Student appeals release from course after failing exams

Undergraduate optometrist, Amira’s story

What happened

Photo pendingAmira (not her real name) is an optometry student who had been released from her university course because she failed her second year exams.

Her father had passed away before her final exams which affected her mental health, and she started having panic attacks due to anxiety. Although she was advised by her university to withdraw from her course, she decided to sit her exams. Unfortunately, she did not meet the minimum pass mark and was therefore released from the course.

Through a friend and student advisor, Amira was made aware that she could appeal the university’s decision by relying on her extenuating circumstances. Her counsellor assisted her in drafting a letter which explained her situation. She submitted the letter along with supporting documents to the university, but her initial application was rejected.

How we helped

When Amira contacted the AOP, she was assigned to a solicitor in the Professional Discipline team who reviewed and analysed the letter and supporting documents Amira had provided to her university. Amira explained that she had appealed her university’s decision to withdraw her from her course and was still waiting for a final decision.

She was very worried about the final decision and anxious because the university were taking a long time to make a decision. Amira’s solicitor reassured her that she would do everything she could to assist her, and referred her to the AOP Peer Support Line which offers a free, confidential service for callers to talk through any issues causing stress and anxiety.

Amira’s solicitor identified that further information was required to support her appeal, and asked her to provide a copy of the original letter which had informed her that she had failed her assessments, and a copy of the university’s extenuating circumstances policy and procedure.

With Amira’s permission her AOP solicitor then wrote to the university regarding when she should expect her decision.

The outcome

After waiting a few months for the decision and following up with the university, it was decided that Amira could repeat her second year of university. Amira was very happy with this outcome.

The university also apologised for the delay in making the decision.

Amira told us she had a positive experience with the AOP. Her solicitor was very supportive and prompt with her responses. She was also happy that her solicitor followed up with her when she did not receive a response from her.