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Articles / Applying to College / How do I Handle an Incomplete on My Midyear Report?

Feb. 12, 2009

How do I Handle an Incomplete on My Midyear Report?

Question: My counselor just submitted a mid-year report, but I have an "Incomplete" on my transcript. (I'm still making up a class because I've been sick. ) My GPA and class rank went way down because of this. I emailed him and he said he'll "see if he needs to resubmit it" after my final semester grades come out. I don't think he even mentioned to the colleges in his Midyear Report that I've been sick (which led to the Incomplete) because, even though I explained it to him beforehand, he seemed surprised when I emailed him about it. Could I ask him to resubmit the Midyear Report after my class is made up and to fully explain the reason for the Incomplete? I don't want to seem pushy, but I don't want colleges to think I failed a class for no reason either. Thanks for your advice!

Yes, ask your counselor (nicely, of course) to explain the situation and resubmit a Midyear Report once you get your revised grades. You can also write to the colleges yourself, tell them why you received the Incomplete, and give them the heads-up that an amendment from your counselor with an explanation should be forthcoming. If you go to a large public school or to any school where the guidance counselors carry a big counseling load, you can make a little bit of a joke about that in your note ... something like, "I know that officially this should come from my counselor, and--eventually it will--but with 691 students per staff member around here, you probably won't be surprised to know that things can move glacially."


Also, you might want to mention what your illness was IF it was something that admission folks won't be wary of (e.g, they might be wary of depression, anorexia, stickittotheman-neosis ;-) ... anything that sounds like an ongoing issue that you'll bring to campus with you. If your had flu, strep throat, hemorrhoids ... or whatever won't impact their community six or seven months from now ... no problem).

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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