From Failing Grades to a Master’s Degree, How Kent State Helped a Student Get Back on Track

When Kellie Miley graduated from Rootstown High School in 2008, she is the first to admit she was not ready for college. In high school, she barely cracked a book yet managed a 3.2 grade point average (GPA).

Getting by with little effort changed when she started as a freshman at Kent State University. By the end of the year, Ms. Miley found herself academically dismissed for poor grades.

“I wasn’t ready for college,” she recalls. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was, kind of, just there. I didn’t know how to study. I didn’t have to in high school.” 

Three years later, with her desire for a bachelor’s degree still strong and looking for a fresh start, she reapplied to Kent State. And she found the Academic Success Center in Kent State’s University College. 

As a condition of her return, the university required her to attend Supplemental Instruction, an international program that provides free study sessions for students taking historically difficult courses. Each class is led by students who have already successfully taken the courses.

Ms. Miley met with her leader every week, attended group study sessions and ultimately developed strong study habits and time management skills that helped her balance a full-time class load with a full-time job and activities on campus. During her first semester back, she earned a 4.0 GPA.

“I really came back after being academically dismissed,” she says.

Ms. Miley was so thankful for the help she received through the Supplemental Instruction program, she became a leader to help other students overcome the obstacles she once faced.

“If I could do it over again, I would take the Kent Core classes that everybody has to take more seriously,” Ms. Miley says. “I would have taken more science classes,” she adds, noting how she believes they would have helped her to decipher the right major sooner so that her freshman year would not have been wasted.

Ms. Miley eventually graduated from Kent State with her bachelor’s degree in 2016 and a master’s degree in 2018 – both in nutrition. She also was selected for the Master of Science/Dietetics Internship Program that only accepts 10 elite students. As part of the internship, she worked in a variety of dietician settings, including a hospital, food service and the community.

She is pursuing a career in community dietician work, perhaps working with young people to help them adopt a healthy lifestyle, in particular, learning how to have a healthy relationship with food.

“When I was in middle school, I went to a dietician to lose weight, and the ideas she gave me were really motivating and always kind of stuck with me,” she says. “I thought, ‘I think I should go for that,’ and I was right. Plus, who doesn’t love food?”

Ms. Miley‘s academic career may have gotten off to a rough start a decade ago, but her perseverance and help from Kent State’s Academic Success Center gave her a second chance. As a result, she now has endless opportunities to use her education to help improve the quality of life for others.

For more information about Kent State’s Academic Success Center, visit

POSTED: Thursday, November 1, 2018 11:58 AM
UPDATED: Sunday, March 03, 2024 08:08 AM
Lisa Abraham