What to Do If Expelled as an Undergraduate

by Tom Lutzenberger

If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of being expelled as an undergraduate student, it is not the end of the world. You can still get a higher education and related degree, however, you’re going to need to be a bit more creative and apply yourself more to your remaining alternatives.

Check for a Second Chance

Many undergraduate schools don’t really want to be on record that they have expelled someone. They provide education as a business and losing a student means losing the viable income that comes from the four or five years the student is enrolled. Although many schools have expulsion processes to maintain performance standards, they also have an appeal process. If you can convince the appeal review board that you should be given a second chance, you may get readmitted on a probation status that is heavily monitored. If expelled, you should always check to see if this option exists in your particular school. Many students who got in trouble their first year away from home can salvage their higher education career using this option.

Continue Your Education and Prove Yourself

For undergraduates booted in their first year, continuing your education at a junior college helps reestablish yourself academically and proves you can produce good grades. Although you may have an expulsion on your records, if you can also show subsequent successful performance and good/excellent grades, you can then make an argument for re-admittance.

Learn a Trade

There are many work opportunities you can engage in that don’t require a college degree to get started. Skill trades (such as network technicians, electricians or crafting), sales and construction are just a few, but each of them can show your discipline and, more importantly, your ability to recover from a downturn. A few years of solid work experience can speak dividends on a new college application. It will reflect your maturity and how you have learned from your prior mistakes, improving your odds of being accepted again.

Consider the Military

If you can handle a stint in the military and gain an honorable discharge, you will not only again make yourself a viable candidate for college, but you will also be eligible for special admission preference and the G.I. Bill in terms of education funding. In addition, you will have a feather in your cap for later employment since many employers and agencies give preference to veterans when hiring.

Don't Lie About Your Past

It may be tempting to omit any reference of your expulsion when applying to a new school. Don’t make this mistake. Your application with the omission may very well get accepted at first since colleges don't always have an automatic entry check system to see if you were expelled before; they rely on your honesty and transcripts provided. However, universities and colleges access records and enrollment on existing students through shared databases. Should a school subsequently find that you lied on your application or omitted required facts, you could be expelled again--on the spot! And this sort of violation would not be provided an appeal.

Conclusion

Being expelled is not the final say on your higher education. However, you may have to find a new path to get to your goals that you didn’t previously anticipate having to take. If you are patient and persistent, you can prove your ability to perform in school and be accepted again. Appeal every chance you can, and reestablish yourself through skills and other opportunities if you need to.

About the Author

Since 2009 Tom Lutzenberger has written for various websites, covering topics ranging from finance to automotive history. Lutzenberger works in public finance and policy and consults on a variety of analytical services. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Saint Mary's College and a Master of Business Administration in finance and marketing from California State University, Sacramento.

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