So, I applied for a graduate program (non-thesis) which is an advanced standing program and the only way to get a masters at the university for my program. During the summer session I completed my elective classes with an A and a B. However, fall semester rolled around and I did piss poor unintentionally because I became overwhelmed due to my own mental health issues, a physical assault and a financial burden of fixing my car ($2,000) which I need in order to attend field placement which is 250 hours a semester. So working full time to ensure I had a car for my program and attending classes and placement full time just screwed me. I ended with a fail out of a pass/fail course, two additional F grades and a C, which for my program is also not passing. My program hasn't kicked me out, however, there is no way for me to graduate as the GPA requirement for the graduate school is a 3.0, and my program is only 30 hours of credits. I cannot get licensed without my degree and the director of the program appears to be sympathetic to my situation but I don't think I have anywhere to go from here. I have never made below a B before in undergraduate or graduate work. I am in their MSW program but I am afraid I cannot continue in the program with hopes of getting a degree here, and my graduate level GPA will have only the one piss poor semester and an okay 2 classes over the summer. I want to continue but I am not sure if I can reapply or if my GPA will haunt me and ruin my chances of getting any Masters level degree. (I also did not withdraw or drop out of the program because I am a child who aged out of the foster care system and have no biological or legal guardians who could financially support me and I have been surviving off of working and budgeting financial aid.) Any advice would be appreciated, I am currently just really lost and stressed as I do not know what I can do from here.

  • 1
    Welcome to Academia.SE, and sorry to hear about your troubles. Unfortunately, this is a Q&A site; it's difficult for us to give general advice since we have limited knowledge about your situation. I suggest you speak with a trusted professor in your program to evaluate your options. For example, perhaps if you do well in the spring semester, they would allow you to repeat the fall semester and get your degree.
    – cag51
    Dec 22, 2018 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


You say the director of the program is sympathetic to you. Why not talk to them?

This may be a case where the devil is truly in the details. You might be able to take additional classes to bring up your GPA. You may be allowed to retake classes. These are the kind of high level alternative options that a program director will know. Especially with the health issues and assault, the director may have a case to file some kind of waiver. (Probably to allow you to retake one or more classes.)

You also have to be honest with the director (and yourself) about your workload & course load balancing. Is it realistic to expect that you will be able to get straight A's from here on out while working full time to pay for expenses? It sounds like that will be difficult. Check with the director about other options (a semester off, becoming part time, grants, loans).

Being proactive and starting the conversation with the director is probably the best way to move forward.

Lastly, even if you find that walking away from this program is the right, best, "least worst", or only option for now, it does not mean that this is your one and only shot at a Master's degree. My Undergraduate gpa was not stellar. I was able to show that I had matured from that time (only four years before I applied) by taking graduate level courses and succeeding in them, which led to me getting two graduate degrees (not at the same time). In my experience, grades alone are not the only thing that grad schools look at when you apply.

  • Most schools also have professional counselors (which academic directors are not) and who I think it would be useful to talk to in your case. They will have had cases like yours before and will know of university-wide resources that are available to you, including (maybe) of the financial sort that would allow you to finish your studies without having to work so many hours. Dec 22, 2018 at 5:44
  • Yeah, I've spoken to the director a few times already. But, it is looking like she doesn't know what to do as the program is new, I argue some of out policies as currently written in our handbook are not explicit or clear though. I was just needing to get through the repair of my car honestly and was planning to reduce my hours the upcoming semester but it looks like they are unsure if I should continue with the possibility of never getting my GPA high enough for the requirements. I've looked into the possibility of backdated withdrawal at this time.
    – Shayla
    Dec 22, 2018 at 15:08

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