Academic Dismissal questions

Hi everyone, just reaching out for some advice about an incident that just happened. I was just recently academically dismissed from grad school, however not because of bad grades or not because of anything related with that. But it was because of a misunderstanding of not withdrawing from my class in time and getting a C- when I retook It later. Essentially, what happened was I took too many classes that semester, I could not focus on all four classes working two jobs 60 hours a week, and I focused on three and essentially gave up on one of them. I got an administrative withdrawal which means you don’t fail or pass, because the professor can’t tell what type of student you are etc. Afterwards I retook it but I got a C- and then all of a sudden I’m being booted out the door. I mean, I am fighting it, I really am. It’s just ridiculous. I’ve never failed a course, just happens that they only allow two attempts for this International Economics, and since I didn’t withdraw in time like I should have the first time, it’s being used against me. I can’t remember why I didn’t withdraw, I just was under so much stress at the time with four classes and two jobs.
I started the program in Jan 2020, and this coming fall semester was set to be my last one. It is ridiculous to be going through this.

My question is now, if I can’t get reinstated, can I apply to another grad program with just my undergraduate information, transcripts and forget about my first grad program? Does that make sense? Kind of like a fresh start per say?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I’m freaking about this situation, I don’t know what to do or what to expect. I’m glad I have faculty backing me up because they think it’s b.s but who knows. I’m just trying to plan for a possible Plan B.


You need to do things differently if you want to succeed.

Most important: two jobs plus a full grad course load is too much. A grad course load is considered a full-time job. Many grad students struggle with time management when combining a full load with being a part-time TA. If you can’t commit to the time required, you are wasting your time, the faculty’s time, and depriving someone else of their chance tgo succeed by taking their slot.

Next, despite your claim, you are being booted for bad grades. A C- is a very bad grade in grad school. Typically, a C is considered failing. The minus is unnecessary, and by adding it, the professor is sending a very strong message. It’s like an F- as an undergrad.

If they ask - and every program I have seen asks for your complete academic record - you have to answer truthfully. I know of at least one case where the student did not submit a truthful application and the university rescinded his PhD even after he graduated.

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You are supposed to disclose all programs attended, provide transcripts, and I believe there is a database so schools can check.

Since you were almost finished, is there an appeal process underway? Or can you find out under what conditions they would readmit you?

Yes…I’m saying this gently, as I know how it feels to be stressed and overloaded, but this academic dismissal is because of bad grades. A C- in graduate school, as stated, is not good. A lot of grad schools boot students who get a C in a course. And limiting a course to two retakes is pretty reasonable.

Four graduate courses is a lot even without two jobs. At many programs, three is the expected number per semester. I had to take four graduate classes some semesters while a full-time grad student with no outside job because I was an interdisciplinary PhD program, and it consumed 50-60 hours a week just to keep up with the reading and work. I gladly took the opportunity to reduce my load (I sought credit for teaching and independent research).

Anyway, to answer your question - no, you can’t “start fresh” by omitting your grad information. That’s disingenuous; if people could omit their past missteps to look better, where would that end? Most graduate schools will ask for all transcripts from prior academic programs. Additionally, academia is a small world; even if you successfully hide it initially, you never know when your old advisor will run into your new advisor at a conference and start putting two and two together.

First, I’d talk to your department. Sometimes programs will let you return after being academically dismissed; there’s usually a waiting period (often a year, but sometimes a semester). Before you go starting over at another department, see if there’s a way you could pick up where you left off after taking some time.

If you do end up applying to other graduate programs, this is something that you can include supplemental essay for, explaining the situation. But don’t do it defensively and indignantly, the way you did here. Acknowledge that you took on too much at once and was unable to perform well, and then explain how you resolved the situation (i.e., that you won’t be working more than 20 hours a week while in this graduate program).

If you have to work full-time, 60 hours a week to survive, grad school may not be in the cards for you right now. Or you might consider going part-time (but I would still try to reduce your hours to 40 or less).

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