Campus Life

Can a Student Start Over at College Without Revealing a Bad First Year?

Question: My student was in a large university and had a unsatisfactory GPA after one year. He was out of state and had no financial aid; we paid for everything. Can we "start over" without using these grades now?

In a situation like this it’s hard to get off scot-free with the ol’ Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell policy, at least without lying through your teeth. The problem is that almost all college applications ask candidates to name every institution they’ve attended since 9th grade, and many specifically ask if the student has attended any college. Moreover, the requisite references and transcripts will indicate that time has passed since this student was in high school. Admission officials are sure to pick up on the fact that the candidate in question is not a current senior, and they will want to know how he spent his time since graduation.

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