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How to Repair Damaged College Transcripts

Hallie Engel

For most students, college is not without its fair share of challenges. A particularly challenging course or a difficult period in one's personal life can result in a poor grade. Such a mark can drag down your grade point average and tarnish your transcript.

One way to repair a damaged college transcript is to retake the failed class

However, getting a bad mark, or even failing a class, does not signal the end of the world. Hard working, dedicated students can usually find a way to repair the damage and get things back on track.

  1. Meet with a school counselor or advisor to get advice, and begin forming a plan to deal with poor grades on the transcripts. College counselors will know the ins and outs of the system at their particular institutions and can often provide the best suggestions to help students formulate a game plan for improving their transcripts and GPA. A counselor or advisor may also be able to liaise with professors to see if they might allow a retake of a test or a resubmit of a paper that received a low mark, thus raising the overall grade for the class.

  2. Retake the course, or courses, in which poor marks were received. Often, if a student retakes a class in which she earned low grades, the prior marks will be replaced with the new ones, permanently removing the blemish from her transcript.

  3. Inquire about a pass/fail grading option. Some schools allow students to replace the grade received in any course they did not fail with a "P", standing for pass, that does not effect their overall grade point average. For instance, if a student had all As and a P, he would still have a 4.0 GPA, even if he might've otherwise received a C or D for the course which lower their average.

  4. Speak with professors directly about improving grades. If the course is still in session, there may be time to fix low marks preemptively, allowing students to avoid a retake or taking more drastic action. Arrange to meet with the professor privately and respectfully explain the situation before asking if extra credit projects, like an additional report, might be possible. If so, the points received might be enough to raise the grade.

  5. Find a tutor for the subject in question. If there are further chances to raise poor marks before classes end, like an important test, get a tutor knowledgeable in the subject area to provide extra study help. Arrange to meet several times a week, if needed, intensively studying the course material to prepare for a final exam or paper that might raise the final grade considerably if a high score is achieved.

  6. Tip

    Consider retaking courses during the summer when there are no other classes, allowing for total dedication and focus on the class being retaken.