So this is the first time I am posting on this website, so I am sorry for any possible breach of etiquette.

I have just finished my first year with a cumulative GPA of 3.55. However, with that I have also received an F on 1st year Writing due to late submission. The excusable reasons were lack of motivation and the pressure from 3 cumulative finals, but the main reason was my procrastination habits. I wonder if grad schools will single out this F as me being a potentially irresponsible person, or will they overlook it if I get good results on most of the other courses. Also, will redoing this course with an A helps the overall outlook of my portfolio much?

I appreciate if anyone can share any anecdotes about accepted grad students with an F or two in their portfolio so that my conscience would stop gnawing on me.


1 Answer 1


It depends on the school you apply to, but it's usually not a big deal to have one failure in first year. I am making the assumption that by "first year" you mean literally first year - as in this is your first year in university and last year you were in high school.

I can speak with confidence only from a Canadian perspective, so please see what others say from around the world. The vast majority of schools in Canada require you to maintain a certain average in your final two years of study in your undergraduate program, and the first two years are not considered. I have at least two colleagues who failed more than one course in their undergrad first and second year and were still admitted. See here as an example of what these admissions requirements are.

Doing a cursory glance at some international schools, the "last two years" thing doesn't appear to be universal but the admissions requirements are. For example, TU Delft in the Netherlands requires a minimum 75% overall GPA and "scores in key subjects to be good", which I presume is dependent on the program see here. No mention on failing grades and no inadmissibility is mentioned due to a failure.

Since it depends so much on where you apply, I can't say with 100% confidence that you will not have any troubles with your F. However, I can certainly assure you that you are not the first person who failed something in first year and still got in to grad school.

A more serious question you need to solve for yourself, probably with help from your academic advisors if they exist where you are, is how to recognize and prevent this from happening again. Failing a course basically means that there is a pattern of behaviour throughout a school term that led you to that state. Unless your writing course had a single, 100% final, it's unlikely that you were surprised by the failure. Recognizing the patterns early will help to prevent this again.

  • 2
    Thank you for your eye-opening final paragraph. The professor has warned me about getting an F if you do not submit the final papers on time but I still half-ignored it and focused on the main ones since my major is Biochemistry. I really need to solve my problem of procrastination soon.
    – Esyvir
    May 16, 2019 at 14:08
  • 2
    "I really need to solve my problem of procrastination soon." sounds like the statement "I will stop procrastinating tomorrow"... Set achievable & relevant goals for each day and complete them.
    – Solar Mike
    May 16, 2019 at 15:12

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