Going into college I had a great record, 3.65 GPA and a 30 on the ACT and about 18 AP and concurrent credits in statistics, calculus, literature, and Spanish. However, trying to balance religious callings and duties during my first year of college left me very unbalanced academically, and as such I failed two major classes, one of which being college, a class that I had already passed in high school and was simply taking to help acclimate myself to the college environment.

The following semester was about the same. I ended up deferring for two years to serve full time under a religious calling, I was able to do this because the university is owned and operated by my church. Going back I am resolved to do better this time, but I am wondering if there is any possible way to wipe away my record of my first year and start fresh again, maybe by applying to a new college instead of transferring, is that possible? Or could I petition on part of my ADHD and Aspergers syndrome for the first year to be overlooked?

  • 5
    You are not alone.
    – JeffE
    Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 4:11
  • 2
    Not alone indeed. I started doing law in my first year, and failed. My plan was to go and work on the railway, but fortunately I continued university and eventually became a CS prof. Luckily, too, as there are fewer trains running. Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 10:55

3 Answers 3


If you do really well from now onwards, then a couple of poor years can be overlooked, for instance if you are going to apply for PhD studies.

Also, it seems that the problem is not necessarily ADHD or Aspergers; it seems to be taking on too many different activities. So prioritising your time and commitments during your degree studies seems to be the solution to the problem and then working very hard, not getting the record wiped.


Another big question here is in what classes those bad grades are, relative to your major. IF those are intro classes in your intended major, this is a very, very bad thing, as it will have to be explained to anyone who looks at your transcript (admissions committees or prospective employers). On the other hand, if these are classes outside of your major, while still not ideal, they can at least be viewed as temporary aberrations or difficulties in the transition from high school to university.

  • I actually disagree with this. For introductory classes in the major, you have the opportunity to show (by going above and beyond in more advanced classes) that the first year was an anomaly, that you do know the material, that you are persistant, etc. For outside of the major classes, it might look like you simply blow off work just because it doesn't interest you. Few employers appreciate the "lazy genius", and this can be a difficult impression to shake, even if it's not really merited.
    – wsc
    Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 19:58
  • As someone who has sat on admissions committees as well as been a student worker processing applications, I can tell you that I've seen comments like "grade in intro chem is deadly." If you fail a class that's considered important, that's a big deal. As an engineer, I don't really care what a person got in music appreciation or French literature.
    – aeismail
    Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 21:17
  • I mostly agree with that, but my point is more that if a student has a bad time in Physics II but then aces their senior E&M course, it isn't deadly. I can effectively lobby on their behalf, because something has changed and there isn't any clear gap in their knowledge. I don't care what a person got in French Lit either, but if the student doesn't care what they get in French Lit, that might indicate personality issues that will make it difficult for them to mesh with the potential advisors they are interested in.
    – wsc
    Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 16:19
  • I think we might be talking about matters of degrees. For instance, a student with a 4.0 in the major and a 3.0 outside of it is fine; I'd much rather have that than a 3.0 in and a 4.0 out. . . .
    – aeismail
    Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 19:05
  • my original major was intended to be electrical engineering, however, I altered that after I realized how poorly I was suited for the major, I then changed it to CS because i was doing very well in my CS124 class that i was required to take for my original major. despite not doing very poorly in the subject of electrical engineering I still ended up failing the class because I had inadvertently overlooked the online portion of the class which accounted for 30% of the grade, I also failed FDENG101 (advanced writing and critical thinking), but i was one of the 60% that failed that class so I Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 17:14

I can tell you from experience that one can recover from a bad first year, though it would be up to the university what options there are regarding your GPA. Having said that, it is very unlikely that the university would wipe the results without making you repeat the subjects.

You would need documentary evidence for ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome to be considered as reasons for wiping the first year's grades. Even then, I am doubtful that a university would allow it.

A major option is to learn what you can from the first year, apply those lessons as part of your resolve to do better in coming academic years.

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