suspended from graduate school
Student Stories

I Might be Suspended From Graduate School. Help Me or Game Over for Me.

suspended from graduate school

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This student could be suspended from Graduate School. He needs help. Can you help him?

I used to think, what is the impact of Happy Schools Blog on people’s lives.

Yesterday evening, around 8:45 PM, while I was waiting in a restaurant to pick-up food order, I was going through the unread emails in my inbox.

Questions submitted via the contact from have a prefix to it. It makes it easier to identify regular emails from questions or comments submitted via HSB Contact form.

Most of the emails that I get are  from prospective students asking about universities, GRE and TOEFL. But, once in a while, I get an detailed, well-written email seeking big time help.

Following is one such email from a reader who is facing a challenging situation with his Masters Degree.

I really feel for him and I replied to him asking for his phone number. I will be can talk to him and understand what he’s going through and help him.

As, you read through this email (below), you can see why he’s studying Masters Degree for last 3.5 years.

Before you can read the actual email ( names removed), I want to make something real clear to my readers.

When I share stories that shows the difficulties faced by students living and studying in USA, there is always a set of students who send hate emails or comments for being negative.

Here’s the deal : We don’t live in fantasy world and life is brutal. It’s very challenging for some and for others the path could be easier. I have always posted the reality ( of course with dramatic title to sell the blog post) with hopes of painting the real picture. My goal is to show what it takes to survive, learn, grow and become a better person. I can’t satisfy 100% of my readers.

Alright. Now let’s help this person who might be forced out of his school.

The Premise

I am JP. I read all your blogs and follow them regularly on Facebook. They have been really helpful, from reading about the universities and life in US to the job search.

You mentioned in one of your blogs that life in US is not easy and should be prepared for good as well as bad things.

I think I have experienced everything over here.

I am in worse situation where I might have to leave country without getting a degree after spending 3.5 years and ton of my parents’ savings (which is really hurts me).

The Background

I am doing my MS in Electrical Engineering at WSU. I came to the US in Spring 2011 in hopes of living an American Dream as many other people.

I am a non-thesis student over here. I had GPA of above 3.00 for all the semesters except one semester. But spring 2013 was the semester when things turned bitter and LIFE happened.

During spring 2013, which was supposed to be my last semester, I was taking the last course of my MS, which was the toughest one and did not receive good grade in that due to which my GPA dropped to 2.95.

That course was all over my head during the semester and also affected other things.

I took the non-thesis final exam during same semester(spring 2013), but I was not able to pass it. It was really disappointing because I was almost about to graduate within a month. So getting the GPA below 3.00 was the 2nd blow.

During this time I also applied for my OPT to start from July-2013, but I had to cancel my process. Fortunately it was not approved and was able to cancel it.

One more Year of Masters Degree

My committee decided that I should retake the course, and reappear in the non-thesis final exam. It was hard to digest that I will have to spend one more year. But due to my family’s support, I made myself strong and convinced myself that I will be able to do it.

I worked hard in Fall 2013 semester and got my GPA above 3.00 by taking the pre-requisite of the course in which I was not able to do well. This period was not good for me and went into depression due to that.

I had panic attacks due to which I had been admitted in hospital and was also consulting counselor for my depression.

I also took the course again during spring-2014 and did better in the midterm, by getting a good score.

Professor was impressed with me and due to that, I was able to schedule my final exam again during this semester(Spring 2014).

I had my non-thesis final exam last week, but again for the second time I was not able to pass it.

I worked really hard for this exam, but was really freaked out during the presentation and did not do well.

Now, I think I am suspended from the graduate program. Now I don’t know what to do?

I need to talk with grad school, if they can give me one more chance.

So I wanted to ask, if there is anyway I can stay in US without a degree and still get a job, because my GPA is above 3.00?

I have spent 3.5 years and I do not want to go home without a degree and with this much amount of debt.

These events have almost crushed me and cannot see any tunnel light in near future. I would really appreciate your help in this situation.

Hoping to get some suggestions from other readers and to hear back from you


So, that was JP.

I’m sure there are students who are reading this have gone through tough patch during your course here in USA.

How did you overcome your fears and challenges.

What do you think JP should do next?

Let’s help him with options, so he can get back on track and complete his Masters Degree.

I’m sure, everyone will agree that 3.5 years is long time to complete a degree.

Right now, JP needs help, courage and support.

My Suggestions

I know the exact feeling that you are going through.

You are in fact the second person who write for the blog who is meeting with a counselor for depression.

I have gone through the similar situations.

I think it’s your overcome your situation by becoming mentally strong with laser sharp focus. If you have ability to travel all the way from India to USA and keep with 3.5 years of  slogging and life, you should be able to face this challenge as well.

I know you are trying to find a way stay in USA.

Try to convince the school to give you one more attempt. It’s ok to spend another semester to complete a degree.

Amount of self-confidence you will get and sense of achievement you will have will be worth million dollars when you get your degree.

You will come-out of this as a better and stronger person. But, as of now, you need great courage.

Watch this video that I made 1 year back

Here’s few things you can do to be stronger and better

  • Visualize and imagine positive actions
  • Meditations will be of good help
  • Ask your counselor about self-hypnosis
  • Watch encouraging  movies
  • Practice your presentations ( 10, 20, 30 times)
  • Practice again
  • Put yourself in situations where you have to speak to a group
  • Clear your mind – take a break
  • Read Self-Improvement books
  • Stay Positive.

stay motivated

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Readers : Do you have anything else to add to help JP complete his degree?

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  1. Hang in there man, you will clear it. After all the money have spent its not the time to quit. Watch pursuit of happiness,might help.

  2. Let me see if I understood this right!! –

    Did you get a passing grade in that subject but not enough that your overall GPA remains above – 3.00??
    – If so, then you can take alternate courses and get better scoring grades in that so that your overall GPA crosses 3. I have seen many people do this. If you consult your friends in that univ, they may give you some pointers about which course is relatively easy, with a very understanding professor who can help you get a high grade to compensate. Also find out whether you are allowed to take courses outside your department (usually many univs will allow you to take one or two courses outside your dept based on your interest) and again you can see which would be a relatively easy course to get a high grade to push your overall gpa more than 3.

    OTOH if you did not secure a passing grade in that subject then you have no other choice but to appeal to the grad school and see if they will allow you to take it again. Furthermore if this is a core course, you really will have no choice. But if this was an elective, see if you can have this elective substituted with another one for the overall grade so that you meet the necessary requirement.

    The only thing I would say is you should have been careful from the beginning. A non-thesis option and managing just more than 3 GPA is really playing with fire. But it is easier to be wise after the event. Good luck, hope things sort out.

    1. OH btw another possible way – if your situation is like what I said in first case, then see if any of the other subject professor can improve your grade, maybe some additional work/assignment that you can do to earn an extra credit (usually professors will not accede to such a request, but there is no harm in asking and trying to explore if there is a such a solution – I had my grade improved by one for one course (B+ to A) and the prof did it more than a year after I had taken the course. But I had volunteered for three major experiments connected with that course during the time of the course, for which the prof himself mentioned he will give me extra credit, but took a very long time to correct because he forgot to include that in my final grade in the first place.

  3. Dont worry man!!! These things happen but be confident that you will finish your MS. Try to take some small course of some other department – In Summer or Winter Intersession they have some 2 week courses where you can easily get B Grade and bump up your GPA. Look at all the questions and suggestions by professors last time they asked to you in your Non Thesis Presentation. Every Committee member has some basic pet questions and they will pass you if you are able to answer them. Make a list of all the questions, prepare slides, answer them with a smile and you will get thru.

    1. Prepare well the questions which you failed to answer correctly last time. If you are able to demonstrate them that you understand the logic, you will pass. In future attempts for Oral exams, this is the way they do it. I have seen students passing in 2nd or 3rd attempt. Ask them for a date for Orals.

  4. JP,

    Look out for possible summer courses that you can take to bump your GPA. Also have a word with your advisor on possible course of action to rectify the grades. I have seen students take summer courses to bump up the grades.
    If not, i’d suggest reach out to find a possibility of getting a job and converting your F-1 visa to H1B visa. If it’s possible, you might get a lifeline to stay there and work out through your loans.

  5. Plus you have a counsellor,they might help you by giving you some medication or teach you to control your emotions..

  6. Dnt wry man…All will be well..Aristotle once was asked how do you define a brave warrior in a war? and Aristotle being smart and intelligent replied A brave warrior is a person in a war when everybody is running scared,he is so panicked that he stood ground and fought and in the end he is brave warrior but in reality he was so confused by chaos he forget where he was and focused on surviving…All great men has and always will have a taste of confusion,Panic,depression,Stupidity,mistake,insecurity and Dementia and they did suffered but they decided they would never commit same mistake twice…

    The best example Abraham Lincoln,of all obstacles and challenges he brought forward a great nation,a nation which is open to every one and created the rule of democracy by saying government is for people and people is for government,…

    Once you panic and cry your heart will feel light and you will see the light at the end of tunnel more clearly…

    Crying is not a shame.Once buddha said Holding Emotions is holding a burning hot charcoal in your hand,it will hurt you more but if you let it flow you will be free…

    take a three days off..Go on hiking or someplace where nothing works,no electricity nothing go n live in a wood cabin…come back n work I promise you this,you will definitely ace this thing…

  7. Hey Raghu or whoever is concern,
    I paid for the H1 B plan webinar and before I register my browser went down, and now if I go back to webinar link, it’s asking me to pay again.

    What should I do ? I already paid.

    I don’t want to pay again. Please resolve my issue.

    There is no other way to contact you so I’m contacting via forum comment.

  8. Play basketball, and listen to Eminem and 50 cent. Your situation can never be worse than their situation was. See how they rose above all the obstacles and inspired every1

  9. I have not read what other people have commented but here is mine: I joined grad school for MS in Marketing ( tough to get a job in this field- I know especially international students). BTW here is my situation, Just gave birth to a baby boy 2 months before the classes began, moved all the way from Atlanta to NY with a two year old. My 1st sem was a disaster, below 3 GPA. I didnt know what was going on and i didnt have many classes too, my course was 1 yr so, i had very less opportunity to correct myself and improve my grades, to get B (which is 3) i had to get all B+ in next sem to even out. in my college grades are based on Normal distribution. with all hardest working chinese students around me, it bacame extremely challenging, bcoz you can hard and get good grades but you cannot control others from performing well either! I really had to Slog myself to get B+ in all the papers to get GPA 3 (else i had to drop out as well). Sem 3 & Sem 4 including i was able to get more than 3 and graduate but while in sem 3&4, I had to look for jobs, atleast intership to save my OPT. But could not find any job even after one month of graduating, too many things were on stake. With only 3 yrs of exp in India, it became even more challenging, they all want min 5+ exp. But somehow was able to get a job in Aug, and now my H1B is also though. The moral of the story is: there are challenging times, but never loose hope and keep working towards it! Good Luck, if I can – you can definitely do it!

    1. Hii,
      I am giving GRE this month and I am planning to do MS in Marketing. Could you please tell me about this course. I have 2 years of experience. Will it be hard to get job? Your comment has scared me a little bit and I would appreciate it if you could share your experiences.

      1. Hello, Take the course if you are really interested in pulling something out of your degree. Jobs are secondary and important.

  10. I have not read what other people have commented but here is mine: I joined grad school for MS in Marketing ( tough to get a job in this field

  11. First of all thank you for sharing this raghu.

    Cmon JP, Don’t be disheartned. Keep your self motivated. It Takes the Same Amount of Energy to MAKE YOURSELF HAPPY or MAKE YOURSELF MISERABLE. Remember,all the struggle you are going through right now is to MAKE YOURSELF STRONGER..Take a break and start over again! things will be fine.

    As raghu adviced watch rocky(Pretty dang inspiring movie) and just keep thinking positive/keep yourself motivated,you are what your thoughts are….if you can just meditate for like 20 minutes a will happier no matter what the situation & be able to think clearly.(Atleast it does for me).

    Hope everything works out well with you.


    Manish A.

      1. Hey Raghu or whoever is concern,
        I paid for the H1 B plan webinar and before I register my browser went down, and now if I go back to webinar link, it’s asking me to pay again.

        What should I do ? I already paid.

        I don’t want to pay again. Please resolve my issue.

        There is no other way to contact you so I’m contacting via forum comment.

  12. Hello JP. I am not studying in US but my heart goes on for those like you who never gives up . Man, I am not worthy to advice you but I just that you got it all. Just follow your instinct , it will guide you. There are thousands of advice you would hear from everyone and you would keep on reading. But, you know a great plan yourself. Take that one plan and live on it. Be bold brother. All the best

  13. Hi JP,

    It may seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel but you just need around the bend to see it.
    Here are a few I would have tried:
    1. Talk to your advisor. As far as I understand about the way it works in universities – his approval / backing will go a long way.
    Ask him what your options are. Keep talking to him on a regular basis to help you keep on track with the course / preparation.
    Check if you can take up internship someplace while working towards to non-thesis exam. Some universities give you credits for internships.
    2. Talk to your counselor about techniques to help you with your presentation.
    3. It seems impossible to think about doing so but try to take a break(even if for an hour) to do something else once in a while. It will help you de-stress and might improve your focus too.
    4. Your friends are your support system. Have them listen to your presentation- if possible in a classroom or meeting environment where your final exam will be scheduled.

    Wish you the very best and

  14. I had also gone through such tough time during by BE.I pray to god that may you get one more chance and succedd in your endeavour.Read thoughts and quotes from Vivekanada easily available if you google.By best wishes are with you. All the best

  15. Hey JP, Don’t worry! This too shall pass by. Let me tell you one thing: “Grades really don’t define a person.” So just chillax, go on a 1-week holiday, to a nearby place, come back and put your focus in studies. While you are studying, don’t really study, thinking that you have to clear or something. Remove all those worries. You have taken the course, just because you were really interested in it. So, just be grateful in a way, that you are getting to do it again, and you are going to learn more about it(the more, you read, the better the knowledge). Just study out of love for your subjects. You will do really well, 🙂

  16. I don’t know much about WSU, but I think there might be courses that are relatively easier to score — like: independent study? seminars? or courses in some other discipline where you might likely get an A? — take them and improve your gpa as far as possible. May be you can also try for some internships to pay off part of your debts. For the final exam (though I’m not very familiar with), if you can get some previous years’ question papers, practice solving them — ask other students/ professors etc. Also try to talk with other students in your university to know how they deal with similar situations. I’m pretty sure there might be others too who might have had tough times here in US. (I too have felt hopeless many times with a low GPA. And now I’m struggling to get a job in my 3rd year of MS when the industry itself looks like in a hiring freeze. Still hoping for a better tomorrow). Talk/ skype frequently with your parents and close friends — if they are supportive, that might ease out a lot of stress. Good luck!

  17. Hey JP
    I can understand that how it feels while going through this phase, I have already gone through this phase you always have an opportunity to appeal for. The processes is quite easy you must have an appeal form that you need to fill and need to write a letter for why you didn’t got good grades. And then you need to contact and submit these document to your graduate adviser. After this your adviser must accept your appeal then you need to meet your dean. Most probably you will get reinstate into course i.e. you need to study again some courses in which you got a C.
    Wish you goo luck.

  18. Hey JP,

    I’m sorry to know about your situation. Its really a big challenge to not lose hope. It’s easier for us to say that don’t lose hope, but not easy for the person facing it. But only you can face this challenge. How about talking to the Professors, explaining your problem and also discussing the possible solution? And asking them for another chance?

    Best of luck!

  19. Hey JP Cheer Up!!!

    U Can do it !! Speak to your Grad school and make them convince to give one last attempt ( u have already shown what you are in mid term). Come on Dont give up !!!!

    Get hit that Degree Buddy !!! All my best wishes !!

  20. Don’t give up!!

    Do whatever it takes…get in touch with all the folks in your university….student organizations…Indian professors(assuming you are from India)….

    At the end of the day, all your effort will not go in vain….Hard work will always pay off in form or another!

    Go get that degree buddy!!

  21. Hey JP,

    I have no idea about WSU, but most of the universities let their students appeal if they are not happy with their results. Since, you’re already meeting a counselor, you do have some leverage, to go explain what went wrong and the committee can grant you an additional probationary semester.

    If this doesn’t work, go talk to your student adviser, or the Faculty adviser for Indian students association, or someone you know who has some influence and who can take up your case.

    Remember, the US education system will not let you down if you’re honest and genuine. But, if you’re trying to circumvent the system, I suggest you to transfer to a community college and do not make life hard for the students who’re going to replace you at WSU.

    Once you get the extra semester, go to your students services department and go talk to them about your problem. Almost 100 percent of the times they make recommendations to your department to consider your problem and next time you have your final, they’ll let you choose the test format, duration etc. you can opt for an oral test. Good Luck.

    1. Hello JP,
      I have been through this situation, I have been to a counselor too… The depression, the stress and the burden of debts is soo overwhelming, it crushes you.

      But I made it through, I have recently graduated with my masters degree and found a job and am finally working.
      If I can do it anyone can do it, so can you.

      Your professor can be your guardian if he believes in you, explain him your situation, convince the Graduation office that you need another chance, and what you are dealing with and how much stress you are going through. Show them the facts that you were hospitalized and all you need is one more chance.
      And once you have it, I know you can make it. Many people here have really good suggestions try them out. And yes, take a break forget all your stress n studies and do some thing you absolutely love for at least a day, relax and then get back to kicking some a** of those monster books!!!

      1. Hey JP, I have a suggestion here. I can understand the guilt and hardships you are going thru’ now. So when I read this I was wondering did you explore the opportunity of getting a CPT which could be from 6-9 months if you find a company who are willing to hire you for that long. That way you can earn as well as keep status with ease. And I’m sure max. period for MS degree completion is 3 years and happens often. Be brave and explore possibilities. You might also consider working with a professor or someone who might support and improve your chances at staying there and completing your degree. Good luck 🙂

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