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Undesignated Transitional Students

I’m an “Undesignated Transitional” student…what does that mean?

A student who does not meet departmental retention standards may be dismissed from his or her major. Students who do not meet the criteria for college dismissal are then moved into an “Undesignated Transitional” status and will work closely with the Center for Student Success (CSS) until they have met the entrance requirements and have been successfully admitted into a new program.

There are cases where students are able to reapply to their previous program by retaking foundation courses. Interested students should have this conversation with the Chair or Assistant Dean immediately after the departmental dismissal to understand whether this is a viable option. Some departments DO NOT allow for readmission. Throughout this process, students will continue to work with their CSS advisor.

As students may not graduate under the “transitional” designation, it’s critical to take steps toward exploring new programs immediately and seek guidance from BOTH the Center for Student Success and any prospective programs.


Please be advised that TCNJ majors are competitive and completing foundation/entrance courses does not guarantee admission. Therefore, it’s important to develop a “parallel plan” (or alternate plan) with your CSS advisor. By exploring more than one program with an advisor, students are able to envision several paths to achieve their goals.


Depending on your length of time as a transitional student, you might fall into one of the following categories. Please review the accompanying suggestions:

If you’ve just received your departmental dismissal notification, please immediately connect with the Center for Student Success to better understand the role they will play as you look to transition to a new program. Schedule an appointment with a CSS advisor, and make sure you have clearly read and understand your dismissal letter.

If you’re seeking re-entrance into your previous program, speak with the Chair or Assistant Dean about the re-application process. Department dismissal letters often indicate whether re-entry is permitted, and if so, you’ll want to have a clear sense of what this process will entail. You’ll also want to discuss with the department and your CSS advisor whether this route makes sense based on your strengths, goals, and possible extended timeline toward graduation.

If you’ve recently completed the foundation course(s) required to apply to your major, please make sure you understand the guidelines and timeline for the application process. Many “Change of Major” windows take place early in the semester, so if you’re not sure, ASK. You can typically find the guidelines on the department’s website, or you may contact the department chair. CSS is also available to help navigate this process.

If you still need to complete foundation courses, are you taking the necessary courses in the upcoming semester(s) and/or there a plan in place? If you need help with your schedule, CSS staff are available to assist as much as possible, but please be aware that CSS cannot place students into full/restricted courses. This is the academic department’s decision only, and many departments will not lift pre-requisites.

If you’re not sure what major interests you, are you taking steps to point you in a direction? In addition to working with your CSS advisor, here are some suggestions:

-A counselor in the Career Center can help you explore your interests, values and skills through various assessments. The Career Center website also has information about what students can do with particular majors. http://career.tcnj.edu/

-Explore departmental websites and reach out to the chairperson of areas you might like to explore.

-Take an introductory course (or two) that may help you narrow down your search.


Meeting with the Center for Student Success

The Center for Student Success places advising holds on PAWS for all Undesignated Transitional students. While you’ll be required to meet for an advising appointment as the next semester’s registration window draws closer, you’re encouraged to come into the Center for Student Success as often (and as soon) as you’d like to map out your semester. Frequent “check-ins” can help students work toward a successful semester. Some students benefit from weekly meetings, while others find coming in for a few appointments helps them stay on track.

In addition to Academic Advising, the Center for Student Success provides Academic Coaching in areas such as time management and a host of other study skills. Focusing on an individual’s unique study strengths and challenges can aid in a student’s successful transition to a new program.

To make an appointment with CSS, you may email css@tcnj.edu or stop into the main office, Roscoe West Room 131.

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