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DOA anywhere with an academic IA? Thoughts on how to discuss this IA?

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Seihai

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You'll be fine. This isn't going to be viewed on the same level as an IA given for academic dishonesty or criminal activity.

As long as you've been making good grades since freshman year and have shown that you've moved past your academic difficulties, I might even hazard this as being a good sign of resilience and rising to the challenge in the face of academic hardships. Your withdrawal to a different program can be framed in a positive light as you determining the best path forward to succeed and having made it to the point of being an otherwise competitive applicant, showing good decision-making and understanding your options.
 
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brockhamptonfanacct

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You'll be fine. This isn't going to be viewed on the same level as an IA given for academic dishonesty or criminal activity.

As long as you've been making good grades since freshman year and have shown that you've moved past your academic difficulties, I might even hazard this as being a good sign of resilience and rising to the challenge in the face of academic hardships. Your withdrawal to a different program can be framed in a positive light as you determining the best path forward to succeed and having made it to the point of being an otherwise competitive applicant, showing good decision-making and understanding your options.

Thank you for replying; this was quite compassionate and helpful!
 
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Hi friends; thanks as always for taking the time to read.

Background: I was in a specialized program and received a D in a singular course my first semester of freshman year, which resulted in me being placed on probation for this program. I will be including this as an IA on my application, of course. The rest of my freshman year in this program was a bit turbulent (one C in a summer science course). I had an academically subpar freshman year, to be blunt.

Recovery: After freshman year, I have taken 19 credit hours per semester in both the fall and spring semester with a 4.0 in both. These were not blow-off semesters; they included courses like calculus, organic chemistry, genetics, etc. I did this while maintaining hundreds of hours of a part-time job, several volunteer positions, research, shadowing, etc (I had no ECs freshman year except extensive shadowing).

Questions: I don't have any remarkable (or even good) explanation for why the IA happened. Truthfully, the answer is that I had coasted through high school relying on a decent memory and an ability to make quick connections come test day. This strategy had yielded me good grades so far, and I was so utterly unprepared for college coursework (especially in this program) that it is embarrassing in retrospect. I did not know how to study, tried out a few different strategies over the course of the year (garnering me a 3.8 GPA second semester of freshman year), and then found myself at a loss with how to proceed in the summer science course.
  • Is it appropriate for me to briefly give context on the fact that I have since learned how to study effectively? I know this is evident in my grades, but I would like to make it clear that I held myself accountable for a mistake that cost me a lot and turned myself around in the best way I knew how.
  • I have since withdrawn from the program and worked to complete my undergraduate studies elsewhere. I am struggling with how to explain this so I don't seem like a quitter; I didn't quit entirely, just pursued my goals diligently but in a different direction. I have several reasons contributing to this decision, including a car crash during that one summer science course, my advisors consistently reminding me that 2/3 of the people in my position won't make it through the program, the stigma and uncomfortable remarks I endured from my classmates, etc. I earnestly wanted a fresh start to make things better and redeem myself--and I have.
  • Would this render my app DOA at any places/alternatively, are there any schools that are more forgiving after seeing growth and upward trends?
    • Anticipated cGPA: 3.75
    • Anticipated sGPA: 3.65
You will be fine. I would keep the explanation simple and BRIEF. Nothing is worse than reading a page long explanation about getting busted by campus police with a beer or having a bad semester.
 
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bananafish94

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Is this actually an IA? Usually that's referring to something where you received disciplinary action for something like cheating or other violations of the university code. You might consider discussing with your school whether or not this is something that actually needs to be reported. Nobody will care if they read this since you haven't really done anything wrong, but there might be a small risk of your application getting filtered out automatically because you checked the box.
 

drducky.

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Is this actually an IA? Usually that's referring to something where you received disciplinary action for something like cheating or other violations of the university code. You might consider discussing with your school whether or not this is something that actually needs to be reported. Nobody will care if they read this since you haven't really done anything wrong, but there might be a small risk of your application getting filtered out automatically because you checked the box.

I agree. You should ask your school about it. I had something similar freshman year where they automatically put anyone with less than a 2.0 on “academic probation”. I contacted my school about it and the assistant dean offered to write me a letter stating that our form of academic probation isnt actually an institutional action in case any schools asked.
 

brockhamptonfanacct

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Is this actually an IA? Usually that's referring to something where you received disciplinary action for something like cheating or other violations of the university code. You might consider discussing with your school whether or not this is something that actually needs to be reported. Nobody will care if they read this since you haven't really done anything wrong, but there might be a small risk of your application getting filtered out automatically because you checked the box.

I agree. You should ask your school about it. I had something similar freshman year where they automatically put anyone with less than a 2.0 on “academic probation”. I contacted my school about it and the assistant dean offered to write me a letter stating that our form of academic probation isnt actually an institutional action in case any schools asked.

Hey, thank you guys for weighing in! I've consulted several people and have heard unanimously that it was an IA. Also, AMCAS says it's any sort of action that results from unacceptable academic performance, so I think I'll stick to being safe rather than sorry down the road. For what it's worth, my school was a BS/MD program; the counselors seem to think it is an IA.
 
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