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Can You Reapply to Grad School After Failing?

Graduate school is an elite form of education that some students seek after completing and earning their undergraduate collegiate degree. Due to these expectations, graduate students are expected to perform at higher standards than average-level college students. If you have failed or been dismissed from grad school, you might wonder what happens if you fail out of graduate school?  

If you’ve failed grad school, you might be able to reapply. Eligibility is usually specific to the institution’s policies and expectations. Some schools may allow readmittance, while others will not accept additional applications from students who have failed. 

The following article will further detail in answering the question of if you can reapply to grad school after failing. The subsequent sections will also outline and describe what determines eligibility for readmittance, as well as other questions you may have about grad school. 

Reapplying after failing out of grad school.

What Happens if I Fail Out of Graduate School?

Students may be forced to stop their studies at a graduate school for many reasons. 

The most common causes behind leaving graduate school are academic dismissal or “failing out.” Depending upon the circumstances of your leaving a grad program, you may or may not be eligible to reapply (source).

Some graduate programs are very strict about their academic expectations. If you fail a single class in grad school, this will usually not signify the end of your time there. 

Most often, it will just be required that you retake the course and pass to earn your master’s or doctorate. However, if you have failed multiple classes, you may be asked to leave the program on the grounds of academic dismissal.

If you fail out of graduate school, you will need to check the school’s policies about re-admittance, which may be allowed for certain circumstances. If you are facing an illness, death, or other personal challenges that have caused you to underperform, a chance for readmittance may be offered. 

The best way to find out whether you would be eligible to reapply is to talk to your admissions counselor and advisors. If it has been stated that you will not be allowed to reapply, this does not mean your graduate school dreams are wholly crushed, and you should give up. 

There are several ways to get back on track if your goal is to earn a graduate degree. 

What To Do if You Have Failed Out of a Graduate Program

If you’ve failed out of a graduate program, you might have options. You might just decide to get a job using your bachelor’s degree. Or, you might want to reconsider your plans for grad school. You can even try getting your graduate degree online.

Let’s discuss these options.

Talk to Your Counselors and Advisors

The first step you should take if you are failing out of grad school is to discuss it with your school’s academic advisors. Regardless of your failure, these people are here to help you. 

They are the very best resource to figure out your next step to reach your scholarly or career goal. Communicate your plans to them, and they will make recommendations based on their years of experience. Remember, this is what they get paid for. 

Get a Job

Regardless of your desire to reapply, most of the time, the best thing you can do after failing out of grad school is to get a job. This is a great way to take some time and recuperate after not succeeding in a graduate program. 

Jumping to get right back on that horse is usually not the best idea. 

Whether it be due to lack of effort, experience, or ability, there is a reason you failed in graduate school. Getting a job in your desired field is a great way to take a break and work on what may have caused you to be unsuccessful. 

Reconsider Your Plans

Another thing to consider if you have failed out of graduate school is if this is indeed the path you want to take. 

Of course, even though failing out of grad school may feel like a relatively large failure, getting knocked down once does not mean you must give up altogether. If you are sure about the future path you want to take, by all means, get right back out there and try again. 

However, if you are uncertain or hesitant about reapplying to a graduate program, you might want to consider alternate paths or options. Remember, if you are determined to reach your goal, there is never just one path to success. 

Not only this, but you may want to consider reapplying to a different institution or program. 

If this was not the right fit for you, take a step back and look at all the options for graduate programs. There is one out there that is a perfect fit for you. 

Why Is Graduate School So Challenging? 

Graduate school is so challenging because the foundational idea of grad school is to achieve a higher and more specific academic status in a more focused area of study. People who attend graduate school are doing so to become professionals in their desired career field. 

Graduate programs are made for the best of the best, so their programs are complicated. Unfortunately, it is far easier to fail out of grad school than you might think. Due to the programs’ natural higher standards, high academic achievement is demanded in a grad program. Late assignments, for example, may have much harsher repercussions that you are used to.

Most programs will only allow students who have “A” and “B” grades to continue studying in their program. Earning a “C” grade in a graduate class is the same as earning an “F” in an undergrad program (source). 

Is Graduate School Right for Me? 

Graduate school is not a good fit for every type of student. If you are unsure of your career path or are not looking to take on an excessive amount of work, you might want to delay attending graduate school or even consider an alternate route for your education. 

Grad school is not just advanced undergrad. 

Undergraduate school has a much broader focus of study. Especially if you have attended a liberal arts school that emphasizes general education courses, being in this educational institution means that you will not only take courses in one subject. 

This is not the case for graduate school. Your course of study will be extremely limited to some specific field. This means that if there are areas of your desired career path or focus you do not excel in, graduate school might be a struggle for you (source). 


If you fail out of graduate school, you might have other options. You can reapply to the same school, but you can also reconsider your plans or get a job instead. 

There is another option that this article has not yet addressed. If you are intent on getting your graduate degree, you can find a suitable program online that you can get into. Check for those that are accredited by the distance education board.

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