Frequently Asked Questions


What is the college’s policy on attendance?

Students are expected to be present at regularly scheduled meetings of classes and laboratories. The privilege of being excused from class or making up work missed because of absence from the class is granted wholly at the discretion of the instructor. In many cases, faculty members do not take daily attendance and it is possible for a student to attend class sporadically in a way that doesn’t raise a “red flag” to the professor. Similarly, it should be noted that faculty will not necessarily be alarmed if a student in class gets C or D on their class work. Both are part of our college grading system and it is likely and quite normal for the instructor to award such grades to several students in every class. Not all “A” students in high school can be “A” students in college.


Can a student make changes to his/her schedule?

Before the first day of class, students can change their registration using the online registration system. It is recommended that students consult with their advisor before making any change in registration. Within the first five (5) school days of the semester, and the first two days of the May Term, courses may be dropped without any record on the transcript. This is referred to as the “drop period.” During these first few days as mentioned, students may also add open courses. If a course is closed, an ADD COURSE form which has the instructor’s signature of approval may be submitted to the Registrar’s Office during these first few days.

After the “drop period,” a student may elect to withdraw from a course but not later than the 14th school day following midterm, at which time the designation of “W” is placed on the transcript.


What should a student do if midterm grades are not great?

If a midterm grade is low, the student does have options. First, the student should visit with the instructor of the course to discuss the situation. Second, the student can visit the Hawley Academic Resource and Advising Center to inquire about tutoring options. Third, the student can consider withdrawing from the class if it appears the student cannot be successful in the course. Students should also take the step to visit with their academic advisor to discuss academic progress. If a student chooses to withdraw, the process must be completed before the stated last date of withdrawal. The student can visit the Registrar’s Office or Hawley Center to determine this date.


Can a student repeat a course to earn a better grade?

Yes, a student can repeat a course in order to make the attempt to earn a better grade. However, if students wish to improve their GPA at Simpson College, the course must be repeated at Simpson College and it must be taken on a letter-graded basis. Grades for each time a course is taken remain on the permanent academic record; however, credit will be given only once and only the last grade (for Simpson College coursework) will be computed into the grade point average. If a student retakes a course elsewhere and transfers it to Simpson College, the Simpson College GPA will not be affected because the grade of the course transferred in will not replace the grade of the course taken at Simpson College.


Can a student appeal a final grade given for a course?

Once the final grades have been delivered to the Registrar’s Office, they are considered final. The only basis for changing a grade is the demonstration of a clerical error on the part of the instructor in determining the grade. Any request for a grade change must be made in writing (or possibly electronically) in a note to the Registrar’s Office from the instructor.


Can a student file a petition to request an exemption from a policy of the college?

Yes, a student can file an Academic Petition form (located at the Registrar’s Office) to make a specific request for an exemption from an academic policy stated by the faculty of the college. The Academic Petition will be reviewed by the academic petitions subcommittee of the Educational Policies and Curriculum Committee. An academic petition must be submitted by the student making the request.


What happens if a student’s GPA falls below the requirement for academic progress?

To remain in good academic standing, a student must achieve the following cumulative grade point averages at the end of the respective year: Freshman 1.80; Sophomore 1.90; Junior 2.00; and Senior 2.00. If a student’s cumulative grade point average falls below the minimum expectations for good academic standing, that student will be placed on academic probation by the dean for academic affairs. Academic probation is a proving period during which a student’s continuance at Simpson College is in jeopardy.

If the student does not earn at least a 2.00 GPA in that first semester of probation, but shows improvement, the student may be granted a continuation of probation. If the student shows no improvement after their first semester of probation the student will likely be academically suspended.


What will happen if a student does not meet with his/her advisor or follow the advice provided?

Although students will be assigned an academic advisor and the college will do what it can to provide support to help them to succeed, we expect all Simpson students (even first-year students) to be engaged in their own education. The “safety net” we provide by assigning students an advisor, having Hawley Academic Resource and Advising Center, and being a caring and close-knit community is not foolproof. If students don’t ask for help, don’t return emails, don’t read campus mail sent to them or return phone calls, it is difficult for us to provide support. A student’s advisor will be providing what we believe to be good advice, but in most instances, the student will make and ultimately bear the responsibility for their decision.


Who do I contact about any of the academic policies or when I have questions on procedures?

Depending on the situation, the student has options as to who should be contacted. If it is a situation or question regarding a specific course (such as grades or performance), the student should first contact the instructor of the course. Second, the student can then reach out to his/her academic advisor for guidance on how to handle a situation or work through options.

A student can always contact Jody Ragan (Registrar’s Office) or Todd Little (Hawley Academic Resource and Advising Center) as well to discuss the policies, forms, or procedures. Various academic forms (such as COURSE ADD/DROP, ACADEMIC PETITIONS, DECLARATON OF MAJOR) can be found online through the Registrar’s Office website or by visiting the Registrar’s Office (Hillman Hall) or the Hawley Academic Resource and Advising Center (3rd Floor, Dunn Library).

In some cases, the student may wish to contact Steve Griffith, senior vice president and academic dean. However, we encourage students to first work with their instructors, academic advisors, and other staff members to seek answers to their questions.

Parents are always welcome to contact Jody Ragan or Todd Little to discuss a situation, concern, or ask questions; however, it is the student’s responsibility to take the appropriate steps when completing forms, asking for assistance, or seeking exemptions to academic policies. The most important element for success in college is student motivation and the support of family and friends. By having regular conversations about her or his academic performance, including reviewing their course work, mid-term and final grades with these individuals, students will have important partners with Simpson in the journey that is a college education.

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