Learn Your Options If You're Kicked out of College

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Being kicked out of college happens more often than many people think. Students are dismissed for many reasons, including cheating, plagiarism, poor grades, addictions, and inappropriate behavior. What should you do if you find yourself holding a dismissal letter?

Know the Reason(s) for Your Dismissal

Chances are your letter of dismissal was sent after a long series of negative interactions with professors, staff, or other students, so you probably have a pretty good idea of what went wrong. However, it's still important to be sure your assumptions are correct. Were you kicked out of college because you failed your classes? Because of your behavior? Be clear about the reasons for your dismissal so you'll know what your options are in the future. It's easier to ask questions and make sure you understand the reasons now than it will be one, two, or even five years in the future.

Know What, If Any, Conditions There Are for Your Return

First and foremost, confirm if you'll be allowed back at the institution. And if you will be permitted to return, be clear about what you'll need to do to be eligible to enroll again. Sometimes colleges need letters or reports from doctors or therapists to avoid the possibility of the same issues arising for the second time.

Figure out What Went Wrong

Did you not go to class? Act in a way that you regret now? Spend too much time on the party scene? Beyond awareness of the actions that resulted in your dismissal, it's important to know what caused those actions and why you made the choices you did. Really understanding what led up to and resulted in being kicked out is perhaps the most important step you can take toward learning from the experience.

Make Productive Use of Your Time Afterward

Being kicked out of college is a serious black mark on your record. How can you turn a negative into a positive? Start by learning from your mistakes and bettering yourself and your situation. Get a job to show you're responsible; take a class at another school to show you can handle the workload; get counseling to show you no longer will make unhealthy choices with drugs and alcohol. Doing something productive with your time will help indicate to prospective employers or colleges that being kicked out of college was an unusual speed bump in your life, not your normal pattern.

Move On

Being kicked out of college can be hard on your pride, but know that people make mistakes of all kinds and that the strongest people learn from them. Acknowledge what you did wrong, pick yourself up, and move on. Being extra harsh on yourself can sometimes keep you stuck in the mistake. Focus on what's next in your life and what you can do to get there.