I'm applying for a graduate school. In the application there is a question about academic history. So I have to key in the schools that I have attended previously. It's in form of:


Clearly it asks me to indicate my period of study and graduation date. It's not problem.

However, I realized that my other applications for other purposes (employment, etc.) didn't indicate clearly like this, normally it was just From-To. Therefore, I always listed as:

From:(Start of study) To:(Graduation date) [A]

I'm worried that what I have done previously is not accurate. I think I should do as:

From:(Start of study) To:(End of study) [B]

Please share some advice in this case. Moving forwards, should I use form [A] or [B] if I'm asked only From-To?

And please consider the case that if I change the approach now, would it cause confusion to the places that I have sent my other application to previously?

2 Answers 2


The form might phrase it this way to allow for differences in national education systems. Not all PhD programmes work on a cohort system where people start and finish at the same time. For example, I did my PhD in the UK and my revisions to the thesis were accepted in December 2011, so I was allowed to carry the title effective December 22; but there are only two graduation ceremonies each year and so I graduated in February 2012.

In answer to your specific question: Where data entry allows comments, I would go for Study start to Study end and manually ad a graduation date. For fixed fields, I would probably go with the date on your certificate as this would cause the least confusion.


It's possible that your attendance dates might be September 2000-December 2004 with a graduation date (due to administrative issues) of May 2005. I expect that what you've done so far is fine, but this new form gives you the opportunity to show that you graduated (for some reason) after the date you last attended. I expect that your To: and Grad: dates will be identical for most of your academic history and that this is very common and expected.

  • Thanks for advice, however I just don't want to create confusion. Following your example, in some forms I would put [From: Sep 2000,To: Dec 2004, Grad: May 2005], others [From: Sep 2000, To: May 2005]. There are 2 different Tos!.
    – gucake
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 16:42
  • @gucake, so what? These forms will go to two different offices at different institutions and will never be compared. As long as you can keep them straight, then there will be no problem. Sharing them would probably be a FERPA violation in the US.
    – Bill Barth
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 17:11

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