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Academic Standing

Academic Review

You are expected to maintain at least a C average (2.00 grade point average or GPA) in your Smith career. Every student whose GPA for the semester or whose overall GPA is below 2.00 will be reviewed at the end of the semester by the Administrative Board.

The Administrative Board, known as the Ad Board, is a committee composed of:

  • the dean of the college
  • four class deans
  • the registrar
  • three faculty members, one from each academic division

The Ad Board reviews all requests for exceptions to academic regulations and reviews the academic records of all students with low grade point averages or credit shortages. The board evaluates your record to be sure that you are making adequate progress toward the degree. If your record shows continual unsatisfactory grades (C- and below) and/or credit shortages, the board may ask you to:

  • earn credit in summer school to make up for lost credit
  • work closely with support services, such as the Jacobson Center or the Spinelli Center for Quantitative Learning
  • meet biweekly with your class dean
  • withdraw from Smith to refocus as a student

Grades and Academic Standing

  • A through C- are satisfactory grades
  • D+, D, and D- are passing grades (you receive credit) but are considered unsatisfactory
  • E is a failing grade at Smith, we have no Fs
  • If you take a class with the S/U option, you must earn at least a C- to obtain credit. If you earn a grade below C-, your record will show a U and you will not get credit for the class.
  • If your GPA for a semester or overall is below 2.00, it is considered unsatisfactory, and you will be placed on academic probation.

Grade Point Average

Your GPA may be used to determine academic standing and eligibility for academic and co-curricular programs, as well as awards.

Letter grades are converted to the following numerical values:

Letter Grade

Numerical Value

A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- .7
E 0

Your GPA is calculated after every semester, both for the semester and cumulatively. The calculation includes only the courses you take for a letter grade (for S/U courses you only earn credit, they have no effect on your GPA).

The GPA is a weighted average, calculated by the value of the grade and the number of credits the course is worth.

What Grades Count Toward Your GPA

Only letter grades in courses taken at Smith; on the Five College interchange during the academic year; the Picker and Smithsonian programs in Washington, D.C.; and Smith programs in Florence, Geneva, Hamburg and Paris count toward your GPA.

An Example of How to Calculate Your GPA

You earn an A, a B+ and a B in three 4-credit courses, a B– in a 5-credit course and an A– in a 1-credit course. This is how you calculate your GPA:

4.0 x 4 16.0 for the A in the 4-credit course
3.3 x 4 13.2 for the B+ in the 4-credit course
3.0 x 4 12.0 for the B in the 4-credit course
2.7 x 5 13.5 for the B– in the 5-credit course
3.7 x 1 03.7 for the A– in the 1-credit course
58.4 (total quality points)
÷ 18 (total credits) =

3.244 GPA


Academic Probation

If your overall or semester GPA is below 2.00, the Administrative Board will place you on probation. Probation is a warning that you must focus on methods to improve your grades.

If you are placed on probation you may not:

  • enroll in courses through the Five College interchange
  • run for or hold an elected or selected office, either campus-wide or within your house
  • practice or compete in intercollegiate athletics or club sports

While you are on academic probation we ask you to meet regularly with your dean.

Probation is not made public or noted on the transcript, but the dean will inform your parents or guardians.


Petitions to the Administrative Board

Requests to the board are called petitions. The most common requests can be handled by filling out the:

Students do not appear before the Ad Board, but they may explain their request in writing and give it to their class dean.

If your situation appears to be beyond the reach of the petition form, consult with your adviser and your class dean to find a way to accomplish what you want to do. We will try our best to help.