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I'm applying for grad schools (in the US) for next fall, and am currently a graduate student elsewhere (again in the US). This semester I was on a leave (with a research position at a third place), and the original plan was to take courses again in the spring semester, so I registered for those courses. Now, it seems more likely that I'll stay longer in my current research position and continue to work on my projects here. So, it seems like there is a high chance that I'll end up extending the leave and dropping my spring semester courses, but I'm not yet certain about that, and that probably won't be finalized before I submit my applications (also it probably won't be finalized before the deadlines either).

So, I am submitting a transcript with the next semester courses ("in progress") on it, because that was my original plan (and arranged with my department), and right now, that's my official transcript. But I think there is a considerable (and increasing) chance that by the time I (hopefully) get the offer and am required to send the updated transcript, my transcript would be different and won't have those courses.

Here is my question: When I fill in the application forms, in the end, I need to confirm that there is no "false or misleading information" in my application and that I understand that giving such information can result in revoking my admission offer. I was wondering, is my current transcript considered "misleading information"?

++ I did not mention that I attend or don't attend the spring courses anywhere in my application, or whether I'll continue staying in my current position or not (because that's still unclear). Perhaps the only piece of information in my entire application that could relate to that is the "valid to" date on my mailing address, which is the date I was supposed to leave my current position according to the initial plan. Could that be misleading? Should I change that to the most likely date (which I actually don't quite know when it would be to be honest)?

+++ In case it matters, chances are I might continue working on my projects in my current position until the end of the academic year, and never go back to my current department (if I get into a Ph.D. program this year). I don't think that has anything to do with my question, but I said it just in case someone thinks it does.

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It is pretty unlikely that anyone would consider it improper. Things change. If your information is accurate when you submit it that is all you can do. It is what it is.

But you might get questions on why you dropped the course(s). Be sure you have an honest and accurate answer for that.

And if things change while you have an open application, just update the institution when you know the new situation.

  • So, should I update them with the change if I learn about it after submitting the application, but before receiving the decision? (They often write "Please don't send updated transcripts") – user116928 Dec 2 at 18:49
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    Don't send what they specifically say they don't want. But for any drastic change you probably need to let them know. Hard to judge the particulars from a distance. – Buffy Dec 2 at 18:52
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I think it's very very unlikely that enrollment in these courses will be meaningful to your application, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. It's also very unlikely that your enrollment in certain courses, rather than evidence of your performance in those courses, would affect your admission.

The two exceptions I can think of are prerequisites and work towards a degree you would complete. If you said you were going to finish a degree (like a masters degree), and did not actually finish your degree, it would be possible that your admission would be rejected: it would appear as a failure as such. Similarly, if these courses are prerequisites for admission and you don't complete them, your admission could be rejected. In both cases, the issue is not completing the work rather than changing plans.

In your case, the programs you are applying to almost certainly have their own course requirements and unless you fall into the exceptions I mention I can't see any likely issue. If anything, it might be better to emphasize the research work you expect to do between now and matriculation, but I wouldn't worry if your current transcript shows courses for the next semester that you may not actually attend.

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