Academic Challenges

Avoiding Academic Challenges

We encourage all students with concerns about their academic success to meet with a College of Letters and Science advisor and/or with your major department advisor. The best way to avoid academic challenges is to address academic concerns before they become problems.  

What do I do if I’m struggling academically?

Take a breath—academic challenges are a natural part of the university experience. When they arise, here's a few tips to help you steer through your academic journey and maximize your time at UCSB:

Early Action is Key: Address academic concerns before they become bigger problems. Be proactive!

Reach Out to Instructors: Instructors are here to help you grow and learn! Consider attending office hours to clarify doubts with your instructors and teaching assistants (TAs).

Seek Advice: If you face problems during the quarter, meet with our friendly College of Letters and Science Advisors in 1117 Cheadle Hall and/or with your Major department Advisor to discuss your options. You may also visit the Transfer Student Center in the UCSB Library or ONDAS in 1150 Kerr Hall for additional advising. Take advantage of available resources!

Access your Resources: Students have access to many FREE resources listed here:

  • College of Letters & Science Advisors
  • CLAS: Campus Learning Assistance Services is UCSB's tutoring service for all UCSB students.
  • DSP: If you have a disability, work with Disabled Students Program to arrange necessary accommodations.
  • CAPS: If you’re struggling with the emotional ups and downs of life, you may need to reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services.
  • CARE: Campus Advocacy Resources and Education has a 24/7 Confidential phone line (805-893-4613) for students who have experienced sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking or harrassment.

Late Course Decisions: If dropping a course is a consideration, consult with a Letters and Science advisor after. Review the process for petitioning to drop a course after the GOLD deadline.

Know Academic Policies: Familiarize yourself with academic policies, regulations, and degree requirements. Refer to LASAR (Letters and Science Academic Requirements) and the UCSB Catalog.

Stay Informed: Regularly check important academic dates, deadlines and information on the Office of the Registrar's website and on GOLD.

Plan for the Future: Consider your future after graduation with guidance from Career Services. They can assist you with finding the perfect career fit and helping you build an exceptional resume among other resourses!

What does "Academic Review" mean?

If a student’s quarter GPA is below 1.5 or their cumulative GPA is below 2.0, they will be under “Academic Review” (formerly known as “Academic Probation”) the following quarter and be notified by email sent to their UCSB Gmail account. This is an opportunity for the student to work with Letter and Science Advising to assess their situation and connect them to resources needed to be successful. 

While under “Academic Review” a student:

  • May be required to meet with a Letters and Science advisor to review their future courses.
  • Can enroll in a maximum of 17 units.
  • Must only take courses for a Letter Grade, unless "Passed/Not Passed” is the only grading option.
  • Is still eligible to petition to drop a course or to request an "Incomplete" during the quarter if needed. See "Incomplete Grade Request".

What happens next?:

  • If you earn a 2.0 GPA or higher while under academic review and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0, you'll return to “Regular Academic Status”.
  • If your cumulative GPA is still below 2.0, you will be under “Dean’s Review” for the following quarter.

What does "Dean's Review"?

Students are under "Dean’s Review" if after being on "Academic Review" their quarter and/or cumulative GPAs remain below 2.0.  At this time, the College reviews the student’s record and considers whether a student needs to take specific steps to be enrolled the next quarter or whether the student needs a break in enrollment to reassess their situation and repair their GPA.  As part of the "Dean’s Review" a student will likely be required to submit an Academic Self-Reflection

After reviewing a student’s record and Academic Self-Reflection, the Dean will make one of the following determinations:

  1. Reinstated the student, allowing them to remain enrolled under “Dean’s Review”. The student will then be required to meet with an advisor and may need to follow an Academic Enrollment Agreement which specifies conditions for their continued enrollment, or
  2. Decide the student needs a break in enrollment. This means the student will be academically disqualified from the quarter, allowing time to address the challenges keeping them from being successful.

What is "Academic Disqualification"?

Students are "academically disqualified" to protect them from harming their academic record and not being able to complete their degree. In almost every case, it is temporary. It is the goal of the College of Letters & Science to work with students so that they are ready to return to UCSB and graduate. Students should meet with a Letters and Science Advisor who can help create a plan to continue progress toward graduation.

Steps to Return and Graduate

If you have been academically disqualified and have not been enrolled at UCSB for at least a quarter, follow these steps:

  1. Speak to a Letters & Science Advisor to guide you through the steps to be reinstated.
  2. Complete a Readmission/Reinstatment form for the quarter you wish to return. This form is available in the “Forms” section of the Office of the Registrar’s website.
  3. Complete an Academic Self-Reflection and submit to
  4. Continue working with Letters & Science advising quarterly to ensure you are on track for Graduation!