Ask Kate: Must I Submit Transcripts

If I spend two semesters as an exchange student in an university and apply to grad school, how bad would it be to apply without submitting the transcript of my period there?


I am an exchange EECS major at UC Berkeley. On my first semester I didn’t had very good grades, mostly because I went through some personal problems, nothing major, but it was enough to make anxious and make me loose focus. My overall GPA here at UC Berkeley will probably be around 3 because of that bad first semester. So when I apply to grad school and mention I attended Berkeley on my resume, do you think I will still be required to send my transcripts from Berkeley? I am afraid that this not so good performance will be negative for my application. I have a good GPA back in my home institution (9/10) and it I can’t shake the felling I may have screwed my chances. Also, I will be working with a professor from Berkeley doing research over the summer, if I do my job and have a great work, would that increases my chances?

mba all transcriptsA: You have to submit your transcripts – even if you only take one class. I agree that the level of scrutiny on that poor semester will depend on the program (PhD or Master’s) you apply to.

Strategically, you can increase your chances for mba admission by getting to know the faculty and graduate admission officer at the institution you want to attend for grad school. Visit with them in person before you apply. Build a relationship. That way when it is time for you to apply, your application will stand out and you may get the opportunity to explain the poor performance beyond the supplemental essay.

Supplemental essay = Is there anything else we should know about you?

You will write something to the effect of, “My first semester at Cal is not representative of my academic abilities.”

If you have a successful research relationship with your professor and your professor is well regarded within your field – not all profs are! – then that will certainly improve your chances for future admission for discovery-oriented programs: research Master’s and PhDs.


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