Academic Progress

Make an appointment with the Student Advocate

03 5444 7354


BSA Offices (ask at the BSA Info Desk)
SU Floor 
La Trobe University
Edwards Road
Flora Hill 

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 ongoing 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 subjects in any one semester (or fails a subject for the second time) will trigger an intervention. The intervention could be anything from a simple warning letter to a letter demanding an explanantion and an invitation to meet with the Academic Progress Officer for a hearing.  

Unsatisfactory Progress
Unsatisfactory progress is commonly referred to as a 'Show Cause'. It's a process of review for students who haven't met the academic requirements for their course.   

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. With the letter there will be a link to an online form that will prompt you for some reasons behind your poor performance. It includes some check boxes that help you identify common reasons but also gives you the opportunity to write a letter explaining your circumstances in more detail. The Student Advocate at the BSA can help you write your letter and ensure that it states your case as strongly as possible. 

A meeting with the Unsatisfactory Progress Commitee (UPC) will then be arranged. This will help the University decide on your academic future. The UPC will look at your form (and letter), past academic history as well as your performance during the semester. They will listen to your reasons for your poor performance and your strategies for addressing the issues then weigh everything up to arrive at a solution that works best for you. The Student Advocate can attend the meeting with you if you wish. 

What are the possible outcomes?
The University will want a solution that gives you the best chance at succeeding with your course. They will want to work out whether your poor grades are due to temporary issues that can be remedied or whether you simply don't have the academic ability.

If you have demonstrated some strategies for turning your study around, the Uni will let you continue but may set some conditions. Typically these include things like:
  • Reducing your study load to 3 or less subjects
  • Taking a leave of absence for 1 or 2 semesters 
  • Ensuring that subjects are passed next time around or face exclusion
If they don't think you can succeed, you may be exluded from your course. This means you will not be allowed to re-enrol and continue with your course. While the University will want to give you opportunities, they do not want you to add to your HELP fees without a reasonable chance of passing. 

What if I don't attend a UPC?

If you can't attend a UPC because of other committments a decision will be made by the committee using all available information at their disposal. It's important under these circumstances to make sure you have submitted your form and letter to explain the issues surrounding your poor academic performance. This will become the main basis on which a decision is made. 

What if I don't want to return to Uni?
You may have enrolled in subjects for first and second semester at the beginning of the year so it's important to withdraw from subjects you don't intend to continue with so you don't get charged fees for them. If you think you may want to continue after a break from Uni, you should apply for a leave of absence. It is important, however, to either attend a UPC meeting or make your intentions clear in your letter before applying for a leave of absence. 

How do I withdraw from a subject?
All you need to do is to log into Student Online and withdraw from any relevant subjects you are currently enrolled in. 

How can a student advocate help?
The Student Advocate from the BSA can help you prepare by listening to your story and indentifying 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. Advocates have experience with UPC meetings and know how to advise you so that you get the best possible outcome.