Pharmacy Student-Academic Progression and Dismissal Issues

Studying to become a pharmacist is no easy task. The course loads and academic requirements can be challenging even for the most dedicated students. While many student bodies have running jokes about “perpetual students,” the fact is that you can't work at your own pace in a School of Pharmacy. You must make satisfactory academic progress to stay enrolled. If you don't keep up, it could lead to dismissal.

But sometimes, life happens. You fall behind for many reasons, including family stress, illness/disability, personal anxiety, etc. If your academic progress comes into question, it can have lasting consequences for your pharmacy career and impact your ability to succeed in the future.

Experienced Attorney-Advisor for Academic Progression Issues

At times like these, it's imperative to have as much help as possible. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a nationally recognized authority in student discipline issues and has dedicated nearly 20 years of his career advocating for students, and his guidance and negotiation skills have helped thousands of students rescue their careers.

Common Academic Problems Among Pharmacy Students

Pharmacy students may encounter many academic challenges during their time at school—not all of which are their fault. However, since colleges and universities are under pressure to maintain the highest possible academic standards, even simple misunderstandings can be blown out of proportion, and schools often assume the worst. Let's look at some common academic progression issues among pharmacy students.

Unsatisfactory Grades

Your class grades are seen as a direct reflection of your abilities and can significantly impact your employment prospects. One bad grade can negatively affect your overall grade point average. When you receive a bad grade that is unfair or unjustified, it's important to contest that grade using the school's appeals processes to protect your GPA.

Poor grades can be contested for many reasons, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • A grade was assigned based on instructor bias rather than academic performance
  • A grade calculation error
  • The grade was not assigned in accordance with established criteria and standards
  • Their instructors did not inform students about the criteria for determining the grade
  • Student performance assessed based on inconsistent guidelines
  • An overall grade based on discrimination, harassment, or spite

Most schools enact a process through which students can appeal their grades, but these processes are often landmines of detailed requirements that, if not followed precisely, can result in dismissal of your request on technical grounds. You must provide sound reasons for changing the grade. Having the help of an experienced attorney-advisor with grade appeals can help ensure your hard work does not go to waste.

Progression Issues

It is not possible to remain a pharmacy student for as long as you want. A figurative clock starts to run when you enroll, and you must make satisfactory academic progress within the allotted time frame to earn your degree. Failing to do so can affect your financial aid, and ultimately, your enrollment.

If you're accused of or disciplined for any type of academic misconduct, this may also affect your academic progress, putting you in additional jeopardy. The academic progress clock doesn't stop ticking when you face these issues, so the delays caused by probation, remediation, suspension, or forced repeating of courses can put you into unsatisfactory progress territory.

Failure to Meet Academic Standards

Colleges and universities have to maintain high academic standards for numerous reasons. These standards help their students qualify for federal financial aid, help the school maintain its accreditation, and help ensure students meet the educational requirements for prospective employers after graduation. Meeting consistent minimum standards makes the education valuable to the student, so this is a good thing. The problems that sometimes arise for pharmacy students stem from the fact that the school's standards may be ambiguous, complex, and difficult to interpret. For example, if the school:

  • Does not properly disclose and publish its standards
  • Maintains vague and subjective standards
  • Maintains a complex standard that is difficult for students and advisors to understand
  • Maintains a standard that is contradictory and subject to multiple interpretations
  • Does not apply its standard in a uniform and sensible manner
  • Applies its standard arbitrarily or inconsistently

If the academic standards for success aren't clear, a pharmacy student may think they are progressing well and meeting minimum requirements only to find out they are behind or sitting below a minimum GPA. They may have trouble understanding how grades are calculated. When expectations aren't clearly expressed, it can be challenging for the student to know or make adjustments when they aren't measuring up—eventually putting their academic future at risk.

When Poor Academic Progression Leads to Dismissal

Pharmacy students learn in different ways and sometimes at different paces. Traditional studies come easier for some students than others. There may also be extenuating circumstances that prevent a student from making acceptable academic progress, including factors such as illness, injury, military service, employer demands, or the death or dying of family members.

Although the causes are usually outside the student's control, by definition academic progress problems often begin with a single failing or poor grade, which eventually has a ripple across courses and terms. It takes more effort to catch up than staying current, especially when energy and time are already limited. A bad grade can quickly escalate into academic peril.

School pharmacy programs typically offer various solutions to help students get back on track, including monitored academic probation and remediation. This help might include regular meetings with advisors, repeating courses, retaking exams, tutoring, etc. However, the system isn't foolproof, and some students still fall through the cracks without getting the help they need. Furthermore, the process of reversing an academic tailspin can itself be time-consuming (appealing grades can be extremely involved, for example) and may put the student in further jeopardy while trying to correct the problem.

If academic shortfalls are not resolved appropriately, the school may consider dismissal of the pharmacy student, which can be devastating for the student's career goals. Not only is it challenging to re-enroll in a pharmacy program once you've been dismissed, but you now have a negative mark on your academic record which can affect your ability to get hired eventually. You may also face financial difficulty due to student loans which must still be repaid—without the benefit of having a job as a pharmacist.

Needless to say, you want to avoid being dismissed from pharmacy school if at all possible because it becomes that much more difficult to reset your career track as a pharmacist once that happens. Hiring a skilled attorney-advisor can make a huge difference in the outcome of your academic issues. The right attorney-advisor can help you identify grounds for appealing grades, offer guidance on negotiating workable remediation solutions, and provide an additional layer of accountability for the school to abide by its policies and ensure fair treatment.

Appealing a Dismissal

Being dismissed from school effectively erases all the hard work you have done—and in many cases, it's not your fault. Life events beyond your control may have caused you to fall behind or prevented you from doing your best work. Fortunately, most school policies include an appeals process that allows you to contest an unfavorable decision—including dismissal from pharmacy school. An attorney-advisor can help you craft a persuasive appeal that will convince the school that the decision was unfair and that you are entitled to continue your education at the institution.

Grounds for Appeal

Your school will only consider an appeal if received by the given deadline, and the grounds for your appeal fall within their guidelines. Each school has slightly different policies for legitimate grounds for appeal, but most schools will accept appeal requests from students claiming extenuating circumstances or improper conduct on the part of the school.

Extenuating Circumstances

If you have suffered an unavoidable life event that has impeded their academic progress, you can appeal, citing extenuating circumstances. These are some examples of extenuating situations:

  • Mental or medical issues: For example, you had difficulty concentrating on your studies because of depression or a debilitating injury.
  • Family crisis: A family member, friend, or loved one has died or fallen ill, and you were responsible for making arrangements, take care of loved ones, or grieve.
  • Financial problems: You lost your job or your primary source of income, and you were left scrambling to figure out how to make ends meet—including paying your tuition.

Improper Conduct

Improper conduct can be cited as grounds for appeal against mistakes made by school staff or incorrectly applied school guidelines. Let's say, for example, that the school violated its own policies and dismissed you prematurely under the terms of the Code of Conduct, or you can demonstrate that the school's evaluations were biased against you. These are typical examples of inappropriate conduct, but there are others.

Every institution has its own set of guidelines regarding appeal criteria, requests, and deadlines. You can find your school's policies within the code of conduct to ensure your appeal is properly reviewed.

Get Help Now from an Experienced Attorney-Advisor

As a pharmacy student, failing to progress academically is a problem that can quickly escalate out of control. Regardless of whether it's your fault, you've spent too much time, money, and energy into your pharmacy career to have it derailed by dismissal. The earlier you stem the tide of academic shortfalls, the easier it will be to right the ship and get your career back on track. That's why it's essential to hire an experienced attorney-advisor at the first sign of trouble. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped countless students across the United States rescue their careers through skillful guidance over academic issues and student discipline issues.

Don't leave your future up to the school; take control of your destiny. Call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to schedule your consultation 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 the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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