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View Full Version : Protocol for character failing to pass their final semester of high school



vivalalauren
07-21-2012, 12:38 PM
So, in my latest WIP, my character is the target of an assault. As a result, she fails to pass her final semester of her senior year. What would she have to do to graduate? Is there any way she could retake that semester in the fall, possibly graduating the following December? What steps would she have to take to reapply to colleges? I know nothing about the GRE. Would that be a recommended course for her to take instead of the traditional school approach? I know this could be different from state-to-state, and with public verses private universities. Unfortunately, googling isnít really getting me anywhere.

shaldna
07-21-2012, 04:17 PM
This probably isn't helpful, but when I was at school there was a girl in my year who got glandular fever and missed her exams. Because it was exceptional circumstances and all she got a predicted grade based on her coursework and results to date - there was the option for her to take the predicted grade or to take the exams in the autumn.

There are processes in place here for that sort of thing, but not sure what it would be like in the US.

sassandgroove
07-21-2012, 04:59 PM
You might call a local school and ask.
And do you mean GED? I think GRE is for GradSchool.

GeorgeK
07-21-2012, 08:36 PM
It would partly depend on grades. If all they missed was the final exam and had straight A's up until that, it is possible that a zero on the final might still be a passing grade.

There's also Summer School in most of America where students can make up a class or two before the fall classes start.

lac582
07-21-2012, 09:13 PM
She may not need to reapply to college, depending on when the assault took place. In the U.S. most seniors complete their college applications during the Fall--their first semester. If they do early decision, they may hear back before second semester, too. But typically college acceptances are sent out in March or April, and they expect a response from the student by early May.

An acceptance is often contingent on maintaining your GPA in your final semester, and obviously contingent on actually getting your diploma. If you don't maintain your GPA, the acceptance could be rescinded. But if there are mitigating circumstances like a trauma, a college she was already accepted to might be willing to still let her enter on time in the Fall as long as she completes summer classes or takes her GED. Some schools/programs might even let her defer a year, but some don't allow deferrals under any circumstances.

If all she cares about is the diploma, then the GED is probably the way to go. If she actually needs those last courses for prerequisites or things like AP credit, then she can try to take them in the summer, but they may not be offered, so she'd have to wait until Fall and see if any colleges that accepted her would allow her to start in the Spring.

So I guess the *real* question is - what do you want to happen? If you want everything to work out, I think you can create totally plausible scenarios. If she's a good/unique student then it's believable that some schools will understand her situation and do their best to accommodate her.

However, if you want the repercussions of this assault to throw tons of obstacles in her way as far as getting to college, you could accomplish that by adding in something like:

1. In the Fall she applied somewhere Early Decision, which is binding. So by December she was already committed to a college program. If it was a very competitive program, you could toss in an unsympathetic admissions officer who rescinds her acceptance.

2. She's an athlete who's being recruited to a college sports program. Failing her final semester could definitely jeopardize her acceptance, because even if she finishes her diploma in time for the Fall, her 'spot' on the team could already be lost.

3. She's dependent on some kind of scholarship or financial aid that was dependent on her GPA. Even if she finishes the courses she needed, she could lose her financial aid.

Hope that helps!

sassandgroove
07-21-2012, 10:11 PM
Oh -I work at a college and admission numbers are important so they would probably bend over backwards to work with her if she had been accepted.

Kitty Pryde
07-21-2012, 10:32 PM
I don't think she'd be encouraged to do GED after finishing like 11/12ths of a traditional high school program. GED is more like for an older student, or someone with no interest in being in high school for whatever reason, like a homeschooler or a kid on a non traditional path. If she could attend summer school, she could probably finish her courswork in time for college in the fall. Even in LA, where the summer school program has been completely gutted, there is still summer school available to graduate lagging seniors. HS graduation rates are important to the district!

A kid who was admitted to my alma mater, a private school, won the big game in high school and when his teammates and fans dogpiled him, he tore an artery and had a huge stroke. He couldnt finish the year out right away. Not only did the college defer his admission by one year, they had the incoming frosh who would have been his dorm mates send him letters and cards and videos about how excited they were for him to recover and join them. Let me see if I can find the article.

http://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=34625 here it is. The school also agreed to honor his sports scholarship and have him work out with the team though he won't be able to play competitively. The kid did end up coming after a full year off.

jaksen
07-21-2012, 10:46 PM
In MA, USA

I tutored a girl who was very sick her last half year of school. I gave her what exams I felt necessary - or none at all. I questioned her orally about the subjects I tutored her in. In my opinion, she passed them all. (Plus she'd already been accepted at the college of her choice in the fall. I was accepted to mine in October of my senior year, too.)

So she went on to college that next fall. No problems. (She had also already taken her SAT's and whatever College Board (exams) she wanted or needed as requirements for the college to which she was applying.)

But back to her final year: I tutored her in everything. I often called her school (my old high school) and asked, hmmm what books should she be reading? Anyone want to give me a copy of their tests, etc. etc? Everyone said, omg just do what you want.

In other similar situations, final exams can be waived. Principal or headmaster's discretion. I've also seen finals given during the summer, in the counselor's office with perhaps a secretary proctoring the exam.

I had to take an exam in college to get my teaching credentials - but I was ill and missed it. I took it Christmas Eve in my professor's office while my father read a magazine and waited outside in the hall for me. Merry Christmas, ho ho ho, I got an A on it.

I have found most teachers/schools/authorities will work around a student's disability or issue. Anyhow, that's what we're supposed to do, right? In many states, that's the law.

vivalalauren
07-22-2012, 02:13 AM
thanks so much for all the responses. Ugh, of course I meant GED. Can you tell I have gradschool on the brain? :P

something I should have definitely mentioned previously is that my MC refuses to acknowledge her assault, so none of the schools she was previously accepted to are aware what happened. She's allowing herself to fall through the cracks and simply not caring.

Kitty Pryde
07-22-2012, 02:51 AM
If it looks outwardly like garden variety teen apathy, she would probably get some calls home and school counselor visits and then she'd be free to drop off the radar re her hs and college. She is an adult and no one can make her finish school or get to college. Most colleges are flexible with deferred admission (year off) but if you don't tell them what's up they would just assume you aren't going.

L.C. Blackwell
07-22-2012, 06:06 AM
If she's "falling through the cracks" then she could easily miss out on college. It takes a proactive approach to make up for not graduating with the appropriate credits. That is, the college will work with the student, but the student has to take charge, make requests, pursue help, etc.

I can tell you one case I'm aware of: the student flunked out of several classes and did not have enough credits to graduate--with no real excuse. The high school allowed that person to march, but didn't give a diploma until the requisite number of credits had been met through university correspondence courses and the local community college.

When the student later went back to the same community college, those credits were then applied as college credits--double use!--and counted toward the college diploma as well as the high school one. In what may be an exceptional case, the college also dated the time of enrollment from that initial "make-up" class, which meant that later degree requirements issued after the enrollment date did not apply--this was also to the student's advantage.

thothguard51
07-22-2012, 06:40 AM
Yes, colleges will work with a student who is lacking a few credits, especially if the student was already accepted.

shaldna
07-22-2012, 11:40 AM
There's also Summer School in most of America where students can make up a class or two before the fall classes start.

We don't really have that for secondary/high schools here, but a lot of universities have summer schools - I went to one at UU to retake a statistics module that I'd failed, but which was necessary for the course.




something I should have definitely mentioned previously is that my MC refuses to acknowledge her assault, so none of the schools she was previously accepted to are aware what happened. She's allowing herself to fall through the cracks and simply not caring.

This might kill it for you - if she doesn't tell anyone, and no one knows what is going on, and it's not clearly, blatantly obvious, then that makes it harder - the school will most likely pick up on her change of beaviour, if her grades slip they would most likely speak to her and her parents, perhaps a councillor, offer extra support, tuition etc. If, after all of that, she is still the same, or worse, then she will most likely be let to slip through the cracks and other kids, who are open about their problems and difficulties, will be focused on instead.

It's not that the school wouldn't want to help her, but they can only do so much, and if it's seen that there's no discernible reason, and if she isn't co-operating then they simply don't have the time or the resources to deal with it.



If it looks outwardly like garden variety teen apathy, she would probably get some calls home and school counselor visits and then she'd be free to drop off the radar re her hs and college. She is an adult and no one can make her finish school or get to college. Most colleges are flexible with deferred admission (year off) but if you don't tell them what's up they would just assume you aren't going.

I know that here everyone has the option of deferring for a year - universities know that stuff happens - people have accidents, get pregnant, have personal problems, get sick etc. It's not a big deal and a lot of folk I know deferred their place for a year and went travelling. There is also the option of deferring for a year DURING the course - and I know several folk who did this, took a year out in the middle of their degree and then came back and picked it up again, one of them had a baby and another had a lot of doubt and wasn't sure she could continue the course, so the uni agreed to let her take the year off and they held her place for her.

In my experience universities are willing to work with you.



Yes, colleges will work with a student who is lacking a few credits, especially if the student was already accepted.

Another point to consider - not sure how the US works, but over here you have conditional and unconditional offers when accepted by a university. A conditional offer is dependant on your final results, so, for example, you acceptance letter might read that you have been accepted on the condition that you achieve two As and a B. Even then, if you don't get the grades, many universities will still accept you, especially if you were just off, say an A and two Bs instead of two As and a B. I know one girl who was offered a place on her course on the strength of her predicted grades (Three As) she freaked out and completely tanked, got two Es and a D. The university took her anyway on the strength of her coursework, afterschool actvities and interview.

There's also clearing here - this is when all the 'left over' places in all the universities are pooled together. Folks who didn't get into their colleges because they didn't get the grades to meet their conditional offer, can apply to clearing for a place. A lot of folks do this every year - it matches places with students, making sure that places are filled and offering opportunities to students who fell short of the mark for their first choice. Clearing isn't looked down on, it's just another method, and often folks end up somewhere they weren't expecting and love it.

An unconditional offer is usually based on previous grades, or exceptional circumstances or talents. Very few of them are given out each year. Basically they are a guarentee of a place regardless of what your final exam results are - often you get these for athletes, or people who are exceptionally well known in their chosen feild already, or for folks who's coursework alone is going to provide them with the necessary grades. Sometimes, as was the case with me and my unconditional offer, you already have the necessary qualifications for acceptance - I had been studying outside of school and by the time I came to apply I already had the results I needed. My A Levels were just a formality.

So, basically, and I'm assuming the states are the same in many aspects - there are a lot of folk who are willing to work with you when it comes to things like this. However, as I said further up, your MC would need to be working with them too.

If she fails outright because she didn't tell anyone, then she's probably looking at loosing her college place, and retaking her exams the following year at community college (tech in the Uk)

Debbie V
07-23-2012, 07:01 PM
Social workers in US high schools are pretty on top of these changes in behavior. They would ask her friends as well as speak with her and her parents. They would consider whether drug use or depression are involved. They would recommend the parents seek outside counseling for her since depression is clear here even if the cause isn't.