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  Readmission: After Being Required to Withdraw From the University
(print version)
The purpose of this guide is to help a student apply for readmission to the university after having been required to withdraw for unsatisfactory academic performance. The information applies to students seeking readmission to most undergraduate programs. Important note: This guide is not a substitute for consulting the Academic Calendar, carefully reading application forms or seeking advice from an Academic Counsellor or an Admissions Officer!

See end of document for useful phone numbers and addresses.

Were you required to withdraw?
You can find out whether you are required to withdraw in several ways:

  • You receive a grade report which states you are required to withdraw.
  • You view your grades or academic record on line and there is a 'required to withdraw' message on it.
  • You know the grades you needed for progression in your particular program, and you know you failed to obtain them.
  • Still in doubt? Contact your Academic Counsellor. Ask if you must apply for readmission before registering for further courses.

Applying for Readmission

1. Applying for readmission is similar to applying for admission. You require an Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) form. If you hope to return as a full-time student, you can complete the 105 form on line . If you wish to attend part-time, applications are available on the Registrar's website.

2. Application deadlines are listed in the forms themselves. In some programs the deadline is as early as February 1. DO NOT WAIT FOR THE DEADLINE TO APPLY. In general, the earlier you apply, the more likely you are to get an early response.

3. Read the accompanying instructions carefully before actually completing the Application form. If you have questions use the FAQ section on the OUAC website, check the Western Registrar’s website, or call the Registrar's Office and ask to speak to an Admissions Officer.

Completing the Reconsideration of Admission Form
Applicants for readmission must complete a Reconsideration of Admission Form. For those applying to main campus, this form is available and must be submitted online. Please note the maximum number of characters allowed for your response. (If your situation is exceptional, provide additional explanation in a letter and list in the documentation.)

Applicants to Brescia University College can download Brescia's Reconsideration form from its website. Huron University College also has a form on their website, which should be returned directly to Huron. King's University College applicants will be sent a form once King's receives their application from OUAC.

The italicized words below are copied from the current version of the main campus form.

1. Explain the circumstances which resulted in your academic work falling below Western's minimum admission or progression requirements. Documentation such as medical certificates or letters of support must be submitted to substantiate your explanation. If you have had academic difficulty on more than one occasion (e.g. - previous Dean's waiver(1)), please provide explanations for each occasion.

Circumstances: Be honest in explaining why your academic performance was poor. If you underestimated how much work university courses required, say so. If you partied too much, say so. If you had pneumonia for two months, say so. If several things had a real impact on your academic performance, think about the best way to mention them all. However, it is a good idea to focus on the circumstance that had the most impact on your academic performance.

Documentation: Anything which supports or verifies your claims about your situation or circumstances. Provide documentation whenever possible. Illness or injury; family or personal problems; dysfunctional living situation; employment; and any other incident that could be seriously distracting, depressing, worrisome or a hardship can usually be documented by letter from a doctor, counsellor, or social worker attesting to the impact the circumstances had upon your ability to function effectively as a student. Hours of work can be documented by your employer. A letter from a landlord, residence staff member, parent or friend can attest to problems with living arrangements.

Documentation should always provide a clear time frame for the circumstance. Death certificates or death notices; police incident reports; and travel documents may be provided if relevant. Any document you submit will be subject to verification; be aware that submission of falsified documents can result in charges under the Criminal Code of Canada. Documents will not be returned, so be sure to retain copies for your own records.

2. Indicate the changes that have occurred in your response to question 1 which will allow you to be successful in future academic studies.

The Admissions Committee will assume that the circumstances which prevented you from succeeding when you were registered last time could prevent you from succeeding again. The purpose of this section is to give you a chance to explain why that won't happen.

If you claim you have changed. matured or 'learned a lesson' since your last year of university, (for example, developed a strong work ethic, formed an important new goal or mastered new study skills) letters of support that attest to your claim may be helpful in making your case. A teacher, employer, career counsellor or other person who knows your current work or study habits might be willing to provide such a letter. And, of course, official transcripts, grade reports, diplomas or any other certification about any courses you have taken should be provided, even if such courses are not eligible for university credit. Transcripts are required if you have taken any post-secondary studies, such as community college courses.

3. Outline your academic goals (degree/program), and your proposed course selection if your appeal is granted. Describe any steps already taken towards these goals (upgrading, counselling, etc).

Be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. If you have serious problems with mathematics, becoming an engineer is not realistic. If you don't have Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics at the Ontario grade 12 U/M level (or equivalent), the Nursing program will not be an option for you. Choose your program and your courses carefully. Pay attention to prerequisites and to program requirements. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and failure, and you want to succeed! If you have already begun doing the reading for some of the courses you plan to take, say so. If you have had any career counselling, say so. If you have done volunteer work in an area related to your study plan, provide details and relevant documentation.

Will you be submitting additional documentation in support of your reconsideration ie: Doctor's Note, Counsellor's Note, etc.?

If YES please indicate the type(s) of documents you will be sending:

Supporting documentation should be provided whenever possible and mailed to the address provided.  If there will be a delay in sending it, also include an approximate mailing date.

Common questions and answers about readmission

1. "I appealed for a Dean's Waiver when I was required to withdraw, so the dean's office already knows all about my family breakup. They have a letter from my doctor, too. Do I have to say this stuff all over again and submit new letters?"

YES. The admissions committee bases its decision only on what you provide in the course of applying for readmission. They will not phone the dean's office and ask for additional information. If you want the dean's office to send your doctor's letter to the admissions committee, make a request in writing to the dean's office yourself. A telephone request is not good enough: most dean's offices require a signature before releasing personal information, even to another office in the university.

2. "What about my Western transcript - do I need to pay to have one sent to the admissions committee?"

NO. The admissions committee will get your Western record automatically.

3. "What does 'at least one year mean'? I'm not sure I'm eligible to apply for readmission yet."

You are eligible to take courses commencing one full year (twelve months) after your last university courses ended. In order to do that, of course, you have to apply for readmission well before the year is over. So if you were a student LAST year who finished courses in the April exam period and took no summer or intersession courses, you are eligible to take courses THIS intersession, if readmitted.

4. "Am I more likely to be readmitted if I apply for part-time?"

NO. Each case is looked at on its merits. If you apply for full-time study and the Admissions Committee determines full-time study would be inappropriate, given your circumstances, it may consider part-time admission as an alternative.

5. "I'm older now than when I went to university before. How old do you have to be to qualify for mature student status?"

Having attended Western previously (or any other university) will preclude you from being considered as a mature student no matter how old you are. "Mature student" designates students who were admitted initially to the University without the standard admission requirements as defined by Senate.

6. "The application form asks for a lot of information. What happens if I leave some of it out?"

When you submit your application form, you certify that "all statements are correct and complete". So you are really promising that no information has been left out.

If you attended another postsecondary institution at any time, you must include this on your application.  Failure to disclose this information could result in the cancellation of your application, or deregistration from courses and the University, if it is discovered after you have been re-admitted.

If you omit information the Admissions Committee requires in order to make its decision, you will be sent a letter requesting the information and processing your application will be delayed.

7. “I was in prison for three years. I'd really rather not put that on my application form.”

The university, and OUAC, will keep all your personal information confidential.

8. "I don't see any reason why the university needs to know my activities when I wasn't in school.

The university regards this information as critical. If you do not include it, your application will be delayed until you have provided it. Applying to university is not like buying something from a store: it's more like applying for a job. Think of this list as the equivalent of a résumé.

9. "What’s my first language? We speak Chinese at home, but my schooling was all in English."

Check off 'other.' When you request application forms from Admissions, ask for a "Waiver Form for TOEFL/MELAB/IELTS" and submit it to the University with your Reconsideration of Admission Form. Note that if you have already attended Western, you will not normally be asked to submit proof of English proficiency unless the reason for your academic difficulty was due to poor English skills.

10. "How can I get the latest Calendar from the university, so that I can pick my courses for section 3 of the Reconsideration of Admission Form?"

The best way is to visit www.westerncalendar.uwo.ca/.

11. "What are my chances of being readmitted?"

The decision to readmit a student following unsatisfactory performance depends on

  • the information and evidence in the Reconsideration form;
  • the academic history prior to and at the university (student record);
  • the competitiveness of the program to which admission is sought;
  • the timing of the application;
  • the amount and level of successful academic upgrading.

The Calendar states: "Students who fail to maintain satisfactory academic standing in any year subsequent to readmission will not usually be readmissible to the university for a second time." If you have been required to withdraw from the University more than once, you should discuss your situation with an Admissions Officer and with an Academic Counsellor for the program to which you are seeking admission before applying for readmission.

--- Readmission Scenarios ---

(a) Beverley was required to withdraw after she failed to obtain a yearly weighted average of 60% or better in her first year of Engineering Science. In her Reconsideration of Admission Form she indicated that a chronic health problem had contributed to her poor academic performance. She is seeking readmission to Engineering. Her second choice is a Science program (Biology).

Beverley's grades in quantitative courses are especially low. She has been out of school for a year working in a retail store. She has not seen a career counsellor, and she has not taken any courses at another post-secondary institution. On the other hand, her doctor prescribed a new medication which is helping her health problem.

All applications for readmission to Engineering are reviewed by the Associate Dean of Engineering, as well as by the admissions committee. Because of Beverley's weak performance in quantitative courses, she will not be readmitted to Engineering. But she had 87 in grade 12 U/M Biology and she has applied to the Faculty of Science (Biology) as her second choice. In the past, she volunteered at a Science day camp. On the strength of her strong Biology mark in her grade 12 U/M course and her demonstrated genuine interest in Science she will be admitted to the Faculty of Science.

(b) Karim, a King's University College student, failed to achieve a minimum 60% cumulative average after taking the equivalent of eight full courses. His average is only 53.8%, so he was not eligible for probation. He did not appeal for a Dean's Waiver, and is currently working in the family business. He took one night course in Economics at his local community college and achieved a high B grade. He has been rereading the texts in some of his courses and is anxious to gain readmission. In his Formal Letter of Appeal, he explains that he failed to meet the progression requirements because he had a car accident in October of his first year just before the mid-terms and had to go to court over it, as well as get physiotherapy. The legal and medical consequences of his accident have now been settled.

Karim provided documentation of the car accident, a letter from his physiotherapist, and a court document with his Appeal letter. He will be readmitted once King's receives a transcript from his community college.

(c) Louis was put on probation after his first year, when his average was only 52%. He had been living in residence and had problems with his roommate, who liked to party a lot and got mad if Louis complained. In his second year, Louis claimed that he worried a lot and had trouble sleeping after his father had a heart attack just before the Christmas exams. Despite his worries, he did not seek a deferral of his exams or any other form of academic accommmodation. He did not report his worries to his Academic Counsellor during his meetings with her. He did not seek any professional help for his worries. He thought he could tough it out. When he did not even come close to meeting the probation conditions, he appealed for a Dean's Waiver, but was not granted one. He has taken no courses during his year away, but he has worked full-time all year and claims he has some clear goals for his future. He has been living off-campus and does not plan to apply for residence again.

Louis's chances of readmission are poor. Probation was his second chance. He could strengthen his application in a future year by taking courses elsewhere (e.g. another university or community college) and doing well in them (high B or A grades).

(d) Leslie failed all her first year courses. She appealed, claiming her failure was because of a death in the family. She was granted probation by the Dean of her Faculty. However, she failed to meet the probation conditions of "an average of at least 60% with no failures on all courses taken during the probation period." She had C grades in two courses and a low D in a third; she failed the fourth course. She appealed for a second Dean’s Waiver, claiming she was still upset by grief, but it was denied. In her two years away she has worked at a series of part-time jobs, and completed a two year college program with good grades. Leslie’s stated goal is to get into teacher’s college or become a dentist.

Leslie will be readmitted because she demonstrates, through taking courses elsewhere, that she is able to achieve academically. Although her record to date is not consistent with her stated academic and career goals, her strong college record is in her favour for her readmission.


12. "I appealed for a Dean's Waiver last year when I was required to withdraw, but I was denied. I had mono in second semester, so I don't know why I wasn't allowed back. Anyhow, is there any point in applying now when I was denied before?"

YES. When a decision maker is considering whether to grant a Dean's Waiver to a failed student, the decision maker must ask herself: "Am I reasonably sure that this student's failure to meet the progression requirements was really due to the extenuating circumstance mentioned by the student?" In your case, the decision maker would have compared your grades before you got sick with your grades during and after the illness. If your grades from first semester weren't very different from you second semester grades, your appeal would be denied. This time the admissions committee will ask itself a different question: "Does the student's application for readmission demonstrate that she is prepared to be academically successful at University?" If the best answer to that question is "yes" the student has a good chance of being readmitted.

13. "I hate writing letters and filling in forms. Why can't I just talk to the admissions committee?"

In-person hearings take a lot of time and involve travel to the university on the part of the student. The university does not have the resources to hear every applicant for readmission or every admission appeal. Many applicants do not have the resources to come to a hearing at the university. So an application and written appeal is fairer for everyone.

14. "My situation isn't like any of the examples I’ve read. Who can I talk to about my case?"

Call the Registrar's Office and ask to speak to an Admissions Officer. Be prepared to leave your name, student number and phone number in case no one is free to speak to you when you call. It would also be helpful to indicate a time when your call can be returned.

15. "My case is sort of like Beverley's. What I want to know is, can I take any Engineering courses in my Science program, in case I am accepted back into Engineering in the future?"

Engineering has prepared an information sheet listing some first year course equivalents from the Faculty of Science. This is available upon request from the Dean's Office in Engineering. Limitations of space and facilities usually preclude students who are not registered in Engineering from taking Engineering courses.

16. "Can you appeal a decision of the admissions committee?"

YES, but only if there is significant new information. If you have new substantiated documentation which was not available when you originally applied for readmission, you may submit a new Reconsideration of Admission Form with the new information and any supporting documentation. This should be done within two weeks of the original decision to deny readmission. If more than two weeks have passed, (for instance, if you applied for readmission last year) call the Registrar's Office and speak to an Admissions Officer.

17 "I want to take a course in intersession. Will I get my decision in time for that?"

That depends on when you submit your application and all required supporting documents as well as the volume of applications the Admissions Office must review at the time. Course registration for intersession and summer session is usually early March. Be sure to follow the instructions on the OUAC form in indicating your expected enrollment date.

18. "How many people are on the Admissions Committee?"

On the main campus, the Admissions Committee is composed of representatives from the Admissions Office. The committee contacts the relevant Dean's Office when it needs to seek guidance in making a decision (It does not contact the Dean's Office for additional information about the student or documentation about the student.) The Admissions Committee meets regularly throughout the admissions cycle.

Note: Each Affiliated University College has its own Admissions Committee.

Useful numbers and addresses for further information....

University Main Switchboard: 519 661-2111
University website: www.uwo.ca

Registrar's Office (Main Campus Admissions)
Western Student Services Building Room 1120 519 661-2100
Registrar's Fax 519 661-3710
Registrar's Email: reg-admissions@uwo.ca
Website: www.registrar.uwo.ca

Brescia University College 519 858-5151 Fax 519 858-5137
Registrar’s Email: brescia@uwo.ca Website: www.brescia.uwo.ca

Huron University College 519 438-7224 ext 203 or 233
Fax 519 438-3800
Registrar’s Email: huron@uwo.ca Website: www.huronuc.ca

King's University College 519 433-3491, extension 4999,
toll-free 800 265-4406
Fax 519 433-2227
King's Registrar's Email: kings@uwo.ca
Website: www.kings.uwo.ca

Office of the Ombudsperson 519 661-3573
Email: ombuds@uwo.ca
Fax 519 661-3924
Third Floor, Western Student Services Building, Room 3135
Website: www.uwo.ca/ombuds/

Ontario Universities' Application Centre 519 823-1940
OUAC Fax 519 823-5232
OUAC Website: www.ouac.on.ca

1. Dean's Waiver may also be referred to as a Waiver of Progression Requirements.

NOTE: This guide was produced by the Office of the Ombudsperson at Western University with advice from many others, including students. Thanks to all who helped. The Office of the Ombudsperson is funded jointly and equally by the University and the University Students' Council.

Revised 03/2012