As a 19 year old I had to withdraw from a university because of depression. However, at the time, one professor refused to let me withdraw and gave me an F. On the strength of that grade I was dismissed from the university.

I got myself together and went to DePaul and graduated Cum Laude. Now I have received an offer for an assistantship (full ride) and a stipend from the university I had to leave as a young student.

I want to teach at university level and will someday be sending transcripts on to a PhD program from my MA. Will the dismissal show on my transcript? Will it matter? I appreciate you help and input.

4 Answers 4


Undergrad and graduate transcripts are normally separate things. If you want to make sure whether the undergrad grade would show up on your graduate transcript, that's a question you should ask the school's admissions and records department.

If the F is going to show up on your apps, you could choose to explain it in your statement of purpose, or you could choose not to explain it. A single F in a single course is probably not going to cause anyone any big concerns if all your later work from other schools looks good. If you choose to explain it, you run the risk that there will be people on the admissions committee who have medieval attitudes about mental illness.

  • 6
    Admission with financial support is a pretty good sign that the effects of the withdrawal have been ignored.
    – aeismail
    Mar 13, 2014 at 8:03

Ph.D applications typically ask for transcripts from all undergraduate institutions you attended, so the question of whether the withdrawal will affect you is generally independent of whether or not you go back to that school.

That said, it's extremely unlikely that it will impact you negatively; your subsequent good work more than makes up for it. If you absolutely feel that you need to explain it in your statement, I would not spend more than a few words and be vague (after taking some time off to deal with a health issue, I transferred to DePaul where....) However assuming your subsequent work is good enough to stand on its own (and it surely is if you were accepted to the master's programme with scholarship) I would advise not mentioning it at all.


I'm going to answer your question for a general case (i.e. not the school that you are applying to but what happens in most cases).

A drastically bad mark in your curriculum is much better than a mark which is just bad. To make it clear, allow me to clear my point with an example. In my country the max you can get from an exam is 20 and anything below 10 is fail. I somehow was absent during an exam an as result, I got 0.25 for my final mark (0 is was not acceptable by the software system).

When I was applying for post-graduate studies, that 0.25 was a concern. But the fact is, the committee easily understood that this mark is somehow a particular case, they simply asked me about it and it was dealt with within 5 minutes.

The point I'm trying to make is, an inhomogeneous result in your career automatically tells that it is a particular case and it does not necessarily represent you. Moreover, post-graduate committees are more into your recent career rather than a dark point in your teenage years. Proceed with self-confidence and above all, with honesty and you shall prevail.


Usually from what I have seen, as long as you can explain yourself and be honest, you should be good. A lot of good places look at the drive you have towards your goals and fortunately professors these days are getting out of the "only-grades-matter" attitude (albiet slowly).

Please do what you want to do instead of pre-empting what may happen. I wish you all the best.

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