I entered a nursing program in my 40s. One semester my mother became very ill, I was the only one to care for her and resulted in my failing. I was able to retake that semester. The last semester, a very close family member committed suicide. Needless to say, I was very distraught. I failed that semester. There is a two fail limit for that program and other area schools so I can not complete it. I learned so much and have many clinical training hours that I have added to my resume. Do I explain on my resume WHY I failed? I was making all As, until these unfortunate events. I feel like my resume looks I wasn't smart enough to pass or had quit.

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    You put down the positives. If they want to know why you stopped, they'll ask in an interview.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 13, 2017 at 16:22
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    @gnasher729 why don't you make that an answer. It's right on point. Jan 13, 2017 at 16:33
  • @gnasher729 Your comment is the answer.
    – Neo
    Jan 13, 2017 at 17:02
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    Possible duplicate of How to put unfinished education on a resume
    – gnat
    Jan 13, 2017 at 17:07
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    You might want to check with your school about making an exception to the "two fail limit". Given the circumstances, you might be able to find a way around it. Jan 13, 2017 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


Do I explain on my resume WHY I failed?


Resumes are not the right place to provide explanations for things you feel are negative. Resumes should be filled with facts, and positive information - nothing more.

In the education section you should include the college, major, and years you attended. Just don't indicate a degree, as that would be a lie.

If you are applying for positions that don't require a degree, and the issue comes up during interviews, that's the time to explain why you haven't yet completed your degree requirements and what you are going to do about that (if anything) going forward.

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    Not only should you not mention it on your resume, you should not go into unnecessary detail about your reasons during the interview. It's enough to say that your attendance was interrupted due to a family emergency.
    – Roger
    Jan 13, 2017 at 20:48

Be very carefull with how you explain this. I'm very sorry but if I were interviewing you I would get the idea that your personal problems absolutely disrupt your work.

I know how this is, I've been in a similar situation, and I'm not at all criticising you, but if you can try to find more "capitalist" answers. Focus on how economically disruptive these were, if any specific situation made you fail an specific exam, etc.

A general "I was very distraught" doesn't sell quite well.

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