During the sophomore year of my undergrad, I was caught for academic dishonesty. As part of the punishment, I was given an F of x (x denotes "for academic dishonesty") for the class in which I cheated and suspended for a semester. I was eventually allowed to remove the x from the transcript with a written request to the registrar. However, due to the suspension I was forced to withdraw from about 5 classes, for each of which I received a "W" on the transcript. In all honesty, I took the suspension pretty hard and viewed it as a wake up call. I started working harder than ever before. My grades after the suspension were some of the best on my transcript. Although my overall GPA was 3.3, my GPA for the last two years (post-suspension) came out to roughly 3.7-3.8
Apart from this stain on my transcript, I have an otherwise excellent profile. I have a GMAT score of 740, 6 years of professional consulting experience, and above average community involvement. Furthermore, I believe that I can get good letters of recommendation.
1. Can someone comment on how this suspension will affect my chances?
2. How should I address this on my app?
Do you think that the best approach is to volunteer this information about my suspension in the app/interview? I don't think there is anyway to prove that the "W"s are due to the suspension, so it is possible that the admissions committee may not even notice.
On the one hand, I have the option of being forthcoming. Volunteering this information may allow me to write a compelling story around it. I can show how I was able to put this behind me and let it positively affected me and my work ethic. It is also possible that the admissions committee may never find this out at all without me volunteering this information. In such a situation, this approach would prove to be self-destructive.
My other option is to wait and see if the admissions committee confronts me about it. Doing so may either mean that the admissions committee never even suspects this and ignores the issue altogether or that the committee does catch it and confronts me about it. The latter would almost certainly be perceived as an attempt to hide the truth. Consequently, they may not even consider me for an interview let alone an admittance.
I'd appreciate some feedback. Thanks!
You have to address it and discuss its impact on you. I don't believe it would be an automatic ding since it was a long time ago you seem to have gotten the message. You made a mistake. You paid a signficant price for it. And you appear to have learned from the error and moved on. Plus it was about 8 years ago. don't spend your whole app dwelling on the experience, but do address it forthrightly and focus more on the impact (off your transcript.)
They will notice 5 withrawals and an F on your transcript and want to know why you had them for that semester. You need to address it either in an optional essay or in some other question (failure, growth experience, or? )
You should be able to write a strong essay about this experience, and that's what I think you should do. That's better then leaving them wondering. Remember, many interviews are blind (the interviewer does not review your app before the interview) so they couldn't easily ask you about that semester.
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