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Looking for input on how to handle admissions mistake

XancalidonXancalidon Posts: 16Registered User New Member
edited December 2012 in Graduate School
Hi all,

Just wanted to get some input about an issue I'm going to be facing soon in my graduate admissions process.

Around the end of Spring 2011, I was expelled from a Top 10 IR undergraduate program I'd transferred into due to unsatisfactory academic performance. Panicked, that summer, I "transferred" again to my local state university—but omitted the Top 10 IR program transcripts, only submitting the transcripts from the first university I'd been to.

I got in.

Fast-forward a few months later to Spring 2012. I'm taken to hospital due to a health issue, and am diagnosed with Bipolar, explaining the reason why I was unable to perform at Top 10 IR program. I accepted, and am still taking, medication + therapy.

Fast-forward to the present, I'm doing great in school, am about to get published, and am aiming towards top IR grad programs after I graduate from undergrad.

The issue, as is likely obvious by now, is the omission of transcript information from my state university transfer admission application. Being clear-headed now, I understand that what I did can likely be classified as fraudulent admission—very likely, in my opinion, putting a significant block in my academic future.

I have heard horror stories where people in similar situations have been found out, are blacklisted at their university and other universities, have been sued for "stealing" financial aid from that school, and, summarily, have their lives ruined as a result. I don't want this to happen to me.

I'd like to get input from someone on what my next steps should be. Given that I'm doing great work now, but have this issue, I am scared stiff of pursuing any kind of scholarships that might help me to pay for graduate school—and while I believe in my ability to perform at high levels given I continue my medication + therapy regimen, I am skeptical of my chances of getting into a good program without this proverbial Sword of Damocles dropping from the ceiling. I would very, very much appreciate any input from anyone willing to give it.

(yes, I know I'm probably ****ed if I apply; I need constructive input, not obvious information)
Post edited by Xancalidon on

Replies to: Looking for input on how to handle admissions mistake

  • XancalidonXancalidon Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    Feel free to private message me with your thoughts.
  • juilletjuillet Posts: 9,473Super Moderator Senior Member
    I'm not sure that what you did would come to light just because you are applying - your graduate institutions would want transcripts from everywhere you have gone to school, but unless you are applying to your home university for IR, they won't get the transcripts from the other school. So I doubt that your current school would even find out in the process of your applying to other schools.

    As far as I see it, you did make a mistake (which may have been partially shaped by your illness) but that's no reason to put the rest of your life on hold. Go ahead and apply to graduate school.
  • XancalidonXancalidon Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    What if I'm applying to a place like Harvard or Johns Hopkins for law school, or my MPP? Especially law school—should I just apply and leave the school that dropped me out? I feel like I'd be breaking the law if I applied to law school like that. What if I got accepted? I wonder what I should say to the people in admissions?
  • b@r!umb@r!um Posts: 9,899Registered User Senior Member
    should I just apply and leave the school that dropped me out?
    Horrible, horrible, horrible idea. The National Student Clearinghouse maintains a record of all your past college enrollment. If a law school finds out that you were hiding something (and the National Clearinghouse makes that a real possibility), you can get kicked out and/or have your degree revoked after you graduated.

    Why don't you just submit all of your transcripts, like the application instructions say and like all of the posters on this thread have suggested? Sending a transcript to Harvard makes it no more likely that your current university will find out.

    You might also consider setting your record straight with your current university. Can you ask a trusted university administrator what the consequences would be? (Maybe anonymously?)
  • parafilmparafilm Posts: 38Registered User Junior Member
    I agree with b@r!um (and everyone else) on all points. you cannot hide your transcripts from your first school. If your law school found out you'd be screwed.

    I would just be honest with your graduate schools, lying (which includes neglecting to report certain transcripts) in admissions is... generally frowned upon, to say the least. Even if you did manage to get away with not sending in that transcript, you'd be spending the next X years of your life wondering if it's going to catch up with you. I don't see why your current school would find out you had these transcripts sent anyway. If they did, yeah, you might be in some hot water... but better now than later after you've invested more time/money into your education and have more to lose.
  • newmitgradnewmitgrad Posts: 26Registered User New Member
    Your mistake the first time is why you're in this position now. So don't make the same mistake again! Send all your transcripts, including the dropped ones.

    Your current institution won't find out anything, there's no way or reason they would. Likewise, there's no reason the grad schools you're applying to would find out anything about your application process to your current school.

    The only thing you should NOT do is omit it, like you did last time.
  • XancalidonXancalidon Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    Guys, you've all been great with all this input.

    So, what I'm basically getting from everyone is that I should include the transcripts I didn't include before. I will say this: a major reason I didn't before is because I have about a $7k hold at the school that dismissed me, which I have no way of paying. The worst thing is, the longer I don't pay it, the more interest accrues on it.

    Basically, for the time being, I seem to be economically locked out of even touching that transcript.

    What do you guys think I should do about this? I have one last semester to go before I graduate and I don't want to do anything that might disrupt my academic progress (like taking a part-time job that would detract from my studying time). I would really like to get you guys' input on this. I really believe that if I get everything right, I can get into and succeed in graduate school.
  • XancalidonXancalidon Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    @ b@r!um: Having bipolar is like living on borrowed time. Self-sabotage is very much a factor. I've made enough judgmental and academic mistakes during my college experience, and I feel that if I told anyone at my current university, I'll have blown my last chance at graduating from college. I never thought I'd be in this situation, but this is a state university. If I'm found out because I literally told on myself, I think my family support would be pretty much zero after that. I mean...how on earth would I even begin to set things straight with my current university? I just feel like doing that would set me down a spiral I don't want to even look at... :(
  • b@r!umb@r!um Posts: 9,899Registered User Senior Member
    Do you intend to repay those $7K? If so, there might be a way to work with the school that would get you your transcript. For example, maybe you could agree on a payment plan that defers most of the principal while you are in school. Or get a loan from a bank. The university staff is perfectly capable of issuing a transcript even with a formal hold on your record, if they are so inclined.

    If that doesn't work, take a year off from school after graduation and work full time to repay your debt and then apply to law school properly. What I would NOT do is ignore a growing heap of overdue bills while lying my way into law school.
  • b@r!umb@r!um Posts: 9,899Registered User Senior Member
    If I'm found out because I literally told on myself, I think my family support would be pretty much zero after that. I mean...how on earth would I even begin to set things straight with my current university? I just feel like doing that would set me down a spiral I don't want to even look at...
    I suggested you come forward yourself because you are much more likely to get away with a slap on the wrist then. But at least don't lie to yet more schools. Your situation is not gonna get better...
  • pghbioteacherpghbioteacher Posts: 15Registered User New Member
    Why on earth don't you find a job and work off the debt you've accrued? In addition to being better off financially, you will also then have a chance to exhibit some level of the emotional and professional maturity required for grad school.

    I'm sure if you take some time off from school, you'll be more energized and in a better frame of mind, too.
  • XancalidonXancalidon Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    B@r!um: I definitely intend to pay back the debt. Can you elaborate on such programs as you briefly laid out; I don't really understand how I can get another school to pay for my transcripts at the school I was expelled from.

    Also, I have thought of coming forward. On one hand, I feel I can graduate without telling anyone and be fine after I pay my debt and apply to grad school. But, on the other hand, you're right—what if they someday find out? Some people in the law school section of this forum advised I seek legal counsel on how to grovel for mercy to my current school and still earn a diploma. How do I go about doing that? Or, is that 100% necessary in the first place?

    Pghbioteacher: I had originally planned to work after I get out of school. But when employers do background checks, will they find out about this expulsion and reject me?
  • pghbioteacherpghbioteacher Posts: 15Registered User New Member
    I'm not sure if that would show up on a background check... I would be surprised if it did.

    I do know, though, that every application I've ever filled out (for grad school and professional employment) has asked whether I'd ever been dismissed from an academic program. Lying about something like that could really compound your problems.

    I suggest that you start to dig yourself out of the hole in which you've found yourself, before you go any deeper.
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