Understanding the Reasons for Disciplinary Probation

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"Disciplinary probation" is the term many schools use to indicate a student or student organization has engaged in unacceptable behavior, according to an institution's student handbook or code of conduct. This is also known as college probation, probation, or a probation warning but is different than academic probation. Schools often let students or student organizations on disciplinary probation remain at the school during a probationary period, as opposed to suspending or expelling them.

How to Respond to Probation

If you've been placed on probation, it's important to be very clear on 1) what caused your probation, 2) how long your probation will last, 3) what you need to do to get off of probation, and 4) what happens if you break your probation rules. Ideally, your school will provide all this information when your school notifies you about being placed on probation, as well as whom to contact with any questions. Additionally, it's important to make sure you find positive support systems and stay away from situations that might, even by chance, lead you to a probation violation.

Disciplinary probation often requires students to remain free from any kind of disciplinary trouble during a predetermined time period. For example, a student on probation for violating residence hall rules must not have any other disciplinary problems in the hall. If that student violates their probation, they may face more severe consequences, like suspension or expulsion, which can hinder progress toward graduation. In the case of an organization on probation, the school may further restrict its activities, cut off its funding, or force it to disband if the group violates probation. Probationary periods can be anything from a few weeks to an entire semester or academic year.

Impact on Transcripts

Policies vary by school, but your disciplinary probation could show up on your transcript. As a result, your probation could have an effect on any future activity that requires you to present your transcript, like if you're transferring to a different college or applying to graduate school.

You'll want to check with your school, but in many cases, the probation note will only show up on your transcript during your probation period. If you make it through probation without violating its terms, the note should be removed. However, if probation leads to suspension or expulsion, it's likely to remain a permanent part of your transcript.

Can I Get out of Probation?

Again, you'd need to check your school's policies, but if you feel you don't deserve to be put on disciplinary probation, you may be able to fight it. See if there's a way to appeal the decision. If that's not an option, ask if there's anything you can do to shorten the probationary period. Beyond that, your best course of action may be to ride out the probation period with patience and good behavior. Once you've done what's required of your probation terms, your transcript will likely show no record of it. Of course, just because it's not on your transcript doesn't mean your school forgets about it. You probably have a disciplinary record, as well, so you'll want to avoid getting in trouble again, because you may face harsher consequences the next time you're cited for unacceptable behavior.

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Your Citation
Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "Understanding the Reasons for Disciplinary Probation." ThoughtCo, Aug. 10, 2021, thoughtco.com/what-is-disciplinary-probation-793283. Lucier, Kelci Lynn. (2021, August 10). Understanding the Reasons for Disciplinary Probation. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-disciplinary-probation-793283 Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "Understanding the Reasons for Disciplinary Probation." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-disciplinary-probation-793283 (accessed April 1, 2023).