What Happens If I Don't Meet My Minimum Requirements?

The path to graduation isn't always smooth and predictable. If you find yourself placed on an academic progress status, your Academic Advisors are here to answer your questions, to help you think through your situation, and to support you in your journey to academic success.

If you don't meet your minimum academic requirements, you may be placed on an academic progress status such as academic probation, provisional registration, or academic suspension. This process is meant to help you identify where and why you may be experiencing difficulties, and determine how best to address them. Your academic progress status will not appear on your official transcript. And if you can meet certain conditions, your status will end and you will return to good academic standing.

For official information on academic progress you may consult the Stanford Bulletin, linked below. As advisors, we understand that being placed on a status can be stressful and confusing. On this page we have gathered some of the most common questions that students have about their academic progress status. We hope this will help you better understand your situation, what your status means and doesn't mean, and what next steps you should take.

Please note that the conditions listed below may be impacted by accommodations from the Office of Accessible Education (for example, a Reduced Course Load). See your Academic Advisor if you have questions about your particular situation.

Stanford Bulletin information on Academic Progress Statuses

Frequently Asked Questions


I have been placed on academic probation / provisional registration / suspension. What does this mean?

At Stanford, all students are expected to meet certain minimum progress requirements to remain in good academic standing. They must:

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better
  • Earn at least 9 units of new coursework in a single quarter
  • Earn a total of at least 36 units of new coursework over the most recent three quarters

If you cannot meet these minimum requirements, you may be placed on an academic progress status: this may be academic probation, provisional registration, or academic suspension depending on your circumstances. (Each of these statuses is explained in greater detail below.) We understand that this may happen for a number of reasons, including health and mental health challenges, adjusting to a new environment and a new level of academic rigor, or navigating difficult personal and familial issues.

Students who receive an academic progress status will have an enrollment hold placed on their account. To remove the hold, you will be required to meet with an Academic Advisor (normally your AAD or AARC advisor) to discuss your academic plans, the challenges you have faced, and the changes you may want to make to ensure your future academic success. If you can meet the conditions for satisfactory academic progress, your status will end and you will return to good academic standing.

Your first step is to schedule a meeting with your Academic Advisor!


Will this be recorded on my transcript?

No. If you are placed on academic probation, provisional registration, or academic suspension, this status will not appear on your official transcript. If you are suspended, your transcript will show a gap in enrollment terms, just as it would for a student on a voluntary leave of absence. There will be no indication of the reason for the enrollment gap.


What is academic probation?

The first time a student cannot meet minimum requirements, they may be placed on academic probation. Academic probation is a warning status meant to signal potential problems early on, in the hope that the student will take steps to address the causes of their difficulties. Other than an enrollment hold (which can be lifted after the student meets with an Academic Advisor), a student on academic probation normally retains all the privileges of a Stanford student in good academic standing.

If you are placed on academic probation, you must fulfill certain conditions for three consecutive quarters in order to return to good academic standing. To be removed from academic probation, you must:

  • Earn a minimum of 12 units of new coursework for three quarters in a row
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better for three quarters in a row

If you can meet these conditions, you will return to good academic standing. If you cannot meet these conditions, you may be placed on provisional registration or, in certain cases, placed directly on academic suspension. For the university’s official definition of academic probation, please consult the Stanford Bulletin.


What is provisional registration?

If a student on academic probation cannot meet their minimum conditions, they may be placed on provisional registration. In some cases, a student may be moved from good academic standing directly to provisional registration if they have received a probation status in the past.

Provisional registration represents a second, more urgent academic warning status that the student must consider seriously. In addition to the enrollment hold (which can be lifted after the student meets with an Academic Advisor), a student on provisional registration may lose eligibility for certain Stanford programs or fellowships (for example, BOSP study abroad programs).

The conditions for clearing a provisional registration status remain the same as for probation. You must:

  • Earn a minimum of 12 units of new coursework for three quarters in a row
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better for three quarters in a row

If you can meet these conditions, you will return to good academic standing. If you cannot meet these conditions, you may be placed on academic suspension. For the university’s official definition of provisional registration, please consult the Stanford Bulletin.


What is academic suspension?

A student who cannot meet their minimum conditions while on either a probation or provisional registration status may be placed on academic suspension. In some cases, a student may be moved from good academic standing directly to academic suspension if they have received a probation status in the past.

An academic suspension is a mandatory leave of absence from the university, intended to allow the student the opportunity to reflect on their situation and form a new and viable approach to the challenges they have faced. Typically, the suspension period is one year. In certain cases, the suspension period may be three years.

A student facing academic difficulties for the very first time will never be placed directly on suspension. Rather, students placed on academic suspension have always received at least one prior academic progress status in the past. For the university’s official definition of academic suspension, please consult the Stanford Bulletin.


If I am suspended, will I be allowed to return to Stanford? Will I need to reapply to the University?

Suspension is not the end of your Stanford career. At the end of your suspension period, you will participate in a special return process called the Request to Return and Register in Undergraduate Study. This is not a readmission process, and you do not have to apply to the university all over again. Rather, the Request to Return and Register is meant to encourage you to reflect on your experiences and determine what changes you may have to make in order to thrive in your academics and your personal life upon your return.

In general, the Request to Return and Register requires meeting with an Academic Advisor, writing a personal statement about your plan to return and strategies for success, and contacting any relevant partner offices (for example, Student Financial Services) to clear any obligations or financial holds. The Request to Return and Register should be started early, at least 8 weeks in advance of your desired return quarter (and preferably even sooner if you need to apply for housing and financial aid).

Learn more about returning from an academic suspension


Will the units I earned prior to suspension carry over once I return?

Yes. All units you earned prior to your academic suspension will remain on your record and will count towards your graduation requirements. You may also apply for transfer credit for coursework done elsewhere during your time away from Stanford.


If I've been placed on academic probation, provisional registration, or academic suspension, what resources do I have?

After you are placed on an academic progress status, you will meet with your Academic Advisor (normally your AAD or AARC advisor) to discuss your academic plans. We encourage you to check in with your advisor several times throughout each subsequent quarter to help you stay on track.

For help with specific academic subjects and study skills, you can explore VPTL tutoring resources and the Hume Center, as well as Academic Skills Coaching. Students with learning differences may want to explore the services offered by the Schwab Learning Center.

Last but not least, to maintain your health and wellness you may want to check in with the Vaden Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, and if relevant, consider registering with the Office of Accessible Education


What are my next steps?

The first thing to do after you learn you have been placed on an academic progress status is to schedule a meeting with your Academic Advisor. This meeting is meant to help you think about the factors that led to your situation, what you might learn from this experience, and how best to achieve your goals in the future. In advance of the meeting, you may want to ask yourself some important reflection questions:

  • How would you describe your experience last quarter?
  • In terms of your academics, what do you think is working, and what isn't working?
  • Are there any changes you want to make to your academic plans?
  • Are there outside circumstances that make it hard for you to be the kind of student you want to be right now?
  • Are there support resources you could be using that you haven't yet tried?

Keep in mind that sometimes the best way forward may call for a significant shift of academic plans: for example, switching to a new major, attempting a lighter course load, or taking a temporary leave of absence. Your Academic Advisor can help you think through all these options, and is available to support you both during your time of academic difficulty and beyond.

Be sure to contact your Academic Advisor with any further questions!