Medical Student Appeals

Students work extremely hard to get to medical school. Once they get there, their goal is to graduate and receive their M.D. degree. The rigorous nature of medical school combined with an inclination to start officially practicing compels students to strive to achieve their goals in a minimal amount of time. However, a timely graduation is heavily dependent on a medical student's overall performance.

Unlike the average student, medical students are evaluated for a variety of factors. Their academic performance, clinical knowledge and their compliance with standards of conduct inside and outside of a medical school or teaching hospital are evaluated. When a school's requirements are not met, a school may either place a student on academic probation, suspend a student for a short time, or completely dismiss him or her from enrolling into a college or university.

Fortunately, schools offer students the option of contesting decisions that are detrimental to their medical career by requesting an appeal.

Grounds for an Appeal

Whether it be a failing grade, a substandard clinical evaluation result, academic probation or a dismissal, you are given the opportunity to appeal it. However, you must provide a valid reason, or grounds, to justify these outcomes. The majority of schools are receptive to two permissible grounds for an appeal request: improper conduct and extenuating circumstances. Students must base their appeal on at least one of these grounds for their request to be considered.

Improper conduct

Merely being dissatisfied with a decision made by a faculty member or by the school is not enough to appeal on the basis of improper conduct. A student can only successfully appeal on this ground when mistakes have been made by school staff and/or school guidelines have been incorrectly applied to your case. An exam that has been marked incorrectly by a professor or a premature decision to dismiss a student (according to school guidelines) are examples of improper conduct.

Identifying whether or not this ground is applicable in your case may be difficult. A legal professional will be able to help you determine the appropriate grounds for your appeal.

Extenuating Circumstances

Students appeal on this ground when they experience extenuating circumstances or unpredictable events that hinder their academic progression. A few good examples of extenuating circumstances are:

Medical or psychological issues: Let's say you were diagnosed with depression or another debilitating injury that prevented you from staying on top of your studies.

Financial issues: Maybe you lost your job and don't know how you are going to pay your bills and tuition.

Family crisis or unexpected death in the family: Perhaps a loved one has fallen in or has died, and the time that you would dedicate to doing homework is now occupied with making arrangements, taking care of a loved one, or grieving.

Medical School Appeals Process

Each school has an individualized set of guidelines regarding appeal applications, criteria, and deadlines. These guidelines will likely vary depending on the kind of appeal you seek. Students should locate these guidelines in their school's code of conduct and operate accordingly.

Pennsylvania & New Jersey Student Rights Attorney

When your school makes a decision that impedes your goals of becoming a medical professional, it's frustrating. This is why you should take advantage of your opportunity to contest these decisions and request an appeal. If you feel like the grounds above apply to your case, don't hesitate to consult with an attorney.

Legal professional Joseph D. Lento has worked with students who aspire to practice in a broad range of industries - pharmacy school, dental school, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing school etc. - and understands how to maximize the likelihood of an appeal. Contact him today.

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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.

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