I am a student in engineering from a not know university. In my third year, I did an exchange in a european university. In two courses I got an A and an A+, but in the other two I got an F. The reason for this is that I had asked the administration if I could audit the courses, and they agreed and said that they would change my status. Later, I found out that they did not do it because exchange students are not allowed to be registered as audits. As a result I missed deadlines and ended up failing the course. I also did not have the pre-reqs for the course, that was the reason why I asked to be an audit in the first place. The university did not want to change my grades, but they provided me a statement (pdf) that explains what happened.

The rest of my profile is solid (over 90% GPA), excellent LORs, research experience and what I consider to be a strong SOP. How is this going to affect my graduate application?

  • 3
    Can you simply omit those results from your applications? P.S. Don't be too hard on yourself; the university staff made a mistake. You checked with them, and they confirmed that what you wanted was possible. They were being sloppy, not you. I think anyone who hears your explanation will see it that way.
    – Chris_abc
    May 4, 2023 at 7:35
  • 8
    I would try harder to have these courses removed from your transcript. Do they appear on your home institution's transcript, or only on a separate transcript from the exchange institution?
    – Bryan Krause
    May 4, 2023 at 14:25
  • Your question had accumulated several close votes, likely because you had too many details (i.e., the answers/discussion wouldn't be useful to anyone except you). I took a stab at removing some of the details...you can make further edits if you like, but recommend keeping it short and high-level.
    – cag51
    May 4, 2023 at 22:00
  • 1
    "They could check with the other university if I was present during exams (which I wasn't of course)" they wouldn't, and the other university probably wouldn't know and most likely wouldn't tell them anyway. May 7, 2023 at 3:29
  • Please do not change the core meaning of your question. If you have a new question, you can create a new post.
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 25, 2023 at 14:09

1 Answer 1


I think if you have a bad grade due to an administrative issue, you are best off resolving it with the people where the administrative issue lies. It's understandable that they have some policies about who can audit, but if you specifically asked their administration and got a different answer, you have a good case that they need to honor the answer they gave. They're not really gaining anything by having Fs on your transcript. It's possible you need to escalate to people that can make a different decision and explain how this affects you.

It's not really up to third parties to decide the issue. If ultimately nothing can be changed, okay, all you can do is explain (briefly) and hope they understand, but you certainly can't expect them to investigate beyond the materials you provide, and you don't want to spend too much time on it in your own application, you should be focusing on your strengths.

Additionally, they're not deciding on "is your application good enough" at competitive programs, where your application is the only focus. Rather, they're going to have a stack of excellent applications and have to find reasons to deny very good applicants for shaky reasons, because that's all they have to differentiate people.

Ultimately, though, the answer to the question you ask doesn't actually affect what you do. If you don't apply at all, you certainly won't be accepted. If you do apply, you apply with the record you have, not a different one you wish you had or feel you deserve.

  • @SantiagoBaz I'd try a phone call. The best time to resolve it would have been immediately after the semester you were there, but it's worth trying again now. You might need to talk to multiple people if the first person isn't able to help. If you have any documentation of your story like saved emails that would be helpful.
    – Bryan Krause
    May 20, 2023 at 15:06
  • I have been able to receive a letter from the administration of the university (official, with stamp and signature) that states that I was supposed to be registered as an audit but after that they figured that it was not possible, and that I did not have the pre-requisites for the courses. In your experience, how good an effect this could have on my application? Also, considering rest of my profile.
    – Tony2015
    Dec 6, 2023 at 0:24

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