The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC, Los Angeles

Dentistry is a noble profession, but it's not an easy one. If you want to make it, you have to be committed to lifelong learning; you have to be willing to work long hours; you have to work with patients you may not like. Your dental school wants you to understand all of this upfront. It wants you to know just what you can expect when you graduate. That's why it holds you to the very highest academic, ethical, and professional standards.

The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry makes no bones about its expectations. The Dean's Message to all applicants and incoming students uses phrases like “challenging clinical education” and “unyielding commitment to ethical standards.” “Unyielding” doesn't leave a lot of room for error.

High standards are important in dentistry. None of us wants someone with their hands in our mouths who isn't fully qualified or who isn't an absolute professional. We all make mistakes, though. In fact, as a dental student, you're going to make a lot of them. That's what being a student is all about. A mistake shouldn't cost you your educational and professional future. If your school is being too “unyielding,” if it's trying to punish you for simply making a mistake, there's help out there. A qualified attorney-advisor can help you make good decisions about your career and, when necessary, help you fight to save that career.

Academic and Professional Standards

Herman Ostrow expects you to excel both academically and professionally. The school's Student Professional Performance and Evaluation Committee monitors every student's progress in these two categories at the end of every semester.

Academically, you must maintain a 2.0 grade point average. Should you fall below that number, or fail a course, the Committee is empowered to issue you an Academic Warning (AW). Fail two courses in a semester, and you'll be given Academic Probation (AP). The Committee can also dismiss you from the program entirely if your academic performance is consistently poor.

If anything, Herman Ostrow's professional standards are even higher than its academic standards, and the penalties for violations are more severe. Disciplinary sanctions can include

  • Warnings
  • Fines
  • Restitution
  • Restriction of privileges
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal

It's worth noting that the school doesn't just expect you to follow ethical and professional guidelines on campus. You can also be punished for problems in your personal life. A domestic abuse complaint or a DUI will almost certainly get you dismissed.

Whether you're dealing with an academic or disciplinary sanction, the process for defending yourself can be complex. An attorney who is familiar with dental schools in general and with the judicial procedures at your school, in particular, can be an invaluable resource for getting you through it.

Remediation: Getting Your Academic Future Back on Track

Your dental school doesn't want you to fail. When students fail, it reflects poorly on the quality of the program and the school's willingness to provide resources and support to its students. You can expect Herman Ostrow to try and help you get back on track when you fall behind academically. This process is generally known as “remediation.”

While remediation can provide a valuable safety net, it can also be costly, both in terms of money and time. And it may not be your best option. It could be, for instance, that you'd be better off trying to appeal an instructor's original grade. Herman Ostrow may not tell you about these kinds of solutions. A qualified attorney-advisor will, though. They'll know all the possibilities, and they'll be able to guide you through the appropriate processes.


Herman Ostrow wants you to succeed, but that doesn't mean the school won't dismiss you if you continue to struggle academically or commit an egregious disciplinary offense. If you're facing a dismissal, the stakes are too high not to contact an attorney.

  • Trouble resuming your medical education: If you're dismissed, you'll find it difficult to enroll in another program. Most dental schools give priority to new applicants.
  • Loss of academic progress: If you should find another school to admit you, you'll likely have to begin your studies all over again. This means more time and more money.
  • Permanent transcript notations: Even if you find another school and complete the program, even if you should earn honors, your original dismissal will likely show up on your transcript. This could keep you from applying to fellowships and residencies and might interfere with job applications.
  • Student debt: You're responsible for paying back your student loans whether you graduate or not. Dental school bills aren't cheap, and they'll come due immediately if you are dismissed.

You should never simply accept any sanction. Schools can and do make mistakes, and you should always raise questions. Even if you accept responsibility for misconduct, you don't want to accept a punishment that's disproportionate to your offense.

If you are facing dismissal, though, you have nothing to lose by fighting for your future. Just don't try to take on that fight all alone. It's no easy matter to raise questions about how your dental school has treated you. You'll find that faculty and administration quickly close ranks. To have a chance at success, you need a professional, an attorney, to serve as your advisor. An attorney with experience in dental school cases can provide you with invaluable advice, help you construct a defense strategy, and even work with you to draft grievance documents. Most importantly, they can make sure your school respects your due process rights.

Hiring an Attorney-Advisor

You're bright; you're capable; you're not super-human. If your dental school is trying to treat you as if you are, you have the right to push back. One low grade or one lapse in judgment doesn't have to define you.

Joseph D. Lento can help. Joseph D. Lento is a defense attorney who built his practice on defending students. He's served as an advisor to hundreds of dental students across the country, helping them appeal grades, remove negative evaluations from their records, and overturn dismissals. Joseph D. Lento cares about your rights and believes in your future. He understands your situation, and he's prepared to do whatever it takes to get your career back on track.

If you're facing a sanction from your dental school, don't wait. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

Contact Us Today!


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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