Academic Progression at Northwestern University

You're bright; you're capable; you're disciplined. Otherwise, you never would have gotten into Northwestern University. Life has a funny way of sometimes intervening, though. You can be the model student, and a sustained illness or a bout of depression can sneak up on you and throw all your academic progress completely off track. You get behind on your reading in a class, and suddenly you're in danger of failing; you struggle to wrap your brain around a calculus concept, and your advisor starts talking about you taking a year off and enrolling at a junior college.

You've worked too hard to let a bad class or a bad quarter derail your progress. If someone has mentioned academic probation or dismissal to you, know that you have options. Northwestern may not tell you about them, but National Student Defense Attorney Joseph D. Lento will. He's dedicated his career to helping students navigate the often-confusing bureaucracy of university life. He knows exactly what you're up against, and he's on your side.

Academic Progression Requirements at Northwestern

If there was any justice in the world, all the hard work you put into getting into Northwestern would count for something now that you're a student. The school would take for granted that you care about your academic progress, and it would let you learn at your own pace without the stress of exams and grades.

Unfortunately, that's not how it works. Instead, your academic standing is evaluated at the end of each year. Should you stumble at any point, you can find yourself on academic probation or dismissed from Northwestern entirely.

Here is the school's list of reasons you can wind up on probation.

  • Receiving two or more grades below C during a given term
  • Failing to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 after your freshman year
  • Completing fewer than three courses in 2 consecutive quarters
  • Failing to average at least three courses per quarter after six quarters
  • Failing to maintain a 2.0 GPA in your majority

Probation can last for up to 2 quarters. You can return to “good” academic standing simply by remedying your deficiencies.

However, failure to return to good standing after two standings means you risk dismissal. In addition, you can be dismissed for

  • Failing half your courses in any given quarter
  • Flagrantly neglecting your coursework at any time
  • Failing to make satisfactory progress toward a degree

Dismissal usually lasts for at least a year. You can request readmission after this time if you can demonstrate that you have done something productive with your year away from Northwestern. Readmission is not a given, however, and requires an extensive application process.

Decision Processes

Most decisions about probation and dismissal are made automatically. That is, when you fail to meet the necessary standards for good standing, you can expect to be sanctioned. However, there does seem to be some flexibility in how rules are applied. For example, the policy notes,

“the probation period for a first-year student may be extended to the third quarter of residence if such extension appears to be in the best interests of the student and the University.”

In addition, there are other ways to address the threat of probation or dismissal. Faculty can and do make mistakes, and sometimes removing a deficiency is as simple as asking an instructor to re-calculate their numbers. In other situations, you may be able to convince an instructor to reevaluate your coursework or to issue you an Incomplete while you work on extra credit or makeup assignments.

Joseph D. Lento knows all the options available to you, and he knows which ones will work best in your given situation. He can also coach you in the art of negotiation or help you write an appeal if that's what is needed. And, if you should find yourself dismissed, he can help you put together your readmission packet.

SAP Standards

If you receive financial aid, there's another set of academic standards you should be aware of. The federal government requires all colleges and universities to maintain what is known as Satisfactory Academic Progress or SAP standards. In many cases, these may be similar to academic standing requirements, but they are specifically designed to prevent anyone from abusing the federal aid system.

Northwestern has three standards students must meet in order to retain financial aid eligibility.

  • GPA: You must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.
  • Completion Rate: You must successfully complete at least two-thirds of the courses you attempt.
  • Maximum Time Frame: You must complete your degree within 150 percent of the published length of your academic program.

As with issues of academic standing, there are remedies for losing financial aid. Perhaps the simplest of these is to meet standards, which will automatically restore your support. A successful appeal will restore your aid for an additional probationary term.

You can continue at Northwestern even if you've lost financial aid. However, many students find it difficult to finish college once they lose their financial support. Luckily, Joseph D. Lento and his team aren't just skilled at helping students handle standing requirements. They know how to deal with financial aid issues as well.

Premier Education Attorney-Advisor

Many students feel they are completely on their own once they enroll in college. If they find themselves in trouble—especially academic trouble—they just assume they have to handle it. They don't know how to go about fighting the system, so they wind up accepting probation, suspension, dismissal, or the loss of financial aid, even though they may have better options.

The fact is, there are many ways to deal with academic issues. A bad semester doesn't have to mean the end of your career at Northwestern. Joseph D. Lento has represented hundreds of students just like you in academic progress cases. He knows the processes, and he can offer suggestions for how to use them to your advantage. If you or your child is facing dismissal, or even if you have already been dismissed, you owe it to yourself to learn about what options might be available to you. To find out more, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686, or use our automated online form.