When s#*t hits the fan: dealing with academic exclusion… Part 1

Hi Everyone!

Hope y’all doing well or at least better than me: winter has just started in South Africa…and let’s just say: the struggle is REAL for this Congolese girl…me and the cold DO NOT get along…lol!;-).  Today’s post is one really dear to my heart, as I have seen many African students (and their families) grapple with this….We all know a friend who is going /or went through this. I have always wanted to write something that will encourage those in this situation, and help them identify some steps/actions to overcome what might seem like the end of the world and the timing is just right. It is the end of the first semester in South African Universities: while enjoying the break, most students are also anxiously also waiting for their results; it is also the end of the academic year in Europe and the US as they follow a different calendar.I have decided to split this article in two parts: (i) in the first, I explore what is academic exclusion, and (ii) in the second, what to do if it happens.

What is academic exclusion? Basically, for each degree/programme: each course has a certain number of credits and there is a minimum number of credits required to carry on to the following year. Exclusion occurs when you find yourself short of credits compared to the minimum required i.e.. usually the equivalent of 2-3 courses per semester/throughout the year based on your performance during the year. However, it is important to know that failing a course does not automatically lead to exclusion so long as you have more than the minimum number of credits.

How do  you know whether facing exclusion or not? The process may be different per country, but as a student will be notified generally either via mail and/or post straight before/after the exam period.

Who decides whether you should be excluded or not? The final decision is taken over 2-3 stages by an established committee, which consists of a number of parties i.e. lecturers from your faculty, students representative council, students advisers,etc.

Failure quotes (13)


If you are in this situation, I would like to encourage you …however painful/shameful it may feel, it is NOT the end of the world and you can bounce back from this. Take a few days to ponder, cry, be angry, scream-do whatever you must, but come back  ready to fight.  In fact, the last thing you should do is give up on your plans to get a tertiary education/university degree.

Why not give up? Out of the four of my close friends who got excluded: all four now do have university degrees. Two are working and doing well in life, the third gave up full time employment to become an entrepreneur and the last is completing a masters degree. What they all show, is this resilience and ability to “make a plan” regardless of the challenges thanks to this dark period in their lives which build them up for their professional lives. You too can get there: I STRONGLY believe that! And in the second post, we will look at practical steps.


This is for now. I hope you found this information useful. I would love to hear from you: are you currently in this situation…do you know a friend going through that? Or are you a parent trying to support your child from far? Leave a comment down below and do look out for the follow-up  post (Part 2) on what practical steps to undertake.

Have wonderful week!





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