HSB013 : I’m Dismissed From Graduate School. Please Help. My Dreams are Shattered.

Raghuram Sukumar Podcast 31 Comments

Dismissed Graduate School

Can you imagine when your Graduate Adviser says “You are going to be dismissed from the Graduate School, get ready to pack your bags and go back to India”.

Higher Education like like this beautiful, lush looking golf course when you watch the game on the TV. But, in reality, there’s patches of rough spot all over the fields.

Getting a college degree (Bachelor’s, Matser’s or Doctorate) in a foreign country is not easy as it sounds. You will understand the challenges students have to overcome to get that degree and life experience when you listen to this show.

I got the following email from a reader.

Dear Raghu,

I need your help on something, regarding graduate school here in the U.S.A. I understand, this is weird, coming from someone who you don’t know, but I do read your blogs, and was planning to write about my experience sometime. I don’t know if this email will reach you. I hope it does. I am worried about my academic performance and possible dismissal, which had never happened in my life now it is at the 2nd year of graduate school. Please reply, so that I am reassured that you can listen to me and advise. I would be very grateful for this.

After I read this email, I knew something was wrong and this person needs help. She needs help RIGHT Now. Not tomorrow, not a week later.

I asked her to reply with details about the situation and she did.

After reading her email, I asked her, if she likes to come on the podcast show, explain her situation and in turn, I would help her with my recommendations.

She agreed and we recorded the phone conversation for this episode.  Her name or university is not mentioned and you can understand why when you listen to the show.

Listen to the Show


Here’s Options I Recommended for Her


Option 1: PhD to Masters in Same Department

  • Convert from PhD Degree to Maters Degree.
  • Use the courses completed so far (in PhD) in last two years for Masters Degree Degree plan.
  • If possible, take Courses Only Degree plan instead of Thesis or Project based.

Option 2: Apply to New Program in Current University

  • Apply for related Masters Degree in the same university
  • Find similar, related degree program
  • Meet with academic adviser.
  • Talk about admission

Option 3: Apply for New Masters Degree in Different University

  • Find different Masters Degree in Different University
  • Apply with your Bachelors, Masters Transcripts
  • Include a strong Admission Essay to why you are applying for transfer
  • Get Recommendation from current advisor
  • They will ask for PhD Transcripts as well.

Option 4: Apply for New PhD Degree in Different University

  • Apply for a PhD Program in different university
  • Same steps as Option 3

Comments and Suggestions

Do you have any suggestions for this Graduate Student?

I would appreciate if you share a few words of encouragement to keep her going.


  1. Hii raghu I too facing similar situations any help would be appreciated.

    1. Author

      Vishal – Schedule a consulting call. I know these are tough times to navigate and I can provide steps and suggestions based on your needs to help you maintain status.

  2. I have a similar situation. How do I contact you? I do not see any kind of links on the website.

  3. Hi ,
    I am Soundharrya,I am a masters student in University Of Texas at San Antonio.This is my first semester here.I have been academically dismissed.I need your help.I have very less time.Please help me find a solution for this.

  4. Hi Raghu,

    This is very urgent. I have got the email from my Department head that I will be dismissed I just have only one course left to complete my Master’s degree. I have CPGA of 3.4 and the minimum degree requirement is 3 only for my university. But, I have got the grade “C” second time last semester, I have not even be warned or given some time period to leviate this problem, the prof at the final test had put me “C” and now being dismissed. please contact me I need someone to discuss this with and get clarified.

    1. Hey Dhivya,

      I was in exactly the same situation. What happened next? Were you able to find a solution?

  5. Hi Raghu!

    I faced a similar situation this year. The only difference is that I was into a direct Ph.D program. And my advisor wasn’t willing to change my degree plan to a Master’s from doctoral degree. My dismissal letter from the department came on August 23rd, while the last day to enroll for classes in my university was August 28th. I tried my best to appeal but in vain. I couldn’t enroll in any other school as a transfer student since the deadlines were over. The same with the community colleges as well. So I had only one option left- to come back to India. I’m here in India now, still wondering if I would’ve had one more chance to pursue my Master’s degree. I have been through a rough phase but I still hope I will make my dream come true some day. My parents were initially supportive, but now there’s no limit to their anger and disappointment.

    I have got a job here but I would start working in Jan 2016 only. I’m preparing for competitive exams but I feel like I’m lost. There is pressure on me to get married, which again is very disturbing since my career would be affected. I would like to know if there’s any way I can re-apply to universities and the chances of my getting admitted, given that my GPA isn’t very remarkable. Any advice would greatly help me. I’m glad I came across this post. Felt like I was listening to my own self. Thank you Raghu! Great work! Keep it going! 🙂


    1. Author

      Sorry to hear your dismissal from the school. You could have reached out to me. share your credentials, you should try for MS.

      1. I apologize for not coming up to you with this issue earlier. I had just a few days in hand to resolve my problems and I couldn’t get time seeking help outside of my university.

      2. I want to ask a few suggestions with regard to my graduate degree and I think I am about to be expelled. Is there an email that I can contact you Mr.Raghuram so that I can email personally to you. I would be indebted if you can give me some suggestions at the earliest.

    2. Author

      What is your GRE, TOEFL Scores? What do you want to study in Ms if you want to try again?

      1. Raghu,

        My GRE score is 306 and my TOEFL score is 98. I want to do my MS is water resources engineering.

        1. Author

          Find a school that offers MS and try again. when you aim for top programs, people expect high peroformance. 306 and 98 is not reflecting the academic skills required to perform at Texas A&M. Maybe you have it and unable to live upto it. but, try again.

  6. Hi Raghu,
    Very much detailed session. You provided quite number of backup plans. As you told it is better to be prepared for worst situations too. Thanks for your support to the needy people. Surely we will wish that she should get success in her career.

      1. Hi Raghu,

        I need your help. It’s very urgent. I have received the email from my Department Director today that I will be dismissed from my current Master degree program. I only have two semesters left, I really want to continue this master program. Is there an email that I can contact you personally to get advice from you. I would gratefully appreciate if you can give me some suggestions at the earliest.

        1. Author

          You can schedule a consulting call. I recently helped someone with the same situation (Dismissed after probation) and got them admit in a new school within few days before their last day to depart the USA. It may not work for everyone, but I can try. Here’s the link to schedule the call – https://www.happyschools.com/ask-raghu/

  7. First, I would say to the girl on this recording that you are not the only one singled with this kind off scenarios. As Raghu was mentioning options, these all options exist and worked for most here in US universities.

    I would like to share my story too: I had my Master’s 5 years back. Took almost 2.5 years to get graduated. As most universities have 12 courses to get graduated, ours had pre-req’s added to it (5). So to get graduated from my school I took 17 courses + 2 X English course + 1 Out-dept course (to be in 3.0 GPA, which I ended up below 3.0 and lost funding) + 2 repeat courses. In short it’s 22+ (1 hr Seminar credit) courses that I have completed to be out as graduated. I should thank all my friends for being supportive and helping as and when needed in this journey.

    Back to the point, I was funded initially for the first year and it would continue if I maintain 3.0 GPA. Few of my friends who started off with me in school had to transfer out fearing funding and long graduation period. I along with other friends had our foot in cold water. For me trouble started in second semester, grades dropped (Our school has A, B, C, .. – No A+, A-). To counter this, in Summer took out-dept course for easy A and in-dept course. Final result still under 3.0 GPA, lost funding but not hopes. Thought of making it even in 3rd Semester, but not made it through 3.0 GPA. Finally in 4th semester all with dear friends/staff support and timely advice I was able to cope-up with 3.0 GPA.

    Before start of 4th Semester, I had my options viewed and had a 1-1 with Chair of our dept and the one I was thinking off transferring to. Both chairs were really helpful in making a wise choice in my career. Out-dept chair briefed course and other possibilities and in-dept chair encouraged to stay in the same course and work hard to be back in safe path. If I would have opted out-dept I would have added atleast 1 more year to my graduation plan (3.5 years (1 year in present course + 2.5 years for new one – as I was to take pre-req’s there with regular course))

    I stayed in as I was not well planned (no new I-20’s) to handle short-comings and with good supportive friends made it through, also had a summer vacation to home country. 5th semester was good too. Finally, graduated in 2.5 years with expense of no funding for 1.5 years. Lesson’s learned, always have plan B prepped just in case, never take things for granted – only hard work pays.

    All I want to share is for such issues reach-out to the staff and they will always be there to help-out in what so ever possible and good friends, they are the ones who always be by your side and help you be who you are.

    Good Wishes.

  8. Unlucky number 13.

    Two things have to be said about this podcast.
    1. The girl on the other side has no idea how to take notes, and poor raghu has to repeat the points again and again, making the interview very long. I think it is that negligence in simple things that lead to her dismissal from the department.

    2. Her communication skills are so weak and most of the times vague. I believe she should work on her speaking skills. I do not know if it’s her tension regarding status quo that lead to her apparently poor communication skills.

    In brief, a poor podcast compared to other episodes. Raghu is not to be blamed, but the blame goes to the person on the other end. Anyway not commenting more on that since these are tough times for her and I understand what she’s going through. Just a honest opinion.

    1. Author

      Situations like this are pretty frequent in universities. Guess you will play have a blast with one upcoming interview – arrests, theft, plagiarism, etc

  9. woww!!
    really amazing interview showing practical scenarios , what happens to international student , if thing go bad !!!

    really good work Raghu , Keep it up

  10. Why run at 100mph ? When you can only run at 50mph ?

    You should equip yourself for that. Phd is entirely different. It can only be done if you have genuine interest and dedication.

  11. Hi Raghu,

    This article gives the perspective of dealing with the challenges of studying and living abroad. I did face couple of ups and downs in my graduate course but I never gave up and currently I am working in an automotive firm in US.

    1. i have not listened to the interview, so cant comment
      anyways if you are suspended from the university like i was 12 yrs ago for bad academic record….i failed…i did not understand a lot of things…
      Nor i had any desi roomate to explain things to me…
      I just purely failed and was dismissed from university so i had to tranfer and not go to india….(who told u that u have to leave to another country). Even if they put u out of status you can apply within 5 months and get a new I-20 start from there….not complicated….just a procedure….if you dont have money then apply to ESL program…
      Coming to US and making it happen now its tough….
      US is not the end of it and one does not need to slave out for years and years like 12-15 yrs for GC……Dont waste ur golden years in running after making bill gates richer…….
      Invent some product/technology…..sell ur idea….make money and run…
      dont be a victim of the system for years and years….not worth it….
      GC will come if it has to…….
      i wasted a lot of time doing stuff and making those companies richer…
      others with least education chose a different path and are far ahead of me and lot of other people….including GC holders……
      a US education is great but dont be a slave of the system till u get the green card…….

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