Academic Progress

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition but...
The University expects students to complete their qualifications in a reasonable amount of time and with reasonable amount of success. The term used is Academic Progress and can affect students in a number of ways. A student that fails more than 50% of their enrolled units in any one semester, or fails a subject for the second time will trigger an intervention measure. It could be anything from a simple warning letter to a letter demanding an explanation and an invitation to meet with the Academic Progress Officer for a hearing.

The latter is commonly referred to as a 'Show Cause' and its implementation will depend on the student's past academic history as well as their performance during the semester. Somtimes you can be excluded (disenrolled) unless you can convince them to give you another chance but don't worry, the BSA offers help, free of charge, to all students with Academic Progression problems.

Show Cause is a process of review for students who haven't met the academic requirements for their course. If you are asked to Show Cause it means you have to show the University why you should be allowed to re-enrol and continue studying.

The process begins with an official letter from the University. It's important that you start preparing your case as soon as you receive the letter.You'll be offered the chance to explain your reasons for your poor academic performance to an Academic Progress Officer or Committee from your faculty through a letter and/or an appearance at a hearing.

The Student Advocate from the BSA can help you prepare by listening to your story and defining which aspects will make the strongest arguments. They can also help you write your letter to the committee and you can invite the advocate to your hearing to help settle your nerves and get your points across.

BSA Student Advocate: 03 5444 7976 Appointment bookings at BSA Info Desk

How to Prepare for Show Cause
Your case needs to clearly explain to the Academic Progress Officer:

  1. The particular circumstances which affected your academic studies during the year
  2. How the circumstances will be different in the future
  3. The course of action you wish the Academic Progress Officer to take

So, your case should contain three essential elements; Reasons, Solutions, and Actions.

Start by showing that you have identified the problems that led to your academic failure – the ‘reasons’ for your unsatisfactory progress.
This is where you explain what you intend to do to prevent these problems happening again and the steps you've taken, or are taking, to ensure your future academic success.
The other thing you need to include in your submission is what you would like the Committee to recommend. That is, do you want to be allowed to re-enrol on a full-time or part-time basis? Do you want to go part-time or defer? Do you just want to repeat the subjects you failed? Work out what you think will be best for you in your studies and state this clearly.

IMPORTANT - Attend classes until a final decision is reached
If you have been un-enrolled from units pending the outcome of a show cause hearing, make sure you request to be enrolled until an outcome has been reached - it is your right to do so.
If you do attend are subsequently excluded from University, you will not have to pay for these classes but if you don't attend and are allowed to continue, it will put you behind in your studies.

A Few Things to Remember
If you are being asked to ‘Show Cause’, don’t panic! Being asked to ‘Show Cause’ isn’t the same as being thrown out of your course. Most students who ‘Show Cause’ are allowed to re-enrol. If you take the process seriously and approach the BSA for help, then you have the best chance to be able to re-enrol.

Make sure that you keep copies of all letters sent to you from your School and the University. Also remember to keep copies of everything you send. If you visit the BSA for help, bring these with you.

You probably don’t want to discuss the details of any personal problems with the University or even with the student advocate. However, the committee won’t just accept a general statement such as, “I have had a lot of problems recently”. The committee will accept a letter from a counsellor that explains the severity of personal problems and the impact on study without going into details.

If personal issues are the main reason for your poor performance, make sure you make an appointment with either a University counsellor or a private counsellor as soon as you receive your Show Cause letter. Tell the counsellor that you require a letter for the committee before the deadline for your submission. Remember, anything you write in your submission, or say in a meeting, is strictly confidential.

IMPORTANT - Don't pay for chucking in the towel
If your circumstances mean that you do not want to continue with studies, you are strongly advised to contact your course coordinator as soon as possible and notify them that you want to un-enrol from any units you are currently enrolled in. Otherwise, you may be charged a HELP fee regardless of whether you attend or not.