Continue on Probation letter

What is a Continue on Probation Letter?

If you believe that you might not meet the requirements to clear Academic Probation by the end of your probationary term, you may submit a “Continue on Probation” (COP) letter to the Dismissal Review Committee to request consideration to be continued on academic probation for an additional semester. If you have not already done so, it may be helpful to review the following pages to understand the context of this letter: 

COP letters are not required, but allow you an opportunity to give some context to your academic record. 

A Continue On Probation (COP) letter should include

  • Why you were unable to clear probation, including any exceptional circumstances outside of your control

  • Any pertinent issues you have not previously shared with an L&S College Adviser

  • Any actions you have taken to address factors that have impacted your academics, including resources used

  • Steps you would take to clear Academic Probation if granted an additional semester to clear probation, including any planned changes to your academic plan (i.e. change of major, changing course loads, etc.)

  • Courses you plan to enroll in if continued on probation for an additional semester

  • If you have senior standing (90 or more units), attach a program plan signed by your Undergraduate Major Adviser (UMA) or the adviser of your intended major


Spring 2024 Continue on Probation letters are due May 31st, 2024.

If you are uncertain of your grades by this date, we recommend submitting your COP letter just in case. If you are Subject to Dismissal, your letter will be reviewed as part of the Dismissal Review process (see our Academic Probation page for more information). If you clear academic probation and return to good academic standing, your letter will not need to be reviewed.

How to Submit

The Spring 2024 COP Letter Google Form is now live. The letter can be submitted via this Google Form prior to or on the deadline.

COP Letter: Structure (SAMPLE)

Dear Dismissal Review Committee:

First, outline when you started to struggle academically at UC Berkeley and why. It is fine to give a brief overview, especially if this took place over a long period of time. This first part will explain why you first ended up on Academic Probation. 

Next, discuss what happened this past semester that led you to not clear academic probation. You may have done well academically, but not have reached the grades needed to fully raise your GPA to a 2.0. If that is the case, you can explain what you did differently this past semester and what you have learned from that that you will take into next semester. More commonly, you will have received grades in this past semester you are unhappy with. Discuss what challenges you faced this semester. What did you learn from your experience this semester? What would you have done differently? If your grades are mixed, discuss  the differences between the classes you did well in versus the classes you received low grades in. 

Lastly, the key part of your letter that many students forget: explain why next semester will be different if you are allowed to continue into another semester on Academic Probation. This may include changes to your academic plan, resources you plan to access, changes to the obstacles you have been experiencing, or whatever you feel is honest. Remember that if you are Continued on Probation (COP), your COP terms may hold you to plans you outline here, so make sure to include only plans you truly feel would help and are realistic  If you are very close to graduation, you will want to explain that here and will want to include an academic plan (this may be outlined in letter or attached). While your instinct may be to fill this section with hardships you will face if not allowed to continue, the review committee cannot take non-academic hardships into consideration. This section is best focused on a logical argument for how things can change next semester. 


Sample Student

COP Letter: Length

COP letters are limited to 3,000 characters. Keep in mind that the most important thing for the committee to understand is what challenges you have identified as obstacles and any changes that can be expected next semester, whether that is a change in the obstacle itself or a change in how you are approaching the obstacle.

COP Letter: Challenges and Resources

In addition to helping the review committee understand aspects of your experience that your academic record alone cannot communicate, the process of writing a COP letter might be the first time you have stopped to examine why you have struggled academically. Alternatively, you may know well why you are struggling, but be unsure of what resources are available to help you overcome your challenges. 

We recommend reviewing our Common Causes of Academic Difficulty and Connect with Academic Support pages to help you reflect on your experience so far and to identify options for moving forward. 

COP Letter: Chances

A common question students ask regarding COP letter is, “What are my chances?” or “How often do students get continued on probation?”

Each case is truly assessed individually. The chances of being dismissed are higher if your GPA is significantly below a 2.0, if your grades have been on a downward trend, or if you are struggling significantly in your major direction without plans to change. Your COP letter is a chance to add your voice to the decision and COP letters have changed the way a decision might have otherwise gone. 

It is important, though, to know that even if you follow all of the advice and tips on this page, it does not necessarily mean your chances of being continued on probation will be improved. This page is meant to provide insight on what kind of information is useful to present and to help you understand how to present it.

Remember that it is better to be honest and be dismissed than present something you think the committee will want to hear only to get trapped on a path you do not want to be on. For example, if you spent your first year struggling in your intended major direction and are not ready to give up trying to succeed in that major, you could use your terms away to work on your study skills for your intended major at a community college and show readiness to continue in that direction when you return. On the other hand, if your COP letter outlined a plan to change your major direction, you could be continued but restricted from a schedule that would allow you to pursue that major direction.

COP Letter: Taking a Break from Cal

Sometimes when students write a COP letter, they realize that the best option for their situation is to take a break from attending school or at least from attending school at UC Berkeley. We have found that timing is one of the most important factors in a student experiencing academic success. If that is your conclusion, it can still be worth putting that into your COP letter and submitting it anyway. If you are approved to continue on probation, this would mean you can take a break and return on probation. If you are dismissed, you would need to take extra steps before returning to Cal. Read more relevant information on the following pages: