Students travel from around the country to attend Northwestern, the University of Chicago, and other renowned medical programs in Illinois. Many students also grow up in Illinois, receive their medical degree from an in-state program, and go on to care for patients in their home state.
Illinois' in-state and out-of-state medical students face common challenges. In order to graduate from medical school in Illinois, you must excel academically. Just as importantly, you must steer clear of behavioral infractions and even mere allegations of misconduct. Medical school's multi-faceted demands make graduation something of a tightrope walk.
Academic hardship or allegations of misconduct don't have to end your pursuit of a medical degree—but they can. If you're facing academic probation, remediation, or a misconduct allegation, then your status as a medical student could be in jeopardy. An Illinois medical student defense advisor will provide much-needed guidance.
Academic and Professionalism Standards for Illinois Medical Students
Medical school is meant to prepare you for a career in medicine. Just as doctors work within standards of acceptable conduct, medical students face clear academic and behavioral expectations.
Medical programs typically present a mission statement that encapsulates those expectations. Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine requires all students to honor the following statement:
“As members of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine community, we are entrusted with the care of human life. With this great privilege, we have an obligation to uphold the ideals and values of the medical profession.”
These sorts of statements set the tone for a medical program's behavioral guidelines. Such guidelines may:
- Compel you to meet certain academic standards (or face probation, suspension, and eventually expulsion)
- Prohibit “unprofessional” behavior in classroom, laboratory, and real-world settings
- Prohibit all forms of academic misconduct, including cheating
- Explain the school's policy towards students accused of criminal wrongdoing
Your school's code of conduct may define what constitutes “unprofessional” behavior. It may also spell out minimum academic standards. Even so, such conduct policies may be incomplete, unclear, or subject to interpretation.
An attorney-advisor can help you understand your school's various policies. Just as importantly, your attorney-advisor will defend you as you face academic sanctions, remediation, or formal discipline.
Dismissal From Medical School in Illinois
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) notes that the vast majority of medical students graduate. This can be a dangerous statistic, as it may lead medical students to believe they can't be expelled from their medical program. This simply isn't the case.
Your medical school has the ability to dismiss you permanently. It's not wise to call the school's bluff. Should you be expelled, you may experience:
- A cold shoulder from other medical programs that would rather admit a student without an expulsion on their record
- The burden of having significant student debt without a medical degree to help you repay that debt
- Self-doubt and shame
- Significant harm to your reputation
- The sudden end of your plans to practice medicine
Medical programs may vary in what they consider a dismissal-worthy offense. Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine may dismiss you for repeated academic failures, professional misconduct, or academic misconduct. Most medical programs in Illinois may dismiss you for similar reasons.
Here's the approach we recommend, treat every possible sanction as if dismissal is a possible outcome. This way, you'll dedicate the necessary time, attention, and resources to defending yourself.
Failing a medical school exam is hardly as serious as committing a serious criminal act. If you fail enough exams or courses, though, your school may issue the same punishment as someone who commits a more serious offense. Put simply, you could be dismissed.
Before you face dismissal, you'll generally have the option of remediating coursework. This generally means retaking areas of study where you've performed poorly. You may also require remediation if you've missed the maximum amount of coursework or classes.
Remediation generally imposes additional financial costs on students. You may need to take on additional debt or pay out-of-pocket to retake coursework. Remediation is also something of a blemish on your academic record—a necessary blemish for some, but a blemish nonetheless.
Your attorney-advisor will speak with you about your impending remediation. They may secure a more favorable course of action, like a grade change. They may instead decide that remediation is the appropriate option. In either case, it's worth speaking to an attorney-advisor before agreeing to remediate coursework.
Medical students in Illinois generally have the right to appeal certain decisions. You may be able to appeal:
- A grade
- An order of remediation
- The outcome of a disciplinary hearing
- An order of suspension or dismissal
The appeal process may vary from one medical program to the next. University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, for example, allows appeals with either the Committee on Academic Promotions or a specific academic department. Where and how you file your appeal may depend on the specific nature of your medical student issue.
Appeals are generally your last chance to reverse a university's decision. If you're facing dismissal, it could be your last chance to save your medical aspirations. Even if you've already completed other aspects of the disciplinary process, let an attorney-advisor help with your appeal.
Experienced Illinois Medical School Defense Advisor
Think of all the investments you've made in your academic career to date. Time. Social functions. Brain cells. Money. You've done far too much to give up now. Your reputation, personal goals, and professional ambitions are worth fighting for.
You may have a succession of challenges ahead, including but not limited to:
- Meetings with case investigators
- One or more disciplinary hearings
- An appeals process
All the while, you likely have academic and personal responsibilities to tend to. Face it, you could use the help of an experienced attorney-advisor.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience helping medical students in Illinois and nationwide. He'll fight for you as if his own future depends on it. Call Attorney Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.