is welcomed (i.e., faculty statement, obituary).
  2. Describe in detail what steps you have taken or will take to address the factors/circumstances noted above to ensure improved academic performance next semester. Avoid platitudes (e.g., “I will work harder,” “I have grown as a person”), opting instead for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely strategies for improvement. As part of this plan, include an anticipated grade cumulative grade average in light of repeated coursework, enrollment in fewer units, etc.
  3. Imagine what a successful semester will look like if you remain an active student. What factors constitute success for you? How will you evaluate your performance next semester. This may include grades in specific courses or as part of your overall academic performance, but it might also include lifestyle factors that are conducive to sustainable success as a student at WashU.

Appeals should be no more than 500 words and must be submitted by the date outlined in the time away notification. No late submissions will be considered.

You may return from Academic Time Away to the College of Arts & Sciences only when you demonstrate a capacity to work productively at the level required by the College curriculum. When you are ready to return from the Academic Time Away, you will need to submit a reinstatement form at least six weeks prior to the beginning of the semester to which you would like to return.

Taking a Leave from WashU

During your time at WashU, you may decide that you would like to take a leave from your studies at WashU. You are advised to discuss your decision with your Four-Year Advisor before taking any steps.

Medical Leave of Absence

During your time at WashU, you may experience life situations, medical conditions, or psychological conditions that significantly impair your ability to function successfully or safely as a student. In these instances, taking a Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) for treatment and recovery can often restore your functioning to a level that will enable you to participate fully in academic coursework and the university community. Learn more about MLOA.

Leave of Absence

From time to time, students decide that taking a semester off will allow them to regroup and recharge so that they can more successfully engage in their studies upon their return. In such cases, taking a Leave of Absence can be a helpful option. When you take a Leave of Absence from the University, you have the option to return at a later date. Request a Leave of Absence.

Leave of Absence for Study Abroad

If you wish to take a leave to study abroad with a program not approved by WashU, you must complete a leave of absence request through Overseas Programs.

Returning to WashU After Leave

  • Leave of Absence/Academic Time Away - To return from a Leave of Absence or Academic Time Away, please submit this form at least six weeks prior to the start of the semester.
  • Medical Leave of Absence - To return from a Medical Leave of Absence, please submit this form during the appropriate time period:
    • Fall semester return - between June 1 and July 1
    • Spring semester return - between November 1 and December 1
    • Summer session reinstatement is not available