Studying to be a pharmacist can be extremely challenging. The academic standards in pharmacy school can be more demanding than in other graduate programs. Many successful college students find themselves struggling in pharmacy school, and many others find their pharmacology studies challenging at the pace required. Pharmacy schools also have incredibly high academic and professional integrity standards, and inadvertent violations of these policies can also put a student in danger of disciplinary action—up to and including dismissal from the school.
To help struggling students “right the ship,” pharmacy schools have remediation programs to assist students who have fallen behind in their studies or are on some sort of disciplinary probation. These remediation programs can be quite diverse, ranging from providing one-on-one assistance with complex concepts to summer intensive courses intended to help struggling students catch up quickly on the material they need to master.
Remediation can be a lifeline for struggling pharmacy students, especially if the alternative is dismissal from the school. However, it can also be intense and time-consuming, and schools sometimes prescribe remediation when it is unfair or unnecessary. As a skilled attorney-advisor, Joseph D. Lento has many years of proven experience helping students navigate academic and disciplinary issues, including making sure remedial programs are beneficial and serve their intended purpose.
What Is Remediation?
Remediation is a customized program offered by the pharmacy school to assist students struggling in their studies or having issues maintaining professional standards. The goal of remediation is to help students catch up on their academic progress and to master the material that they have been unable to learn on their own. Remediation is typically offered as an alternative to more severe penalties such as suspension or dismissal.
Remedial programs can take various forms, ranging from a one-on-one tutoring program to specialized classes or group sessions that meet several times weekly.
Each remediation program is different, and every program will have a different set of goals and expectations. In some programs, students may be expected to master all the material they missed on an exam before returning to regular coursework. Other remediation programs will provide additional resources and support to supplement study habits and routines already in place for students.
Misuse and Abuse of Remediation
While remediation is designed as a tool to help students, it is sometimes prescribed or utilized wrongfully. In deciding whether students are eligible for remediation, pharmacy schools sometimes make mistakes. They may also go beyond recommending remediation to demanding it for certain students, trying to force them to accept it when the student wouldn't benefit from it. The school may misinterpret the student's resistance to remediation as an indication of the student's inability to persevere and complete the program. In other words, remediation can be a source of contention that could put the student in further jeopardy.
In some cases, a school may also use remediation improperly as a tool to justify their eventual decision to dismiss a student, having given the student due process and opportunities for correction. In other words, the school may manipulate and abuse remediation to create a false sense that underperforming students have hope, even though the school intends to dismiss them.
Unnecessary Remediation Can Have Negative Consequences
Remediation is undoubtedly a welcome alternative to dismissal, but that doesn't mean unnecessary remediation can't also cause harm to the pharmacy student. Some ways in which unnecessary remediation can backfire:
- It can require a great deal of time and energy from the student, taking them away from other productive studies
- The extra time requirements can set the student further back timewise, making it more challenging to complete the pharmacy degree within an acceptable amount of time
- Additional courses can add to tuition costs
- Remediation can be considered a negative mark on a student's academic record, making it harder for them to compete for residencies or jobs later
How Should Remediation Work?
Most schools of pharmacy have remediation programs in place genuinely intended to help students. Directors and deans often use incident reports and routine student evaluations to identify underperforming students, then prescribe remediation programs to help bring those underperforming students back into compliance. By catching and correcting deficiencies early, remediation is more likely to help the student rather than punish them.
That said, these programs aren't foolproof. If professors fail to report underperformance promptly, for example, the prescribed remediation may end up being more of a burden than the student can bear. Additionally, the professors responsible for remediation may not be adequately trained, leading to poor results and unclear accountability. At its worst, remediation can be a sham.
Why Accept Remediation?
Even though there are many reasons to question remediation, pharmacy students at high risk of being dismissed have good reasons to accept the offer from their school for a sound, fair, and benchmarked process with achievable goals. The medical school may allow the student to continue with their regular studies at the same rate as their peers while they complete the remediation. With a good remediation program, the student's education shouldn't be negatively impacted, and the student may not have to repeat any coursework, credits, or exams. In short, a student should accept remediation if they have good reasons.
The most significant reason to seek remediation is to avoid dismissal from pharmacy school. Medical students invest enormously in their medical education, including time and tuition costs. If the pharmacy student is dismissed, it will most likely result in the student losing their investment and expected rewards, and readmission to school may be challenging at best. If you are a pharmacy student facing possible dismissal, remediation may be your best shot at rescuing your career.
That being said, this doesn't mean you should automatically accept any offer of remediation. A good remediation plan should have the following characteristics:
- It should be timely. Remediation should be implemented promptly before you are faced with additional education obstacles.
- It should be feasible to ensure effectiveness. It should be within your reach, given your resources and time.
- It should have clear benchmarks for success so that you can see your progress.
- It should include all the resources necessary for success. This may consist of tutors, study aids, practice assessments, and other equipment, etc.
How to Get Effective Remediation
It is dangerous to accept remediation by yourself without professional advice. No matter how bright and accomplished you are, you may lack the strategic insight and advocacy skills necessary to protect your educational investment. If remediation is not properly planned, benchmarked, and resourced, the risks of being dismissed remain high. Joseph D. Lento is a nationally recognized attorney-advisor who helps students across the country ensure that their schools offer effective remediation to help them achieve their goals.
Ensure your remediation opportunity is your ticket to graduation and good standing, not a trap that could lead to dismissal or other adverse consequences. Get a skilled attorney-advisor in your corner before accepting any offer of remediation. Call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to schedule your consultation today.