Facing Dismissal: A Comprehensive Guide

No one goes to college planning to get dismissed. Yet colleges and universities do dismiss students, sometimes on understandable grounds but other times entirely unfairly. Colleges and universities are human institutions, and humans, both college students and administrators, make mistakes. Administrators also sometimes act arbitrarily and capriciously when dismissing students.

The information here serves as a comprehensive guide for students facing dismissal from their college or university. Learn here what is at stake when facing dismissal, what can trigger a dismissal proceeding, what may happen in the course of that dismissal proceeding, and what you can do to prevent dismissal or reduce its impact. As you consider this information, don't let the high stakes and elaborate procedures of dismissal discourage you. Trustworthy and effective help is on the way when you retain national academic attorney Joseph D. Lento.

The High Stakes When Facing Dismissal

The first and overriding lesson is to treat potential dismissal most seriously. Dismissal isn't simply a matter of starting over with a clean slate, perhaps at another school. Instead, one dismissal from a college or university can, in the worst case, have career-long impacts. Dismissal is not a risk to court and countenance but instead to entirely avoid and, when unable, then to aggressively defeat. The stakes are too high to play around with dismissal.

Direct Educational Impacts. The first impact of a college or university dismissal is on the student's education. Obviously, dismissal interrupts the student's education. In fact, dismissal ends the student's education at that institution. Dismissal doesn't mean having to jump through hoops to continue one's education at the institution. Dismissal instead means that the institution is done entertaining the student's educational goals. Unless the student gains special relief in the form of the dismissal's reversal or the student's subsequent reinstatement (discussed below), dismissal bars the student from registering for courses and resuming progress toward the degree. The student has no further educational opportunity at the college or university that dismissed the student.

Secondary Educational Impacts. Dismissal, though, places another educational obstacle in front of the student beyond the end of the student's productive relationship with the dismissing institution. Dismissal from one school can discourage or defeat admission to another school.

Direct Financial Impacts. The second impact of a college or university dismissal is on the student's finances. Unless the student is able to transfer credits after gaining admission to another institution's degree program, the student loses the value of the credits for which the student paid and that the student earned. If, as is most often the case, the student borrowed to pay for those credits, the student still owes the lender for the loan. Dismissal does not remove the financial obligation. Indeed, a dismissal generally triggers student-loan repayment obligations, while starting the figurative clock on late charges and interest. Many students borrow money for college, anticipating that their degree will get them a job and boost their earnings enough to repay the loan. Dismissal means losing the job and increased earnings, while still owing on the loan. Student loans in dismissal situations can be heavy, long-term burdens.

Secondary Financial Impacts. Dismissal from a college or university can carry other financial costs beyond the loss of the credit value and the triggering of loan obligations. College and university students often rent higher-cost housing that is appropriate only for students. Dismissal may mean needing to move to new housing, incurring moving expenses, and the expenses of acquiring new housing, like apartment security deposits. Dismissal can also mean being trapped in a year-long lease for housing that is no longer needed or useful. A dismissed student could end up paying for an unused apartment or facing a judgment for unpaid rent. When evaluating whether to retain national academic attorney Joseph D. Lento to prevent dismissal, don't underestimate dismissal's financial cost.

Direct Vocational Impacts. The third impact of a college or university dismissal is on the student's vocation. Students generally go to college to earn a degree or other credential or skill that will get them a job. Dismissal eliminates the degree or other credential and, with it, eliminates the job. The knowledge and skills that a dismissed student acquires before dismissal may still help the student qualify for a job and career, if the job and career do not require the degree or other credential. But many of the higher-income professions that college and university students pursue do require the degree, not just some of the coursework toward it, accomplished before dismissal. Professions requiring licensure or certification, like medicine, nursing, law, engineering, accounting, and social work, require the degree, not just some of the coursework toward the degree. Dismissal closes the door to those fields. If you want to pursue one of these careers, then aggressively fight your dismissal by retaining national academic attorney Joseph Lento.

Secondary Vocational Impacts. Dismissal also has secondary vocational impacts. Some jobs and careers, like computer coding and business management, do not routinely require licensure or certification and thus may not require a degree. Dismissal would not necessarily directly impact entry into those fields. Dismissed? Go start a business. But preferred employers in those fields may still require the degree as a winnowing credential, to narrow the candidate field. A dismissed student may well end up working in the desired field but for a less-preferred employer. And once working, the dismissed student may find that the lack of a degree impedes the student's promotion with an employer and advancement in the field. Dismissal can have these soft vocational impacts, too. If you want to advance in your chosen career, then retain attorney Joseph Lento to fight your dismissal.

Direct Reputational Impact. But the impacts of a college or university dismissal do not stop with education and vocation. Dismissal also affects reputation. Depending on one's personality and interests, reputation can matter a lot, or it can matter a little. Reputation can affect how one feels about oneself, whether confident and outgoing, or shameful and withdrawn. Reputation can also affect how others feel about you, whether glad to befriend and relate, or reluctant to associate. Reputation can also affect educational and job opportunities. A dismissed student may wonder why the student cannot get a reference or recommendation letter for a job or a call back for a job interview. Don't underestimate the reputational impact of a college or university dismissal.

Secondary Reputational Impact. Unfortunately, the suspect reputation that can come with a college or university dismissal, depending on the dismissal grounds, can also have subtler and longer-term impacts. Success and satisfaction in life isn't all about education, job, and career. Other things, like charitable service, club or association membership, political involvement, publication opportunities, and teaching careers, can add significantly to one's life. Reputation, including from a college or university dismissal, can adversely impact the networks on which those opportunities often depend. Dismissal can even impact close relationships with family and friends. Treat the risk of dismissal gravely. Retain the expert representation of national academic attorney Joseph Lento.

What May Happen to Trigger Dismissal Proceedings

To fully appreciate what a college or university dismissal may entail, you need to know how and why institutions go about dismissing students. Colleges and universities generally try to retain students…until they don't. Student retention increases the institution's income, rating, and reputation, while helping more students achieve their educational goals. Yet colleges and universities often come to the point of wanting a student to leave rather than stay. And when the institution decides to end the student's education, it generally has the procedures, personnel, and other means to do so, whether it has the grounds or not. Consider here those grounds that colleges and universities use to justify, or attempt to justify, dismissal, before considering dismissal procedures.

Dismissal Grounds--Academic Progress. Consider first the common grounds on which colleges and universities seek a student's dismissal. Those grounds begin with academics. Federal regulations require colleges and universities to set standards for satisfactory academic progress, to qualify students for federal financial aid. The federal government does not want to waste student loans on students who are not going to graduate. Nor does the government want to burden students with loans that they cannot repay because they will not graduate. An institution's policy on satisfactory academic progress ensures that the institution continues to register for coursework only those students who have reasonable prospects to graduate.

Although they vary, academic progress policies tend to require students to (1) maintain a minimum grade-point average and (2) graduate within a certain amount of time or percentage of attempted credits. The University of Texas, for instance, requires undergraduate students to maintain a 2.00 grade-point average while successfully completing 75% of attempted credits and no more than 134% of the credits their degree requires. The university dismisses students whose grade point falls and remains below the 2.00 minimum or whose frequent failures, incompletes, withdrawals, and changes of major exhaust the attempted-credits limit before graduation.

While these numeric requirements seem straightforward, in fact, erroneous and unfair academic progress dismissals can and do occur. Institutions make mistakes in course grades and academic records, and when applying their academic progress policies. They also unfairly fail or refuse to apply their policies for special relief from strict compliance with satisfactory academic progress, when students show compelling grounds in their illness or injury, the death of a family member, or other special circumstances. And in the worst case, a professor or administrator may deliberately manipulate the academic progress policy to retaliate or otherwise unfairly harm a student. Read below how national academic attorney Joseph Lento helps students employ the institution's protective procedures to correct unjust academic progress dismissals.

Dismissal Grounds--Academic Misconduct. While some students just do not make the grades within the time and attempts for the institution to permit their continued progress, other students who may be fully capable of making the grades may nonetheless commit some form of academic misconduct warranting sanction up to dismissal. College and university policies on academic integrity differ, but Florida State University’s policy summarized here represents a common list of academic violations:

  • plagiarism, defined as representing another's work as one's own;
  • multiple submissions of the same work for credit without disclosure;
  • cheating, defined as improper use of unauthorized material;
  • unauthorized collaboration with others;
  • fabrication, falsification, or misrepresentation of assessed work;
  • damaging, destroying, stealing, or concealing academic material; and
  • attempting to commit the above or facilitating another's wrong.

Once again, these academic-misconduct policies may seem reasonable and fairly straightforward. Colleges and universities have good reasons to prohibit academic misconduct. Academic misconduct can not only reflect poor choices and bad character, worthy of sanction and discouragement, but can also unfairly affect innocent students who play by the rules and can tarnish the institution's reputation. Yet professors and students can make mistakes in identifying misconduct or the student responsible for it, and in the worst case, can deliberately manufacture and manipulate academic-misconduct charges. And colleges and universities can make serious mistakes in applying their academic integrity policies. Once again, national academic attorney Joseph Lento helps students invoke the institution's protective procedures, described below, to correct these unjust academic progress dismissals.

Dismissal Grounds--Behavioral. Academic progress and academic misconduct, though, are not the only grounds on which colleges and universities dismiss or threaten to dismiss students. A college or university is not a babysitter, nor exactly a parent. Colleges and universities can have relatively lax standards for personal behavior, as every college student knows. Party schools often get that reputation deservedly. Yet to accomplish their educational missions, colleges and universities, like any other community, must ensure minimum behavioral norms protecting the health, safety, welfare, and property of students, faculty, and staff. Behavior codes set those minimum standards, punishing violations with sanctions up to dismissal. While college and university behavior codes vary some, the University of Nevada Las Vegas student conduct code summarized here represents a common list of behavior violations subject to punishment up to dismissal:

  • unreasonably interfering with classrooms or university functions;
  • violence and threats of violence against others;
  • hazing and bullying in connection with group membership;
  • harassment interfering with the educational program;
  • Title IX or other sexual harassment or sexual misconduct;
  • alcohol abuse or unauthorized possession, sale, or use;
  • using, possessing, or distributing illegal narcotics;
  • disobeying reasonable directions of university officials or their designees;
  • violating safety regulations, especially as to fire and other emergencies;
  • unauthorized possession of firearms or explosive devices;
  • providing false information to a university official performing duties;
  • unauthorized use or abuse of computer systems;
  • theft or unauthorized use of university or personal property;
  • destroying, vandalizing, or misusing personal or public property;
  • trespassing into, forcefully entering, or occupying university premises;
  • obstructing the student code's application or enforcement;
  • violations of city, state, or federal law.

Like the application of an institution's academic progress or academic integrity policies, application of student conduct codes can, in many cases be straightforward. Colleges and universities should not let students run wild, especially when doing so endangers or harms others. Yet as in the case of academic policies, institutions can make mistakes when applying student conduct codes. Complaining witnesses, including students, faculty, and staff, can also, in the worst cases, manufacture or exaggerate charges, putting innocent students at risk of dismissal. National academic attorney Joseph Lento has successfully represented hundreds of students nationwide in defeating false, exaggerated, and unfair misconduct charges, by invoking the following procedures.

What You Can Do When Facing Dismissal

Just because a college or university threatens to dismiss a student doesn't mean that the student has no recourse. When an institution of higher education threatens a student with dismissal, the student may feel like the diminutive David next to the institutional Goliath. After all, colleges and universities have enormous budgets and elaborate systems operated by highly educated, skilled, and secure personnel. Students, on the other hand, may have few skills, fewer resources, and insignificant institutional knowledge. To the student facing dismissal, the playing field never feels level.

Adopting the Right Attitude. Yet students have many affirmative steps that they can take to defeat dismissal, save and secure their continuing enrollment, and achieve their educational and vocational goals. What students facing dismissal must not do is allow the institution to wield its size and sophistication to the student's unfair disadvantage. Don't let your school intimidate you into submission and run roughshod over your rights, destroying your hard-earned investment in your education. Instead, stand up for yourself in the way that your college or university is supposed to educate and equip you. Keep a positive, can-do, winner's attitude, the kind of approach that got you into your college or university in the first place.

Securing Representation. The biggest, simplest, and surest step a student facing dismissal can take to level the playing field is to get the expert representation of national academic attorney Joseph D. Lento. A fighter doesn't enter a prizefight without a skilled trainer. A tennis star doesn't enter a premier match without a skilled coach. A film star doesn't act without a star director. Even a surgeon doesn't operate on the surgeon's own self. The high stakes of many situations demand that a combatant not enter the fray alone but instead take along the best mentor, advocate, supporter, trainer, or coach. A dismissal proceeding is one of those high-stakes situations when a student risks foolishness to go it alone. Instead, retain the skilled representation of national academic attorney Joseph Lento.

Academic Progress Considerations. When the grounds for a potential dismissal involve satisfactory academic progress, a student has some immediate actions the student may be able to take to change course toward good progress. Colleges and universities often have academic alerts, warnings, and probation before dismissal. The schools design those steps to notify the at-risk student early, so that dismissal does not sneak up on the student. Students usually see potential dismissal coming from a reasonably long way away, when they still have a good opportunity to correct course. Act when approaching probation, not later when probation ends with dismissal. Take these prompt self-help actions to correct your course away from dismissal and toward graduation:

  • meet academic-support personnel for resources and strategies;
  • meet with teaching assistants to complete assignments;
  • meet with professors to confirm and complete course requirements;
  • use retake and rewrite opportunities to improve performance;
  • earn extra credit to improve scores and grades; and
  • meet department chairs for help with grade or sanction appeal.

Academic Misconduct Considerations. When instead the grounds for a potential dismissal involve allegations of academic misconduct, rather than issues with academic progress, the allegations tend to arise suddenly, without anything in the interim that the student can do to delay, discourage, or prevent them. The student either has or has not committed plagiarism, cheating, or another academic offense. Professors and proctors tend not to give students a chance to somehow undo the alleged violation. Professors in some colleges and universities have some authority to make their own informal findings and impose their own informal sanction, resolving the matter. The University of California Santa Cruz is an example of such an instructor-focused academic integrity policy. In those cases, the student has an opportunity to advocate informally that the student committed no violation or to present mitigating circumstances. Attorney Lento assists students in those instances. But in other cases, the institution will manage academic misconduct in proceedings like those described below.

Behavioral Misconduct Considerations. Behavioral misconduct is even more often the sole province of administrative boards and councils like those described below, rather than something that a professor can resolve individually and informally with a student. If the allegations involve Title IX misconduct, then the college or university will surely have well-defined administrative procedures involving a Title IX officer and hearing board. In those cases, the student's opportunity for early self-help to avoid any dismissal proceeding at all are much more limited. The student facing behavioral dismissal is far more likely to have to navigate the school's policy-defined informal or formal procedures. Students best navigate those procedures with the representation of expert academic attorney Joseph Lento.

Dismissal Procedures. Colleges and universities establish procedures to manage dismissal proceedings. Those procedures are necessary to the institution's regular and efficient operation. Bureaucracy, including that of an educational institution, depends on following routines. Your institution will have its own routine for managing a dismissal proceeding. The policies and rules setting forth those procedures can be extremely important to the favorable outcome of any dismissal proceeding you may face. And that's precisely the skill of an experienced trial lawyer like national academic attorney Joseph Lento: to know how to strategically lever the procedures into the best possible outcome.

Procedural Rights. Yet dismissal procedures aren't just for the institution's convenience. If the college or university is public rather than private, then Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights guarantee a student facing dismissal with due process. Even if the college or university is private, Title IX federal funding regulations may require the institution to offer fair procedures, or the institution may owe the student contractual guarantees of fair procedures. An institution might find it convenient to railroad a student through an aborted proceeding that ensures the student's swift dismissal. But constitutional, regulatory, and contractual rights ensure instead that the student knows of the charges and has a reasonable opportunity to disprove those charges in a fair proceeding. The student must only stand up for those procedural rights rather than waive and forgo them. Standing on guaranteed procedures to protect the student's rights and interests is exactly the skill and strategic lever that national academic attorney Joseph Lento deploys to help students avoid dismissal.

Informal Procedures. Colleges and universities commonly have both informal and formal procedures for handling potential student dismissals. The University of South Carolina’s procedures for resolving disputes over student conduct and academic integrity provide an example. The university's informal procedure involves an administrative conference between the student and a conduct administrator. The student may bring an attorney to advise, but not to speak for, the student. The conduct administrator shares with the student any incident report and other documentation related to the misconduct allegations. The conduct administrator then makes findings with proposed sanctions that the student may accept or reject. Students who reject proposed findings and sanctions proceed to formal procedures.

Informal Procedure Advocacy. While informal procedures typically restrict an attorney's direct role, students can nonetheless benefit greatly in an informal procedure from attorney Joseph Lento's representation. Attorney Lento can first help the student identify, gather, and organize the information and documentation that the student presents at the informal conference. The student's defense presentation should be key to the administrator's findings. A compelling, attorney-prepared presentation can make the outcome's difference. Here is a longer list of the assistance that attorney Lento can provide in informal proceedings:

  • communicate with the conduct administrator confirming the conference;
  • research and analyze the school's policies and codes;
  • confirm the specific provisions the school alleges the student violated;
  • examine and critique the school's evidence of the alleged violation;
  • identify, gather, and organize the student's exonerating evidence;
  • identify, gather, and organize the student's mitigating evidence;
  • advise the student at the conference as to how best to proceed;
  • evaluate proposed or actual findings and proposed sanctions;
  • negotiate, confirm, and document terms of agreed-upon resolutions.

Formal Procedures. When informal proceedings do not resolve the dismissal proceeding in the accused student's favor, colleges and universities will generally offer, and in Title IX proceedings involving alleged sexual misconduct must offer, formal procedures. Again, the University of South Carolina provides a common example of formal procedures, which vary some from school to school. The accused student may request a formal hearing on both the allegations and sanctions or only on the sanctions. Formal hearing takes place before a Judicial Council. The accused student may bring an attorney to advise, not to speak for, the student. Other features of the formal procedure include:

  • the school shares the incident report in advance of the hearing;
  • the accused student may submit documentation in advance of the hearing;
  • the accused student may call witnesses at the hearing;
  • witnesses unable to attend may submit written statements in advance;
  • the council meets privately to deliberate on a decision;
  • the school conveys the council's decision in writing; and
  • the decision is final except for procedural irregularities or new evidence;

Formal Procedure Advocacy. Students facing dismissal can benefit greatly throughout the course of formal procedures, from attorney Joseph Lento's representation. Formal procedures have the character, if not the full protections, of trial procedures, when attorney Lento is a skilled and experienced trial advocate. Formal procedures can easily intimidate students who lack litigation experience. Public speaking can frighten anyone, and the fright compounds when the forum involves one's own academic future, making all the more important having attorney Lento in your corner. Attorney Lento can provide these formal procedure services, in addition to those services already described above for informal procedures:

  • communicate with the judicial council regarding the hearing schedule;
  • confirm with the judicial council its specific hearing procedures;
  • help the student organize and prepare the student's own testimony;
  • help the student identify and prepare the student's own witnesses;
  • draft lines of relevant inquiry for the student's own witnesses;
  • draft cross-examination questions for the school's witnesses;
  • coach and advise the student on hearing dress, conduct, and procedures;
  • evaluate the judicial council's findings and any sanctions;
  • appeal adverse findings where school procedures permit appeals;
  • evaluate alternative relief through an ombudsman or general counsel; and
  • negotiate, confirm, and document details of any compromise resolution.

Title IX Proceedings. Title IX is the federal law under which colleges and universities must treat allegations of certain forms of sexual misconduct including sexual assault and harassment. Institutions that do not follow Title IX and its regulations risk losing their federal funding. Colleges and universities thus treat their Title IX obligations especially seriously. Students whom an institution accuses of Title IX misconduct like sexual assault may not necessarily face criminal charges. Prosecutors may judge the allegations too difficult to prove in court beyond a reasonable doubt, as the Constitution requires. But the college or university will pursue Title IX misconduct charges nevertheless, to carry out its Title IX mandate and preserve its federal funding. Colleges and universities need not prove Title IX sexual misconduct beyond a reasonable doubt but instead only by a preponderance of the evidence (slightly more than 50%) unless they accept a higher clear and convincing evidence standard, which few schools do.

Title IX Protections. Fortunately, current Title IX regulations offer an accused student greater protections than institutions usually offer for allegations of non-Title IX misconduct. While the accused student's defense challenge may be naturally greater in a Title IX proceeding, the accused student will also have greater procedural rights. The key protections include that:

  • witnesses must attend and testify at the hearing;
  • the decision-maker cannot consider statements of witnesses not testifying;
  • the school must permit the student's attorney to examine witnesses; and
  • the school must permit the student's attorney to cross-examine witnesses.

Title IX Advocacy. Students facing Title IX sexual-misconduct charges especially need the representation of a skilled trial lawyer with substantial academic knowledge and experience. They need national academic attorney Joseph Lento. Attorney Lento's advocacy can carry its greatest weight in a Title IX proceeding not just because of the seriousness of sexual assault and other sexual misconduct but also because of the special Title IX protections. Because they require witness attendance and permit attorney cross-examination, Title IX hearings are more like court trials than other college and university dismissal proceedings. Cross-examination, in particular, is a trial lawyer's unusual skill. Cross-examination is also a special engine of discovering the truth, as skilled cross-examination can uncover, indeed demolish, lies, mistakes, and inconsistencies. What can you do about false, exaggerated, or unfair Title IX charges? Retain attorney Joseph Lento to represent you.

Appeals. One other common procedure that colleges and universities may offer a student facing dismissal is an appeal from an adverse finding and dismissal sanction. The University of Tennessee is one example, providing appeals from academic dismissals and from behavioral dismissals under either the student conduct code or Title IX. As the university's procedures for appeal indicate, appeals require skill in identifying and documenting the appeal grounds, and preparing a compelling appeal presentation in the form of a written legal brief. National academic attorney Joseph Lento has exactly those skills in legal analysis and appellate argument. College and university judicial boards and councils deciding on student dismissal tend to do so with at least some thought and articulation. Discerning the grounds to reverse those considered decisions takes substantial skill of the type typically possessed only by an experienced trial lawyer like Joseph Lento.

Reinstatement. If all else fails, a dismissed student may have an opportunity for reinstatement. Reinstatement typically acts as a reversal of the student's dismissal, meaning that the student begins the degree program where the student left the program. In the case of reinstatement, the institution preserves the credits that the student earned before dismissal, counting those credits toward the student's renewed effort to earn the degree. The dismissal and reinstatement remain on the student's record, which is not ideal. But the student proceeds toward the degree without having to start over at zero credits. Colleges and universities offer varying opportunities and procedures for reinstatement. Indiana University provides one typical example, requiring that the student petition a Reinstatement Committee in writing that includes a reinstatement essay and grounds for reinstatement meeting the Committee's criteria. Once again, national academic attorney Joseph Lento has the counseling skills to help students prepare for reinstatement and the advocacy skills to prepare and present a compelling case for reinstatement.

Restart. Restart after dismissal is a less-attractive alternative than reinstatement. While reinstatement means starting where the dismissed student left the degree program, restart means starting over as if newly admitted. The disadvantage of restart is exactly that: losing the prior credits earned. The advantage of restart, though, can be gaining and building a fresh record. If, for instance, the dismissal was due to unsatisfactory academic progress, such as a below-minimum grade-point average, the reinstated student still faces improving that average. By contrast, the restart student begins with a clean slate. The restart student doesn't have to drag up a low grade-point average or rush to complete credits timely to avoid a second dismissal for lack of satisfactory progress. Attorney Lento also assists students with restart petitions, such as that required at Indiana University, including a personal statement and success plan.

Reducing Dismissal's Impact

Sometimes, a college or university simply must dismiss a student. Yet even when dismissal is a forgone, just, and appropriate conclusion, students have some things that they may be able to do, especially with attorney Lento's skilled representation, that will soften the dismissal's impact. Don't just throw in the towel and walk away, leaving yourself in a deeper hole than necessary. Colleges and universities are educational institutions. They do hire administrators who have hearts and souls, although a dismissal proceeding may not make it seem so. Appropriate advocacy with college or university officials, from national academic attorney Joseph Lento, can help a dismissed lay the groundwork for accomplishing educational and career goals. Consider how attorney Lento can help reduce the impact of academic progress dismissal, academic misconduct dismissal, and behavioral misconduct dismissal.

Academic Progress Dismissal. In some instances, a student's academic progress is, in fact, so checkered, and further progress is so uncertain, that the student is truly better off discontinuing rather than persevering in the degree program. When for instance, a student's grades leave zero chance of restoring a grade-point average to the minimum for graduation in good standing, the student should not continue. Similarly, a student may be wise to accept dismissal when having only a tiny chance of restoring a grade point to a minimum, only with extraordinarily high grades that the student has never before earned, and only by sacrificing mental or physical health or other higher priorities. Sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor.

In those cases where academic progress dismissal is best for all concerned, the student who still desires to pursue the degree program and career should be planning already for restart at the dismissal school or matriculation at another school. That's when attorney Lento can communicate and negotiate with dismissal officials for the best terms for restart. Those terms may include that the student gains the advice, counsel, and support of key faculty members, academic-support professionals, and administrators for restart. Lay the groundwork for restart, including by gaining early commitments to references and recommendation letters, even before suffering the final dismissal. Let attorney Lento help you learn what the institution requires for restart so that you can begin preparations to do so. Students do restart and succeed in all their educational and career goals. The students who do so, though, tend to be the ones who are already planning and preparing for restart before their final dismissal.

Academic Misconduct Dismissal. In other cases, the student may be responsible, just as the institution charges, for serious academic misconduct that the institution cannot legitimately overlook. The student may have no defense and may instead be fully ready to accept due responsibility for the academic misconduct. Dismissal may be the institution's only reasonable choice, and the student may know and accept so. In such cases, the student still has much to gain by following through on the dismissal procedure with the representation of expert academic attorney Joseph Lento. Academic officials, like other sensible persons, appreciate and respect when students accept responsibility for their own conduct or misconduct. Simply ignoring a dismissal proceeding, letting it happen, does not necessarily appropriately accept responsibility. Instead, ignoring a proceeding, even one sure to end in dismissal, can look like further careless or unprofessional conduct.

In those cases where academic misconduct dismissal is just, sure, and appropriate, the dismissed student's admission and accepting responsibility can gain much toward rehabilitating the student's record and reputation. Academic attorney Joseph Lento knows how to help students accept appropriate responsibility, not for misconduct that they didn't do but for things for which they have explanatory (if not excusing) reasons, under mitigating circumstances. Not all admissions are alike. Admitting misconduct doesn't have to mean admitting bad motive or bad character, when instead, the student's circumstances may indicate better motive and character. Attorney Lento knows how to communicate and frame those contexts, while helping the institution document the dismissal fairly in the best light to the dismissed student.

What are those actions worth, though, if the student still suffers academic misconduct dismissal? Documenting explanatory reasons and mitigating circumstances for dismissal, in the process endorsing or rehabilitating the student's better motive and character, can mean all the difference to a restart at the dismissal school or successful transfer to another school. Keep in mind that college and university admission committees look closely at the records of dismissed students who are applying for admission or transfer. They often order the student's dismissal record or summary to ensure that they have a sound perspective on the student's conduct and character. Again, that's where attorney Lento's representation can make the critical difference in setting up that dismissal record for successful future admission or transfer. Don't give up on yourself, especially when others already have. Retain attorney Joseph Lento to help you prepare to resume your successful pursuit of educational and career goals. The world loves an overcomer.

Behavioral Misconduct Dismissal. In other cases, the student may be responsible as the institution charges for such serious behavioral misconduct, rather than academic progress issues or academic misconduct, that dismissal is sure. Once again, students often can, with expert academic attorney Joseph Lento's representation, take clear steps to minimize the impact of dismissal, even on behavioral grounds. Think for a moment of the dismissal behaviors. While some dismissal behaviors, like a violent assault crime, implicate incorrigible character, many other dismissal behaviors, like alcohol or drug abuse, trespassing, or disorderly conduct, suggest reformable habits. Others appreciate that college or university is where some students go to grow up. Growing-up misbehaviors can be the easiest to explain and mitigate.

The key, though, to making the best of a behavioral dismissal is one again to participate in the dismissal proceeding with attorney Joseph Lento's skilled representation. Attorney Lento can help show the dismissal officials that the dismissed student not only accepts the inappropriateness of the student's behavior but is already taking steps to reform it. Those steps may be counseling sessions, addiction treatment, or other therapies and measures that the student knows the student needs to take. Well, then get those steps started and on the dismissal record, with attorney Lento's help.

As in the case of an academic progress dismissal or academic misconduct dismissal, getting positive, reform information on a behavioral dismissal record can reopen doors to readmission to the dismissal school or admission or even transfer to another school. A student's future is worth far more than simply the ability to complete a current educational program. Students frequently start and stop and restart educational programs, and change programs, for reasons having nothing to do with dismissal. If you simply cannot avoid dismissal, then keep your future options open, including the opportunity to pursue your educational goals despite your dismissal.

Retain a Premier Academic Attorney's Representation

This guide confirms that a student facing dismissal has a ton at stake. That student must also adeptly navigate complex dismissal procedures. Those two considerations--tons at stake in complex proceedings--warrant retaining skilled representation. Getting the best available academic attorney is the overriding opportunity a student has to vastly increase the probability of a favorable outcome avoiding dismissal.

If you face, or someone you know faces, a dismissal proceeding, then don't try to manage the dismissal risk without the expert help you need. Instead, promptly retain national academic attorney Joseph D. Lento who has helped thousands of students preserve their education, reputation, and career. Before it's too late, entrust national academic attorney Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm with your dismissal proceeding. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation, or use the online service.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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