Very interesting question. I would bet that there are a large number
of people that enrolled in college, had a fabulous time and compiled a
dismal academic record. Let us suppose that some few of these people,
perhaps after being asked to leave, or recognizing the handwriting on
the wall decided on their own to leave college, subsequently matured
and have committed themselves to obtaining a legitimate university
education. But how to deal with a college transcript that sheds a
pretty dismal light on an otherwise great application?
First a MAJOR caution: Almost all college and university applications
require an applicant to sign a certification that will read something
like this: I certify that all the answers I have given in this
application are complete and accurate to the best of my knowledge. If
admitted, I agree to observe all the rules and regulations of XYZ
State University. Failure to comply can result in university
Lying on an application is obviously not a great idea when, if they
find out that the applicant was untruthful, the university can take
disciplinary action. However unlikely this might be, the possibility
exists for this action to be taken at any time, no matter how far down
the line. Heres a hypothetical: Joe Doe lies on his application for
admission to Ivy League State University by not indicating that he
attended Back Water Community College, where he had gotten into a
major jam and was tossed out on his ear. Joe however, graduates from
Ivy League, has a wonderfully successful career as a state senator and
during his run for governor, the story about Back Water comes out. Ivy
League finds out about Back Water, someone from the other party checks
the record, and BOOM! Brings an action to have Joes degree withdrawn
because of his falsehood on the application. Far fetched. Well, maybe.
But recall the stink this last spring where the football coach
designee for Notre Dame was fired immediately after being hired for
falsifying his resume concerning his academic background.
But how COULD a university find out?
1. ACT/SAT report information including other schools to which
reports were sent, including when those scores were sent;
2. Financial aid reports will certainly indicate if any loans,
grants, scholarships or other forms of aid were awarded or given,
when, and where.
3. Is there a gap in the chronology contained in the application. For
example, if in community college for a year, does the application
cover that year by showing employment during that period?
NOW generally the Admissions Departments of universities understand
all of this and coming clean with them and explaining the
circumstances intelligently and clearly may actually work to the
Also, there are other alternatives. An applicant with a record that
prevents full admission to the university may be very eligible to
apply for non-degree status at the university, get some courses under
his/her belt, generate a powerful record of achievement, and then
apply for degree status at that same university.
Or apply to another university with easier entrance standards, and
transfer after a year of successful academic preparation.
I hope that this answers your question. As the old saw goes, honesty
is the best policy and in this age of Enron/World-Com, etc., there is
a heightened awareness of ethical issues for better or for worse.
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