will admissions find old transcripts

Hi everyone. I have a quick question. I am just completing an AA in bioengineering and have been accepted into a very prestigious 4 year university where I will complete an BA in the same field. I have a perfect 4. gpa from the CC and should be able to finish the BA with close to a 4. I have no doubt I want to go to Med school.

The problem: there where some half hearted attempts to start college over the past decade. I attended a University once about 10 years ago, and had to drop out half way through the semester resulting in 4 F’s. Another time, I got 2 semesters in and did OK - about a 2.5 gpa, but wasnt really serious. These previous attempts at college took place in a different state, and feel like a lifetime ago when I was a different person. If I forget to include these transcripts in my application materials will anyone know the difference? I never gave them to my CC, so the slate looks clean. Do admissions boards have a way to search all the universities to see if you attended another school and are hiding it? I don’t want to be shady, but I really doubt I will get in to any med school with such a sketchy history. Should I just be honest or risk getting caught? I hate cheeters - is that what it would be? or would it be harmless? Thanks for the input.

It’s about integrity. We all report all grades, including Ws and the crappy grades from when we were 20 years old. I also think there’s a good chance adcoms could find them…linked to your SSN, federal loans/grants, etc. Honesty always. If you lie, and they don’t catch you, you still lied. If you lie and they catch you, then your dreams could be sunk.

I am banking on the fact that the adcoms will look at my application as a whole and see two very separate trends. In your case, what’s important is not what you did at the very beginning, but the upward trend and where you ended up. You can address this in your interviews or personal statement and show that you have grown as a person, etc. That contrast is a demonstration of how you have grown/matured/learned from your past. Yeah, it sucks that the old grades aren’t wiped away…but if you’re that concerned about it, you could look at programs that do grade substitution or “fresh start.” That would be the long way to go about this.

It is never advisable to hide/not report old grades. First, in this age of technology, it is becoming easier and easier for schools to check and make sure that you really did submit everything. Secondly, are you really willing to live with the ever present thought of being discovered? If it ever came to light that you lied about your academic past, you would probably booted out of medical school, residency and run the risk of sanctioning by your state medical board.

Lots of people have made mistakes in the past and have succeeded getting into medical school and doing well. Your past grades are several years ago and you have since demonstrated that you are capable of doing well academically. You would be surprised at how few schools will totally eliminate you from consideration just because of your past. You have far more to lose by hiding your past grades than by reporting them.

  • kangoroo Said:
If I forget to include these transcripts in my application materials will anyone know the difference?

Yes. YOU will know the difference.

  • In reply to:
I never gave them to my CC, so the slate looks clean. Do admissions boards have a way to search all the universities to see if you attended another school and are hiding it?

Are you willing to take a chance on this?

  • In reply to:
I don't want to be shady, but I really doubt I will get in to any med school with such a sketchy history. Should I just be honest or risk getting caught? I hate cheaters - is that what it would be? or would it be harmless? Thanks for the input.

It is cheating. It is not harmless. If you don't have integrity in representing yourself, why should you be trusted to: prescribe narcotics? explain to a family why a patient has died? deliver a baby? be responsible for your continuing education? sign a death certificate?

In the application process, you'll be asked to sign a statement attesting to the fact that it is true and complete. Maybe it's hokey, but signing my name to things feels powerful - a way of "giving my word." So yeah, it's a big deal and you need to do it right because it's the right thing to do.


I must second ALL items previously stated. I had to cough up some 20 plus year old credits from the “Community College of the Air Force” I got in 1981 and some CC credits (not great ones either) from 1983 and I WAS asked about them in the interview in 2004.

Trying to slip by is a bad MOJO, Medicine is NOT like other fields! Probably the most fundamental tenet of Medicine is being unfailingly accountable for ones actions, especially errors or failings.

Even if you get away with it initially, I can attest that if you are caught or the information turns up later… even after the fact while you are IN Med School; no matter if you have a 3.88 otherwise and a 32 on the MCAT, your plans are OVER… period.

AMCAS, will investigate the matter and the school will dismiss you wherever you happen to be in the program, and of course will enter an “irregularity” on the packet (and your file) then in turn notify your state Board of Medical Licensure; who in turn notifies the school… effectively black balling you forever.

I know a kid who was kicked out for taking a cell phone picture of some posted test results, even though it was a “joke” for the benefit of nearby friends and he had deleted them from his phone AT THE TIME.

On the contrary, if you have “F’s” from long ago and ALL your new stuff is REALLY good it is more of a demonstrated change in you and your commitment to this… Indeed, they will SEE everything and they will look at trends, if you now present something like a 3.88 or 4.0 (even if the overall is lowered by the old stuff) you are probably good to go!

Maybe he should give the grades that he had in elementary school also, i mean that is part of his past and he’d be hiding that if he didn’t give it to them right? No honestly I don’t think that they can find your grades from that other institution. There is no search mechanism like a criminal background check.


Of course he does not need the elementary school transcripts or high school transcripts either. Interestingly, one does not need to submit ACT or SAT scores.

The reason is simple: AMCAS does not require them!

However, AMCAS is not the ONLY scrutiny one is under. In these days of liability and concern for reputations (now-a-days worth multi-millions), I think most will agree, ones medical school is perhaps more intrusive. I was surprised to get a hand-full of forms two days after I was notified by mail to call and indicated by phone that I “was still interested” in attending medical school. As a condition of matriculation, these forms had to be executed and returned BEFORE the “acceptance agreement” would be sent to me. These forms turned out to be “blanket releases”, which included several “background” types of investigations for “academic records, criminal records AND credit records”.

When the acceptance letter in turn arrived to be signed, included in the fine print, was a statement that read something like this:

"If it is discovered that you have failed to disclose information otherwise required or if any irregularities in your application package are discovered and found to be intentional, it shall be grounds for immediate revocation of this acceptance agreement and will result in immediate dismissal from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. By affixing your signature you agree to hold the KUMC blameless and understand that, based on the nature of the information, it may be disclosed, without further notice, to the appropriate outside agency; including but not limited to [AMCAS], the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, Drug Enforcement Agency or other law enforcement agency as appropriate.”

I will assume that based on your post, this all came as a shock and was to some degree or another upsetting to you… sorry about that. I encourage you to look around a bit more and perhaps appreciate what we are all about!

I can share with you pretty succinctly, in just a few lines, what makes this forum so special in my eyes! There are others of course but these are the top four in my book!

First, the dissemination of the best possible information, based on experiences of a wide variety of folks, those who have pulled it off have no doubt observed many of the pitfalls (I know I have).

Next, I feel a certain duty (I know other do too, especially the forum sysops who spend MUCH more time than I could), being a bit of an outlier among outliers to share with and encourage others that this trip, if approached correctly IS doable. Many more people COULD do it than actually DO make it, sadly even tragically often for reasons that have nothing to do with intellect or in-ability to be a physician.

Also, I dig the support and collegiality of communications between members that seems “built in” here by the outstanding officers and members here. It is possible to be, at the same time, supportive and yet honest. Adults, considering this HUGE, arduous, costly and terribly risky undertaking do NOT need smoke blown upwards toward a particular posterior region of ones anatomy.

Lastly, this type of interaction IS how physicians “do it”, they share opinions and recommendations always clearly and directly and sometimes bluntly but always respectfully. It is useful to realize that the degree of “clarity and sharpness” goes up directly proportional to the distance an idea lies outside of the standard, be they “standards of care”, ethics or any other area.

Thank you for taking the time to respond everyone. I have great respect for your thoughts. I have been sick over my situation and in some ways have felt like a big “faker”, like I’m kidding myself or something - despite the fact that I’ve got virtually 100 percent on every chemistry, biology, physiology, and physics test I’ve taken since I got serious about school. I hate who I used to be, but I guess I have to claim it before I can leave it behind. Thank you, especially the docs who responded, for giving me a little clarity.

The question I have now is: I’ve already been accepted into this very very good undergraduate bioengineering program on the basis of my “edited” grades? Should I let them know or just wait for the med school apps to include the old stuff?

I saw mentioned that you should find a program that does grade replacement, but I thought that med schools did not accept grade replacement but rather went with a cum. GPA? Am I mistaken in thinking this? I started college in 2000 and was rather sketchy about it at first, would go, get great grades, then screw it up…I did this repeatedly, now I go to school, do all my homework, study, get great grades and do not screw up. I know I have to work twice as hard because of my failings in the past and I’m willing to explain that anyway I can but I can’t hide it…I don’t want to lie and I don’t want to be the type of doctor who got where I am on a lie.

From what I read on the site, MD schools look at cummulative GPAs while DO schools will look at grade replacements. There is apparently some fine print associated with the latter. A search should provide info on this topic as it was discussed a fair bit during the summer.


Lynda, and every body else…

‘Grade replacement’ or whatever else you call it is a very misleading term. DO schools are more forgiving of old grades, and they only use the ‘new’ grades for GPA calculation purposes. But it doesn’t mean that the new grades replace the old ones! You still HAVE TO report all the grades!

You might have known it already, but I just wanted to stress the fact that ‘replacement’ doesn’t really mean ‘replacement’.


I’m just catching up again on the posts and there isn’t anything new to add to what Mary and Richard B. have said. Don’t hijack your own integrity. Don’t cheat or lie in this process. The results are swift and final and career-ending. And, you’d be surprised at how many “friends” contact an admissions office to “inform them of a problem” [with some other applicant]. Usually these are anonymous letters but some are actually signed, verified, and bring unpleasant consequences to the applicant so accused.



Quite a few folks had a bad start in school for one reason or another. The important thing is that you finished strong…showing that you do have the aptitude. No school will turn you away if your MCATs are good and you finished your undergraduate work in superman form.

Dr Walker

This is good to know. I went to school right after I graduated high school. I was 17 and not at all ready for college. I struggled through two rough years with a lot of C’s but since returning to school (I went back when I was 24) I have had a 4.0 but I have been really worried that my previous academic mishaps would seriously harm my chances at med school.

Actually, when I was an undergraduate admissions counselor, the financial aid office oftentimes dug-up through their databases students who had attended other schools before but were trying to hide that fact from the admissions office. We also had a state tax auditor (we were a state school) come in and go through students’ tax records. He found, like the financial aid office, students who had attended other schools before but were trying to hide that fact from the admissions office.