College can be tough and you may wish you can hit the rewind button and start all over again. Is this possible, though?
Here is what you should know about getting a fresh start:
Is It Possible for a Fresh Start in College?
In some cases, it may be possible for you to get a complete do-over with your college education but this will depend on your circumstances and the university that you are attending – in other instances you may reenroll but you may have to contend with previous academic failures.
What Does Starting Over in College Really Mean?
Everyone has their own idea of what starting over in college actually means.
Few people have an easy time at college. For many, the workload can be too great resulting in an academic struggle. For others, mental and physical issues can cause their grades to tank.
When people are ready to go back to college, they want to do so in different ways. Some want to pick up where they left off. Others want a clean slate. Is either of these things possible?
Well, to pick up where you left off, it really does depend on how well you did during your time in school. If your GPA was above 2.0 and you completed various credits as required, then you can transfer these when you re-enroll.
This means that you only have to complete what is left over.
If you did poorly, however, you may be required to start from scratch as none of the grades or credits can be transferred.
If you wish to pretend like your original GPA never existed, this may or may not be possible depending on the school that you are attending.
While some will erase your GPA for you, others will not. This means that when someone reviews your transcripts, they will be able to see your old and new grades.
What is the Fresh Start Policy?
The Fresh Start Policy is one given to students who previously attended a university and then dropped out before completing their program.
Upon re-enrollment, they can invoke this policy. In doing so, their previous GPA is wiped away. However, in most cases so is all the credit hours that you have previously earned.
You are allowed to enroll as a brand new student, with your GPA at the starting point. This number is only affected by the new courses you take and the new grades that you get.
The Fresh Start Policy does vary from one school to another. Also, it is not offered by all colleges. As such, you will need to check whether your university has this option available to you.
For this policy to go into effect, you have to officially have withdrawn from the school for a period of time. This required period is different for each college. For some it is as little as two years for others it can be three years or more.
This policy is only available to you once. After it has been enacted you can’t go back on the agreement.
You also have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for this policy. Your progress after the policy will be monitored closely. You have a few semesters to show academic progress or this policy may be revoked.
Are There Downsides to the Fresh Start Policy?
The main downside to the Fresh Start Policy is that any previous achievements will be wiped off your record.
This means that if you completed a significant portion of your program, it will be like these accomplishments never existed. You will need to start from scratch.
Not to mention, you will need to prepare to spend an additional four years completing your degree. This can be a rather intimidating concept, particularly since you will need to pay for the entirety of your new program too.
The exact rules of this policy are different for each school, however. In some cases, if you have received a grade higher than a D, this may be considered a credit.
You will only receive this as a general elective, though, regardless of the course. It will not be considered a prerequisite or an actual grade.
Can You Get Financial Aid for Your Fresh Start?
This will depend on how much time you have already spent in college. For the Pell Grant, there is a limit of 12 semesters.
If you have already completed this number of semesters or are close to it, then you will not receive as much financial support.
Despite this, you can still apply for new student loans. This is possible even if you already have existing student loans.
Nevertheless, you have to be making regular payments on previous student loans before you can be considered eligible for a new one. You will also bear the responsibility of paying off two loans at once.
What are the Alternatives to the Fresh Start Policy?
If you are still in school and are looking for a do-over, you may want to consider transferring to another school.
Now, your current GPA will still remain on record. Nevertheless, when you transfer to the new university, your GPA will be at the starting point. This gives you the opportunity to bring up your new GPA as high as possible.
You will have to wait until the end of the semester to transfer, though. The process can also be tricky which is why the transfer rate tends to be quite low across universities.
If you are finding university a little too difficult, then you may want to think about transferring to a community college. It is the more cost-effective option and the coursework may be easier to tackle.
Just be mindful that the highest accreditation that you can receive here is an associate’s degree.
Can You Get a New Start in College?
Depending on the school that you are in or the one that you are going to, you may be able to either reverse your grades or find a way to undo your previous GPA – in other instances, though, you may need to transfer to a new school.