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Dealing with an F on a transcript


eeriejens

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Hi all! 

So, I have been working so incredibly hard for the past four years to get into a graduate program for Audiology. I'll have stellar letters of recommendation, a pretty good GRE score, volunteer and work experience in the field, and a relatively good GPA.

But, my spring semester of sophomore year of school was a rough one - without going into too much detail, I had lots of mental health issues and it overwhelmed most things in my life, and unfortunately, my grades during that semester suffered greatly. I made the grave mistake of using a previous paper I had written from an earlier semester and turned it in for one of the courses I took that semester. Since my school used an online database to check for plagiarism, it of course came back as partially plagiarized. Regardless of it being my own work, I was charged with academic dishonesty and was given an F in the course. To say that the rest of my semester was a disaster is a bit of an understatement; my GPA for that semester is FAR below what my GPA was in every other semester I had before that, and after it.

To get to the point - I am absolutely horrified at the idea of telling future grad application panels the reason for my F. I do plan on lying about the reason for the F, but I also don't want all of my hard work to be overshadowed by this stain on my transcript. In the semesters following that horrible time, I only received A's and a few B's, so my GPA was able to rebound a bit.

I just want to know if anyone has any experience with this, or any thoughts on it. I already realize that I messed up, so only helpful replies, please. Thank you all for any help or advice you may be able to provide. 

 

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Well you're right that some explanation is necessary and it is perfectly ok to not share your mental health issues.  You can say "personal matters" or "issues at home" or whatever other broad statement makes you comfortable and indicates you do not wish to be specific.  I do wonder about the academic dishonesty charge however.  Is that something that is listed on your transcript?  If so then that is definitely something you're going to have to come clean about in the sense that "due to personal matters a poor decision was made that resulted in...."

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I was worried in regards to a similar case that happened to me while in college. During my very first semester, I dealt with a lot of personal issues as well as a difficulty transition from high school to college and my grades during that time started off not so good. I got 3 Cs/C+s, only 1 A, and a P for a Pass/Fail class. For the next 3 years, I drastically improved on my work ethic in college, got tutors for classes I needed help in, and my grades turned a complete 180 to where I started getting a mix of As and Bs and then eventually, mostly straight As with one or two A-s in the mix.

When I was applying to grad school, I wrote a short explanation in my SOP in regards to that rough start in my college career where the grades on my transcript would be very visible to them and said something along the lines of: "I've experienced difficulties with studying effectively in school like the students I plan on working with. As reflected on my transcript, I struggled in my first semester of college but learned how to improve my studying skills after reaching out for help from an academic coach and excelled in my courses since then."

Just be very honest when writing the short explanation in your essay regarding that F in your transcript, but also make sure to state what you learned after that incident and what you did to improve your work in college after getting that grade and so. Think of it as when you're asked by an employer about any weaknesses you have and then explaining how you plan on turning that weakness into a strength.

Hope my advice helps. 

 

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11 hours ago, eeriejens said:

Hi all! 

So, I have been working so incredibly hard for the past four years to get into a graduate program for Audiology. I'll have stellar letters of recommendation, a pretty good GRE score, volunteer and work experience in the field, and a relatively good GPA.

But, my spring semester of sophomore year of school was a rough one - without going into too much detail, I had lots of mental health issues and it overwhelmed most things in my life, and unfortunately, my grades during that semester suffered greatly. I made the grave mistake of using a previous paper I had written from an earlier semester and turned it in for one of the courses I took that semester. Since my school used an online database to check for plagiarism, it of course came back as partially plagiarized. Regardless of it being my own work, I was charged with academic dishonesty and was given an F in the course. To say that the rest of my semester was a disaster is a bit of an understatement; my GPA for that semester is FAR below what my GPA was in every other semester I had before that, and after it.

To get to the point - I am absolutely horrified at the idea of telling future grad application panels the reason for my F. I do plan on lying about the reason for the F, but I also don't want all of my hard work to be overshadowed by this stain on my transcript. In the semesters following that horrible time, I only received A's and a few B's, so my GPA was able to rebound a bit.

I just want to know if anyone has any experience with this, or any thoughts on it. I already realize that I messed up, so only helpful replies, please. Thank you all for any help or advice you may be able to provide. 

 

Also, it seems I missed the edit window here - I stated that I do plan on lying about the reason for the F, but I absolutely do NOT want to do this. I feel like lying about it would make things worse for my situation, and I don't want the application committee to view me as a liar if directly asked about it. 

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7 hours ago, eeriejens said:

Also, it seems I missed the edit window here - I stated that I do plan on lying about the reason for the F, but I absolutely do NOT want to do this. I feel like lying about it would make things worse for my situation, and I don't want the application committee to view me as a liar if directly asked about it. 

I agree. Don't even attempt at lying to the committee. Not only is it morally wrong, but it's not professional as well and you do not want the school to view you in that light as a person not taking graduate school seriously. Be 100% honest in your explanation.

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This may be an unpopular opinion, but I'm not sure I'd address it unless you have to. I have an F on my transcript from freshman year (though in a course unrelated to my major), and still got into all of the Masters programs I applied to and a PhD program. If you're asked about it, don't lie, but I personally just didn't address it. 

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7 minutes ago, historygeek said:

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I'm not sure I'd address it unless you have to. I have an F on my transcript from freshman year (though in a course unrelated to my major), and still got into all of the Masters programs I applied to and a PhD program. If you're asked about it, don't lie, but I personally just didn't address it. 

I also had an F on my transcript in a course unrelated to my major that I didn't address. I was in a motorcycle accident and withdrew that semester and the professor refused to allow me to submit work to change the incomplete once I resumed classes, which caused a default F. If I were you, I would not address it unless they ask you first because honestly I really doubt they will. Let the improvement in your transcript speak for itself because it will. 

Edited by crackademik
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