Academic Probation 2nd semester

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by rotccadetmom, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. rotccadetmom

    rotccadetmom New Member

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    I never thought it would be him but our son is on academic probation for the
    2nd semester and is an AROTC scholarship recipient. What does that mean exactly? We certainly cannot afford the tuition at all and I am so unfamiliar with the process. The college is closed over break and I am going stir crazy with what is ahead. Does anyone know what is required and how it all works out for the 2nd semester? He is so sick over it and is doing everything possible to repair it. New territory but when they tell you it happens to so many regardless of how well they did in HS, etc...believe it. I didn't think it would be possible but it happened and I could cry. We're stressed. Anyone out there been through it or know what to expect for this 2nd semester? Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you
     
  2. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    sorry to hear that. Some colleges are really tough on freshmen, and others aren't.

    I don't have any advice, other than this -- keep track of how your DS is doing on each midterm and paper, and if he needs tutoring, figure out some way to make that happen.
     
  3. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    rotccadetmom, I think ROTC will place your DS on probation as well. He then have 1 or 2 semesters to fix his GPA or the scholarship will be revoked. One of his ROTC cadre members will counsel your son and explain what he needs to do. I would assume that he has one chance to fix this.
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I also expect he'll be on mandatory study hours. I know NROTC does this and would expect AROTC to do it as well. If he got a D or less in one of his major courses the school may require him to repeat it.

    If he is the type of kid who never really had to study hard in high school then this will undoubted be an eye-opening and hopefully character building experience for him. If he can turn it around it will teach him how to overcome failure which is a valuable life skill especially for a leader. Life isn't all success and roses. Hopefully bell treat it all as a learning experience.

    Best wishes to you both.
     
  5. mdrob214

    mdrob214 Member

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    Definately check what the unit will do to assist. However, I know that 20+ years ago only the NROTC had a system in place for tutoring and academic assistance. When my DD visited her first choice school for NROTC they also offered the tutoring but the AFROTC still didn't. We actually had the discussion with the PAS of the AFROTC Det at the school (he and his wife were a year behind me, small world that my DD ends up at a school where I know the PAS!) and the Naval Science instructor.

    Good luck on the probation. I know many cadets who had it happen and kept the scholarship but don't know the rules today. As has been stated, get a tutor and make sure DS uses any resources the unit has to offer.
     
  6. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Not a huge deal as long as your son pulls up his GPA the next semester. What is at stake here is not only his scholarship but also his PMS opinion of him as a leader. If the PMS is still there his MS III year his previous probation could have an affect on his evaluations. I beleive you get 1 semester before your scholarship is drop so don't freak out yet. Tell your so to buckle down (study groups, office hours, reduce CoD playing etc) and drop partying to 5 out of 7 days a week instead of every day. :biggrin: Kidding, don't worry he will be fine.
     
  7. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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  8. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Some ROTC battalions require study hall hours for each class that the cadet has a D or lower.

    My son's school requires an hour a day for each class with a D or lower. Check to see if his battalion has these study hours.

    Colleges usually have tutors available for each course at no charge. Your son can also check the bulletin boards for tutors for hire, they are usually Grad students and are reasonably priced.

    Make sure he meets with his Professors at the beginning of the semester to work out a plan on how to approach each class to help him succeed. Most Professors will tell you that too few students take advantage of the help that is offered. Have him look through the school website to find out how to get the help he needs.

    Most of all he will need to dedicate a lot of hours to studying. He's not the first kid to be in this position and he won't be the first to turn things around, it happens more then you would think.
     
  9. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    My condolences on your son's situation. And while it is very stressful to you to be in a place where you don't know what is happening next, I'm pretty sure your son is in a place where he isn't comfortable either. And this is a learning opportunity for him.

    One thing that will serve him well in the military is to learn how to handle making a mistake. There are a few critical things he must do at this point.

    1) Accept 100% of the responsibility for the situation he is in. While he may have not have been well prepared for his first semester, he should be counseled not to blame anyone but himself for this (very easy for someone who has been spoonfed how to succeed up to this point).

    2) Take the initiative to analyze what behaviors of his led him be in this situation. I suggest that he learns how to make a list because there are probably several. I will suggest several that you may see:
    a) Taking classes he is not academically prepared for - Just because a kid takes 4 years of HS Spanish, it doesn't mean he is ready for Spanish V. Many schools offer placement tests for all sorts of subjects. They aren't there to punish students, but to accurately assess where a student should start their studies. This leads me to the second item which is...
    b) Not taking advantage of support services offered by his school. Placement testing and academic advisors are there to make sure a student has the information and takes advantage of the tools available to choose appropriate classes and get tutoring as necessary. Advisors don't just exist to sign off on your 104R.
    c) Failing to act upon the resources provided to manage one's affairs at school. You can get bombarded with information as they enter first semester. They get a list of where to get help, they get syllabi, they may get a ROTC office where they can duck in during the day to have a quiet place to study between classes.
    d) Underestimating the task before them. Just because they got a syllabus detailing the tests to be taken, papers to be written, etc. doesn't mean they put all the requirements to on a timeline and execute. They had tests and papers in HS. They stayed up late and put out a product that was graded and they thought they knew what was acceptable. This isn't Kansas Toto (No offense to that school intended). Failure to understand that winging it on a major project doesn't work like it did in HS is common.
    e) Overestimating their level of skill. They may have been in the top 10% of their peers in HS. That other 90% didn't follow them to college. It is a lot tougher competition. Need to get game on.
    f) Failure to prioritize. Lots of things to do at college. Some critical, some imporant, some nice to do, some just plain waste of time. Understanding which items are which (once they have correctly estimated the task in item d) is critical. Academics, ROTC events, dorm events, school-wide events. Knowing how much of which you can do to keep one both happy and successful at school is a critical skill. All 24 hours of the day are used - what is he getting from each of them?
    g) Failure to prepare. I'm sure that his cadre has told him that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. It applies not only to ROTC activities, but to his studies as well. College professors do not "teach" subjects like HS teachers do. You are expected to have read the material and have some understanding of it before the lecture - something that isn't done in most HS classes. Lectures are there for the student to confirm that s/he has adequate understanding of the material s/he has previously read. It is to review and integrate the concepts in the readings. In case s/he is still lost, office hours are a backup plan to cover something that didn't quite click in lecture.
    h) Lack of discipline to carry out the above. Let's face it, students are still kids and when a party comes up the night before a test which was planned as study time, bad decisions are made.
    i) Failure to learn from mistakes. Ignoring the fact that last night's party directly led sleeping through the test which the instructor didn't offer a makeup is a common way to deal with the pain of failure. Mom and Dad didn't ground me. Nobody said anything to me. I can just put it behind me - until I do it again and again.​

    3) Be willing to openly discuss his failings (above) with those who control his destiny (you to start with as he cannot afford to fund college on his own). He should have list above and be able to cite chapter and verse how he got where he is and more importantly how he employ the resources at his disposal (see item 2b) to help him to stay on track going forward.

    4) Proactively contact his cadre (before they contact him), present the above and make an appointment to review his plan as soon as he arrives on campus.

    5) Once he has dug himself out of his hole, volunteer to help others behind him keep from becoming him - obviously he failed to grab the hands extended to him so far, doing a better job of keeping those behind him from getting in as deep shows not only a lesson learned, but more importantly the leadership skills to understand that the whole unit's success is important.

    As to my advice to you - look this over, have an adult beverage (if that is your thing), and prepare to be firm in keeping him moving forward (no pity parties allowed). Time to watch him grow up. He will get there. You will need to be strong to help him.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    ^^^^ Great post goaliedad!
     
  11. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    Rotccadetmom,

    Follow goaliedad's advice - lived thru the loss of a significant merit scholarship for our DD(not the AROTC DS I normally post about). Just today she received confirmation that her scholarship was reinstated for 2nd semester after busting her butt to earn straight A's 1st semester and bringing her GPA back inline(3.0 required for scholarship).

    It was a very difficult situation for our family and like you, I never thought this child would ever find herself in an academic mess....but it happened.

    Goaliedad's advice is spot on and it sounds like your DS has already faced the hard part - personal responsibility. No pity parties allowed, buckle down and make it work. Oh, and yes, I had a few adult beverages along the way:wink:
     
  12. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    It seems to me that the biggest academic transition from high school to college is around mastery of a subject. Professors simply will not accept memorization and spitting back the same material in a paper or test. While this is the formula for success in high school it will not serve you in college.

    I have first hand knowledge of students who end up on academic probabation without ever partying or fooling around. They have spent nearly every hour doing homework and review problems. They might do well on chapter/ section tests but blow the mid-term and final. It is almost the polar opposite of partying. Yet they end up in the same place.


    Besides everything offered, I suggest you challenge your son to always ask "what are they really teaching in this section? What is the essence of this section?" Focus first on the "big picture" then understand why you apply a certain formula or approach to a problem.

    I don't have a great example but will take a shot: Consider a box fan in your room. If you are challenged with understanding how it works and you dutifully unscrew every screw, unhook every tab and get it broken down to its basic components you have done your "homework". But do you really understand how it works? If you step back and ask yourself "I wonder why this screw was placed here; why this copper wire is wrapped around a magnet, etc then you have begun the process of understanding the subject. Taking it apart is the means to the end.

    Do this every day with every class, every discussion, every lecture. It is a life skill that once developed will serve him well.

    Best of luck!
     
  13. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    I think everyone is missing the point of her initial post.

    These are questions you should be asking of your Colleges Student Services and the ROTC Battalion.

    You will have to pay your son's tuition and fees this semester (he should continue to get his stipend). You need to talk to the financial aid folks at his school ASAP and see what help he can get from them. Even if the school is closed, I'm pretty sure the registrar/student services are at work. Hopefully you have a FAFSA done. If you can't afford to send him back to that school your only other option that gives you the possibility of retaining some of the scholarship will be to transfer to a partner school you can afford and hope that the Battalion will consider allowing him to use what is left of his scholarship when he gets back in good standing. Depending on how far he missed 2.0 by he may be able to go back to his professors and make sure he didn't deserve a higher grade. I've had cadets do some razzle dazzle to raise their GPA over break. He should also see if there is a winter class he can take somewhere to wipe out a failing grade. I know this information is a little late, but you have to look at all the options.

    Obviously your son will have to do better, and study harder. Obviously your son's standing in the Battalion has been diminished. Obviously he will have to seek help, consider changing his major, and talk to his academic and ROTC advisors for guidance. I think your question was how do you now pay for school without the scholarship. It happens, luckily none of my freshmen fell off the boat this year, a couple were pretty close.

    Hope this helps.
     
  14. rotccadetmom

    rotccadetmom New Member

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    Amazing replies and support! I seriously appreciate all of it and all the time you took to lend some advice. Yes, all of it is true and Clarkson is correct as well. Financially this is going to be a struggle and hopefully financial aid will be able to assist. I will contact them on Monday to find out what the situation is. FAFSA was all complete for last year but of course it isn't done for the new year because I haven't received any tax forms yet. Not sure how that all works out for the spring semester of 2012? Has anyone been in that situation? He maxed out on support from FA because of course I am a single mom and do not make a heap of money so even though he had the ROTC scholarship they still assisted at the start of the year with a few grants to cover extras.

    Yes, he managed to pretty much blow 2 serious classes on the semester exams. The ROTC unit explained before how often this happens due to pride, not being able to admit that you are in a spot of danger, and not asking for the help when it all around them. He has to turn it around and fast. He is super smart of course because he earned it in the first place. Now he just has to swallow that pride, buckle down, and work his butt off to correct. He changed majors to a difficult major upon entering and he should have just stayed where he was. The math courses were tough and he may have to see about switching back on majors and how that will all work. Gulp. I'm stressed though. I just hope one freshman semester does not change the course of his whole education and career because he dropped the ball.

    Thanks so much for all of your ears. I hope we get some answers next week.
     
  15. FutureOfficerMom

    FutureOfficerMom Member

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    Cadetmom--last year's FAFSA should still apply for winter term/spring semester of this year, so you should be fine on that front. Best of luck!!
     
  16. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    When you contact Finaid, ask if there is someone who handles military scholarships - it may help with specifics of your DS's situation. You may have to have his aid package reviewed and re-submit FAFSA information from last year. Most schools base the entire academic year of 2011-12 on the FAFSA you filed last year, but schools can be different.

    We had to bite the bullet and take a parent loan to keep DD at school while she regained her scholarship, this was a bad situation since her father lost his job in April right as we were confirming the scholarship was lost. It will work out for us somehow - check into payment options for Parent loans. MyFedLoan.org is the most current website I have.

    Your DS should be the one sending the emails to PMS and finaid usually requires his permission for you to handle any loan/aid discussions(DD has to submit a form every year so I can have access to call them).

    His academic life will bear a scar from this freshman foolishness, but if he can redeem himself the scar will be minor - like a bike wreck rather than open heart surgery.

    Will continue to watch your thread - prayers going out for you both to find a little peace soon.
     
  17. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    There is something else to keep in mind.

    Obviously if he does not reach the min. cum GPA this semester he will lose the scholarship but there is something else to consider.

    If your son loses the scholarship at the end of the freshman year there is still no obligation to the Army such as enlistment or scholarship payback. As you know by his contract if he starts his sophomore year he then incurs that obligation.

    The point is that college will not be getting easier, and ROTC will start to take up more time and effort. If after this semester your son is still having trouble but is able to bring his GPA up to the min. he will have to think hard about the next year. If he struggles during his sophomore year and drops below the min. again or worse loses his scholarship and is disenrolled from ROTC he will either owe the Army enlisted time or will have to pay back the entire scholarship money he has received, he does not get to choose which one, the Army does. With the current draw down in the Army it may be harder to do the enlisted option which could leave you in an even more serious financial situation. These are all things you need to make sure your son understands before he starts the next semester. He may need to rethink his major if it is too hard to handle.

    I wish him the best of luck.
     
  18. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    What he will find is that if he can rise from the ashes he will be a valuable asset for the cadre to point to as a cautionary tale. As I'm sure you realize he's not blazing a trail here.

    Good luck
     
  19. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    I'm glad to see Clarkson and others chime in on some of the considerations (financial and academic) that need to be examined going forward.

    One last subject to discuss in the GPA repair department - the alternatives of course retake vs. moving on with other classes.

    Typically, when you retake a class, the grade you receive in the subsequent term may replace the original grade in your GPA calculation in both the numerator (grade points earned) and the denominator (grade points attempted). If this is the case, it can make a rapid change in the GPA, given a passing grade in the retake.

    For example, if his original term grades (all in 3 unit courses for simplicity sake) were 4 C's and 1 F (let's say in Engineering Calculus) yielding a 1st term GPA of 1.6 (24 grade points points - 4 courses * 3 credits * 2 points / 15 credit hours attempted - 5 courses of 3 credit hours). In this case, retaking the Engineering Calculus the next term with 4 other 3 credit hour courses and getting straight C grades would yield a 2.0 cumulative GPA at the end of the 2nd semester with the numerator of the GPA being 54 (9 total courses taken * 3 credit hours * 2 grade points) and the denominator being 27 (9 total courses taken * 3 credit hours attempted) given that the university policy on retaking the course does not add to the credit hours attempted.

    Lets compare this with moving onto to Non-Engineering Calculus (a different course for a different set of majors) because the student has decided that he is getting out of Engineering into another major not requiring Engineering Calculus (like Business). He takes 15 credit hours including the Non-Engineering Calculus. In order to get that GPA from the 1.6 up to the same 2.0 without using credit hour replacement, he needs to get an additional 6 credit hours because moving on leaves the original 3 credit hours for Engineering Calculus in the denominator.

    To show you how this works, start with the 24 grade points and 15 attempted hours from the first semester and add in 30 grade points (5 courses * 3 credit hours * 2 grade points - assuming the came straight C grades) to the numerator and an additional 15 attempted hours (5 * 3 credit hour courses including the Non-Engineering Calculus) to the denominator. You now have 54 cumulative grade points in the numerator and 30 cumulative attempted credit hours in the denominator yielding a cumulative GPA of 1.8. With that total of 30 attempted credit hours, in order to the the GPA back to 2.0, 36 grade points must be earned during the 2nd semester. To get these 36 grade points, it would take an A grade in the Non-Engineering Calculus (earning 12 grade points) in addition to the 24 other grade points from the same 4 other courses with C grades (12 credit hours * 2 grade points).

    Now understand that every university has different grade retake and replacement policies and GPA calculation policies. It is important that he talks to his advisor and understands them before making any final decisions on what courses to take next term.

    In addition, non-F grades (D and C-) grades may or may not have different retake/replacement policies. Also, some D grades may count as credit towards graduation, but major/minor requirements may or may not be satisfied by these grades. Yet another thing to be discussed with the advisor.

    The best thing about an advisor is that they've seen it all before and if he is open and honest about how he might do academically with different alternatives (retake vs. move on) he will get the best advice. They really do want their students to succeed.

    Best of luck and feel free to bring back any questions.
     
  20. rotccadetmom

    rotccadetmom New Member

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    Amazing amount of information! Thank you all again. @Goaliedad...wow. It gets complicated and confusing when you talk about all of that and it also makes sense. I did get another letter today outlining his probation. He will meet with advisors next week. They have a whole plan in force and he will be working diligently to correct this and move forward. He told me he will be talking with them to change majors as well.

    I have to leave this in his hands and be as supportive as I can be as a parent. This is still his ultimate goal to graduate college and become an officer and serve his country so I have to have faith that he will get back on the right path.

    I have been watching and reading these posts for the past 5+ years and this place is a wealth of knowledge. Thank you again for taking the time to lend your knowledge and experience and expertise to this situation. I will be sure to keep everyone in the loop as to what arises in the future concerning this.

    My advice for the cadets entering with scholarships is to never have too much pride or bite off more than you can chew thinking you are indestructible and can handle all that comes at you. It was too late when my son realized he was in over in his head and he fell just shy of a 2.0 when academics were never a challenge to him before. Ask for help. It is all around you and they said that for some crazy reason the cadets do not use it like they should and this exact thing happens. Live and learn. But it is too valuable to let go of if you really want this as your goal.

    Hopefully the 2nd semester will not kill us financially and we can utilize the financial aid we already completed at the start of the year and it will all work out. I guess we'll find that out next week when he calls and talks to that dept. Fingers crossed.

    It's all so unfortunate but what is done is done now. All he can do is fix it and learn from it. I still wish I could stick him in time out! :smile:

    I am still completely shocked we are going through it. But it looks like cocktail hour is approaching! Yeah me!
     

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