Grad School Disqualifiers

  • Earning Poor Grades
  • Lacking Experience
  • Falsifying Information
  • Plagiarizing
  • Breaking the Law

A graduate degree can increase employment opportunities and salary potential, but it's important to know about graduate school acceptance barriers that could derail the enrollment process. Many students pay for their graduate programs with money earned by working as teaching or research assistants. They may also receive grants, scholarships or low-interest loans. These opportunities will be unavailable to students who are disqualified from graduate school for committing any of the following transgressions.

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1. Earning Poor Grades

While some graduate programs accept students with low GPA scores, most schools are choosy about the students they select. Graduate programs are designed to train students at an accelerated pace, so students who demonstrate a lack of preparation could slow down the professors and the rest of the students. To overcome this obstacle, it may be necessary to enroll in undergraduate courses at a community college or local university until your GPA is raised to an acceptable level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the effort will be worth the sacrifice of time and money.

2. Lacking Experience

Many graduate programs require students to have real-world experience before enrollment. Students enrolling in business programs and other vocational programs are typically required to have some work experience prior to enrollment. This requirement ensures that they will be able to study at an accelerated pace without becoming disoriented by the advanced course material. Fixing this problem simply requires a year or two of professional experience in the field. Some programs may also accept internships as relevant experience.

3. Falsifying Information

As with an employment application, falsifying information on a graduate school application could be an unforgivable offense. The university's enrollment department carefully checks the information provided on each student's application before deciding whether to accept them or not. From embellished details to outright falsehoods about academic achievements, inaccurate information on the application reflects badly on the applicant and makes acceptance very unlikely. In this case, the student will have to try applying again at a different school.

4. Plagiarizing

With an instance of plagiarism on your record, very few graduate schools will consider allowing you to enroll, even if you've demonstrated that you've learned your lesson. Plagiarism could be in the form of cheating on an assignment or helping other students cheat on their work. If the plagiarism is severe enough, a student could be expelled from college with a permanent mark on his or her transcript.

5. Breaking the Law

As with plagiarism, a criminal history follows you to every institution to which you apply. A misdemeanor or petty crime committed at a young age would be unlikely to affect your application, but a jail sentence or serious conviction will probably discourage most schools from accepting you. If you're unable to find a graduate program that will accept you with a felony or instance of plagiarism on your record, you may have to pay extra money to enroll in a for-profit college.

The coursework in most graduate programs is much more advanced than the material taught in undergraduate courses, so enrollment departments are more selective about the students they choose. By eliminating or avoiding graduate school acceptance barriers, the rewards of an advanced degree could make you more successful in your profession.