Can I start over fresh at school?
August 9, 2005 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Can a University find out what other schools you have attended?

I've been out of school for a little while, working, and am now ready to return to college to get my degree. The university I attended right out of high school I did very poorly at. I was involved in way too many "extracurricular activities." Also I did not attend there very long. So I would just like to start fresh, and chalk up the money wasted on a life lesson learned.

The problem is: The admissions application to the school I wish to apply to says "Failure to provide transcripts for all previous college credit may result in denial of admission, ineligibility for graduation, the conferral of a degree, or dismissal from the university."

I would really rather not list my previous college credits. Is there anyway they new school could find out about my previous school if I don't tell them? Is there some sort of nation-wide university attendance clearinghouse?

The school I am applying to now is in different state than the first, and is private (the first school was public), if that matters.
posted by anonymous to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Probably, yes.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 12:37 PM on August 9, 2005

Why do you want to leave it off? I wouldn't worry that they will deny you admission, particularly if you explain. It was years ago.

Not worth risking.
posted by duck at 1:23 PM on August 9, 2005

Duck, I don't know how long you've been out (or if you were ever in) the college-apps loop, but it's certainly something to worry about.

Though, no doubt, there are some colleges who would be willing to overlook your history (Kenyon and Hampshire come to mind first), there are many more colleges (any number of prestigious public universities come to mind) who aren't in the business of making exceptions. Why should they, when they're overwhelmed with highly-qualified applications as it is?

Anonymous, I've wondered the same thing as you, and I'm afraid that I can't answer your question. But I strongly encourage you to sit down with the Dean of Admissions for your preferred colleges and have a frank conversation. Don't lie. It'd be a shame for you to be denied a degree after four years of hard, expensive work.
posted by waldo at 2:44 PM on August 9, 2005

When I applied to a 4 year university about six years after taking classes at a community college, my advisor at the university told me that all my bad grades magically disappeared. He told me to calculate my GPA using only my passing grades, and not to worry about incompletes or classes that I failed because I never dropped them. I couldn't believe it, but I certainly was grateful.
posted by amarynth at 3:19 PM on August 9, 2005

Is there some sort of nation-wide university attendance clearinghouse?


That you attended a college or university is NOT protected information (that's why you'll see news stories where a reported called a school to ask about whether someone attended, and the registrar DOES respond. Your grades (for what it's worth) ARE protected information (you need to sign a FERPA release to give access to someone).
posted by WestCoaster at 8:58 PM on August 9, 2005


If I can jump in here: does this apply for non-US applicants?

Currently I am in a university in Malaysia, halfway through my first year (I had done a year of Foundation at the same uni last year, and I performed decently).

Due to some sort of referencing & plagiarism snafu at the uni, which isn't my fault, I have a "X - Needs supplementary work" grade, which is equivalent to a 0 in GPA. I could get an equivalent of a C- if I do the supplementary work (basically, redoing an essay) but right now the situation is very complicated and while I had done the work, I don't know if everything will be processed fine. As it is, I've deferred this semester to be on a study-abroad program, and our uni's very disorganized.

When I come back next sem, I would most likely finish off my first year (second semester). I may start all over again from the first year, perhaps overseas (Australia, Canada, US, wherever), but I'm wondering if the overseas unis will want to see my previous transcripts. The X grade would be a bad mark on my otherwise-OK transcript, and I'm not sure they'd accept "My uni got mixed up and graded me, only to pull back the grade and accuse me of plagiarism without proof, even though I used my own ideas, so this isn't my fault" as a reason.

Anyone have any insight on this? Can I start all over again? Will I need to get the transcripts still? I'm not worried about credit transfer, just if I myself can transfer.

(sorry if that made no sense)
posted by divabat at 7:35 PM on August 10, 2005

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