Forum: Application & Admission (2 Comments)

Does a failed semester abroad affect my application & admission?

  • Posted by - kwadwo - on 17 March 2012 - 2:20pm


    I enrolled for a Master in Finance course in a university but failed the first semester exams so I was not allowed to continue.

    I am applying to another university from a different country.

    Is it advisable for me to mention that i failed somewhere, and if i do, how will that affect my application.

    Thank you

    • Posted by - Thomas Graf - on 17 March 2012 - 2:42pm


      thank you for your message. Well, most importantly I would carefully think about why exactly you failed the exams. The more honest you are to yourself here the more you will profit in the future. Potential reasons for failing are:

      • You did mis-understand what was expected from you.
      • You did understand what was expected from you but were not able to do it, e.g. because you lacked mathematical abilities or because you were extremely nervous etc.
      • You cheated.
      • You were ill or psychologically in a bad shape.
      • etc.

      I don't know about your school and the program. But from my experience with MBA and Masters in general, failing is very unlikely because

      • the school selects its students based on capabilities (ideally...)
      • the school has an interest that you pass: This means that at least you ususally get a second chance etc.

      So, something serious must have happended here and in my opinion you should really think about it. For instance, if you find out - by your self-reflection, by talking to people from your ex-school, by talking to friends or undergraduate professors - that you have problem with a specific mathematical problem again and again - then the likelihood that you fail again could be high. In that case you may need to train yourself in that weakness first.

      If you find out that finance is not were your strengths are in general and you also don't really like to do it - for instance, if you are only doing it because someone else wants you to do it or because you think that it brings you a lot of money later on - maybe you should question your motives behind and think about something that you like more.

      If you cheated I would think about why you cheated. Were you not able to pass or were you just afraid of it?

      Maybe you were ill or in a serious psychological condition over weeks.

      Anyway, please don't feel offended by my words. I just try to encourage you to get some value out of this failure - and the best value is self-reflection and change.

      Now, coming to your question: I always prefer the honest way. But in your case it really depends on the reason why you failed. If you, for instance, failed because of illness I don't see a reason not to say it. If the other school, however, has doubts about your capabilities it may not be a good idea to mention it. But again: In that case maybe you should first think about this yourself.

      If you really think that you can pass the Master and that the failure was just an exception or due to some external factors and if you really want to do the Master THEN I would apply again and simply leave the information about your Master study out.

      I hope that helps. Good luck,