I’m looking to apply for my MCS at a well-known North-American university – the same university where I completed my BCS with honors. My grades are good, more than sufficient to get into an MCS program. My BCS GPA at completion was a 3.6.
However, I was young and especially dumb in university. I won’t go into details, but I’m lucky to not be in prison right now. My professors and instructors fought hard to keep the university from expelling me. I owe another group of staff who kept another entire department calm. There was no property damage, injuries, or anything like that. I was supposed to be on permanent disciplinary probation for it, with the understanding that any misstep would result in my permanent expulsion. However, my official transcript shows “in good disciplinary standing” after a year. I was never placed back on probation.
There is no avoiding that blemish (and nor should there). There isn’t a single instructor, professor, assistant dean, associate dean, or dean who doesn’t know what happened. I have an excellent relationship with my former instructors and professors. My relationship with the various levels of the deans would be best described as non-existent, save one assistant dean.
TLDR: I made a pretty large, well-known (at the university) mistake that should’ve seen me be expelled and jailed. Instead, I was officially placed on disciplinary probation for a year. It should’ve been permanent (by transcript records). Relationship with former instructors/professors is excellent. Relationship with former dean, assistant dean, and associate dean is non-existent.
Am I screwed?
Absolutely it’s important to acknowledge my past, without dwelling on it too much. That balance will be for me and an admissions board to determine.
Any letter of recommendations I get would be from three respected professors, and two very reputable and trusted instructors. The professors haven’t been at the university as long as the instructors. The professors are important members of a research group. Additionally, I've done graduate-like work with two of them, with a couple articles published. Both instructors have the ear of the dean.
Legal office: I'm not sure how involved they were. I've only ever heard rumors that a federal agency was called. That's never been confirmed (to me). I know that the highest levels of the university administrative team (up to and including the president and chancellor) were read into what had happened.
Time Frame: within the last five years. It's recent enough that most faculty and staff who were involved remember the events and are still employed at the university. With the exception of “the other department” the only group who refused to speak to me would be my deans, with one exception.
I have made steps to make peace with everyone involved, over the years. Some of them have gone unanswered, some of them have been accepted with open arms. It varied heavily on who I’m talking to and their mood that day.
I'm not able to openly speak about what happened, that's partially why I haven't explained what actually happened here (as well as to maintain a little bit of privacy for all of those involved). In order to discuss it, I'd need multiple people to sign off on a full disclosure (partial would make it look like I'm hiding something), which given the sensitive nature is not likely to happen. Anyone in a position to make or break my application already knows the full story. They were involved from the beginning of it.
Financial support is not a concern of mine. I already have everything I need to do my research. I'm employed making a comfortable wage. My employers are in the loop of my desire to get an MCS. They're willing (but would prefer not to) to shift my schedule, as needed.