I have taken several classes as a part-time student in several community colleges as an affordable way to complete my gen-ed requirements. I was a naive freshman back then and I thought that since the grades would not transfer to my degree institution but only credits, my grades do not matter much. I ended up doing the bare minimum for the classes and getting a BC for an intro-chem class, and a B for calc 3. These grades are not reflected on my main transcript, which is right now 3.96 overall.

I am a physics and applied math major in my junior year, and I tend to do satisfactory in my major-related classes (mostly A’s). I want to apply to grad school after graduation. I recently realized that I need to submit all of my transcripts from every institution I have been to, so I am really bothered if my lack-of-focus on these summer courses will do me wrong.

  • You wrote: "I need to submit all of my transcripts from every institution I go to." Can you decipher the exact meaning of "institution I go to"? Does it include also a college where you were taking classes on a part-time basis, while still being a full-time student at the college wherefrom you received your main transcript? I used to think that "to go to" would apply only to your "main" college where you were full-time. Please correct me if I am wrong. Commented Apr 30 at 0:40
  • By that, I indeed mean that I'm supposed to submit transcripts from "all institutions in which I have taken classes". I had the same impression you had before, until recently I realized that a lot of grad schools need applicants to submit "transcripts of every institution you have attended". However, I did not find much discussion about this on the internet so I could have interpreted it wrong. That said, if you are trying to remind me of a grammatical error, then I admit that there were heavy ambiguity in my previous post. Applogies for not proofreading my post. Commented Apr 30 at 2:34
  • I didn't mean that there was a grammatical error; but I do see quite an ambiguity in that rule. Did you take classes part-time at that other institution? -- yes. Did you attend that institution in the full sense of word? -- that, methinks, is a matter of exegesis. I used to think that to attend means to be a full-time atudent. I certainly may be incorrect in my interpretation, and you may consider seeking also other people's opinion. Commented Apr 30 at 2:49
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    @Michael_1812 "Taking classes at" is the essence of attending. I would not advise trying to wiggle out on a technicality.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Apr 30 at 16:53

1 Answer 1


It's entirely up to the admissions committee how to weigh things.

Some people reviewing your application will focus most on courses in your major that are most applicable to your degree. Others may focus on the GPA and hardly pay attention to the transcript. You'd be okay in those cases.

Bad grades early on followed by good grades is better than the opposite; it suggests learning and growth.

"I did the bare minimum because I thought I could get away with it" is a bad look, and I think it'll hurt you if someone has the same impression that you admit is reality. Grad school is a lot more self-driven than any schooling that comes before. You won't get a grade on the tasks you complete, and the dissertation will be far in the future.

You can't correct your past grades, though, you'll have to just apply with what you have. If you are accepted somewhere, though, do consider how you'll need to adjust your motivation going forward.

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