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I am in my last semester as an undergraduate and in a class in a field that I do not consider myself knowledgeable (but interested). I fear that I will be stressing rather than learning. The audited class will be a part of my final transcript, it will not appear until I am done with the class. I am also applying to graduate schools this semester, will this impact me? (It is not a part of my major, it relates to my minor, but I have fufilled the requirements for my minor so it is still an extra class, and as an auditor I do all the work (tests and assignments) and come to every class because I want to learn)

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If the course is in your major (in which case you probably can't audit it unless you have already met your requirements) or related to the field of graduate study you are choosing, auditing it might make you appear to either lack aptitude or interest in an important area if there are other reasons to question your record, such as if your grades in other courses relevant to your major are poor.

If it is a side interest, unrelated to your future area of study, then there is most likely no problem.

In either case, an admissions committee may consider it almost as if you hadn't taken the course because they have no way of assessing what your level of participation was, if you even showed up for class, etc.

(this answer applies to one course; if it seems like you audited every course you could in your undergraduate career that might say something else about you and suggest you were dodging a full workload - that doesn't sound like your situation here)

  • Ok. I somewhat fall into the second category which you have mentioned, the course is a graduate level biotechnology class and I am applying to biochemistry programs. Do you suggest that I keep the class graded although I may earn a lower grade? (Also I have taken two other graduate level classes in biochemistry and biotechnology and have done well in them, but I don't see that happening this time) – young_alum Jan 27 '17 at 21:15
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    @123mcm That will probably be for only you to decide, but I'd wait a bit and see if you get some better responses here. Obviously the best option would be for you to keep the course graded and put in the necessary effort to do well in it - if you aren't willing to make sacrifices like that to get into grad school, the actual experience of grad school is going to be quite a shock. – Bryan Krause Jan 27 '17 at 22:19
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    "I'd be suspicious of your aptitude and interest" I would assume the student audited because it was cheaper (maybe free) or because they had hit the cap on classes they could take for a grade. – Anonymous Physicist Feb 2 '17 at 0:58
  • @AnonymousPhysicist Those are some alternatives that haven't been relevant at institutions I have been at, thanks for the added perspective. I haven't heard of auditing ever being cheaper or free, certainly some instructors might allow an under-the-table audit but that wouldn't show up on a transcript in any way. In either case, I think my wording in the answer was unintentionally extreme, I may edit; I meant "suspicious" only in relation to other factors, like poor performance in other major-related courses - instead, I think it came off like it was a big deal. – Bryan Krause Feb 2 '17 at 1:09
  • I also don't know if this helps, but (1) on my transcript it will read that I took the course twice, but different topics (2)I only need one more class to graduate and it is not the course that I am referencing here (3)it is not a part of my major, it relates to my minor, but I have fufilled the requirements for my minor so it is still an extra class, and (4) as an auditor I do all the work (tests and assignments) and come to every class because I want to learn, (5) my school will denote if I don't come to class or do not fufill the requirements set forth by the instructor. – young_alum Feb 2 '17 at 12:11

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