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By John Shmuel

Biz & Tech Editor

So you’ve finally made it to university. The experience has left you with a roster of new friends, which inadvertently leads to weekly parties.

The problem is, you’re so busy getting alcohol poisoning that you forget to pay attention to your grades.

Next thing you know, you’re failing half your courses.

Don’t panic.

There are procedures in place for contesting your academic standing or even your grades. The important thing is that you’re aware of what you can do, and the deadlines for doing it.

Rebecca Rose, VP education of the Ryerson Students’ Union says if you’re going to act, make a move as soon as possible.

“If you wait to appeal your grades and the deadline passes, that’s it. There’s probably not going to be a second chance,” she says.

You have 10 days to appeal any grade you feel is too low or is otherwise unfair.

If you’re sick and have a medical certificate to show it, you have three days to present the proof. So if you’re going to beg for marks, be shameless. Do it right away.

Your attempts at cushioning your grades might not be successful. In that case, it’s probably best to go and talk to your department head.

They may have suggestions about what you can do. If you’re past your deadline for dropping a course, they might even waive it for you. Be warned though. Failing one of your program’s core courses three times will result in being told to leave your program permanently.

Individual courses are one thing, but if your marks are dropping across the board, you might find that your entire academic standing is in jeopardy. In order to stay in your program, you need to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA).

If your GPA is 2.0 or higher, then you’re considered clear by the school. If it’s below this minimum, then you’re on probation.

What that means is you’ll most likely be meeting with your department head to put together a probationary contract.

There are situations though where the school will simply tell you to pack your bags and leave.

A requirement to withdraw, as it’s known at Ryerson, can be issued if your GPA hits rock bottom — 1.0 or less. If this happens, you can ask for reinstatement, usually with the permission of your program department. There are no guarantees, though.

If you fail a second time, that’s it. You’ll be permanently barred from that program. Known as permanent program withdrawal, your only option after that is to try and apply to another program.

The key thing to remember is that a bit of work and discipline now can avoid a life-long headache.

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