Consider this scenario:

I enroll in a graduate program at X university. Then I withdraw and enroll in an equivalent program at Y university instead. A few semesters later I get dismissed from Y university due to low GPA, but can apply for readmission to the X university's program after being dropped due to non-attendance.

What are my issues here? I would be continuing my education without skipping a beat, transferring over credits from the old program, even getting a clean transcript out of the whole ordeal. This all sounds like there is something unfair with what I am doing.

  • 3
    If this is for a Ph.D. program, I doubt that X would re-admit you with your CV. If it is for a masters with no financial support, who knows? It’d look odd on your later CV when applying for jobs, but if the program is strong, it might be a net positive. Mar 15, 2021 at 14:54
  • Why all the problems? Disease? Laziness?
    – Buffy
    Mar 15, 2021 at 15:00
  • 1
    @Buffy this whole year itself
    – Layman
    Mar 15, 2021 at 15:02
  • i don't understand. Coronavirus disruptions?
    – Buffy
    Mar 15, 2021 at 15:09
  • @Buffy I have a very intriguing sob story with that as the main theme, and it also has a bit my where my low GPA is just a rounding error below the cutoff. But I want to save it for when I need to appeal. Here I just want to make sure my fallback is not some ethics violation
    – Layman
    Mar 15, 2021 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


Considering the comments, I think you are most worried about whether you might be committing an ethical infraction. If that is the case, then no, you can certainly ethically apply back to your original institution as long as you don't do so fraudulently. Whether you can be accepted or not is up to them and their practices.

But you have a steep hill to climb and success isn't foretold. It would depend on the individual circumstances, how much you are willing to reveal, and whether you will be listened to. You will probably need to find a way to make some personal appeal and find an advocate who will stand with you to seek admission. Perhaps there is someone at the first institution who can intervene in some way.

I doubt, however, that you will get a "clean" transcript out of it. The first university has almost certainly retained all of your records.


Dropping is generally a red flag to admittance groups, but could be overcome with a good reason. Be prepared for the following questions: Why did you drop? If the two programs are equivalent, why is the second one better?

There are presumably good answers: I moved home to look after a sick family member. I had a sudden loss of incoming financial support and rotated to a lower cost university to pursue my passion. I worked with faculty member XYZ on a top-tier research project, and I came with them from the first university to the second under a full ride. Sometimes the answers are still honest and fair but less flattering: "I was worried about my mental health during the pandemic and rotated to be closer to family and my support network. I did better afterwards and thrived at the second university."

You presumably have good reasons - it will depend on your ability to communicate why, and you will need more details than provided above.


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