Discuss poor grades and upward trend in secondaries?

Spongeman7

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Hello! As I am working on some application things, I was wondering if I should mention the above in secondaries that ask “Is there anything else you would like the adcom to know?”. I had around 3.1-3.4 gpa freshman and sophomore yr with a C- in an orgo class but went up to 3.7-4.0 these last two years also retaking that C- -> A. I was wondering if I should be honest and mention why I did poorly and how I improved with my upward trend, also doing better on chem section of MCAT. Or if I should just not bring up anything to highlight my poorer grades, and have my application speak for itself. Thank you!!
 
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Unless it gives you a space to specifically talk about something like that, I probably wouldn't. Your progress says a lot as is.
 
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DameJulie

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I would mention it if you have space. One app reader might read your grades only and skip the essays; while another one might read the essays first and stop there. I would mention it in case it gets overlooked the first time.
 
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M&L

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the problem with explaining things like this is that it can easily paint you in a bad light, - first of all, it focuses on the negatives. Secondly, it is easy to accidently sound like you are making excuses and it can be dangerous.
Because of this, unless you have a REALLY good reason (and "i was an idiot, but i learnt from mistakes, and got better" is not a good reason). When i say a good reason, i mean like, "i had cancer, and chemo was tough, but this is what i learnt from it, and it gave me insight, and this is why i wanted to be a doctor even more". Or, something like that. I mean the reason has to be unusual, unique, and you need to sound like you are taking FULL responsibility for what happened.
 
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Goro

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Hello! As I am working on some application things, I was wondering if I should mention the above in secondaries that ask “Is there anything else you would like the adcom to know?”. I had around 3.1-3.4 gpa freshman and sophomore yr with a C- in an orgo class but went up to 3.7-4.0 these last two years also retaking that C- -> A. I was wondering if I should be honest and mention why I did poorly and how I improved with my upward trend, also doing better on chem section of MCAT. Or if I should just not bring up anything to highlight my poorer grades, and have my application speak for itself. Thank you!!
People can see that from looking at your transcripts.

Never bring attention to a negative.

Save explanations for interviews.
 
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Spongeman7

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Dec 7, 2018
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the problem with explaining things like this is that it can easily paint you in a bad light, - first of all, it focuses on the negatives. Secondly, it is easy to accidently sound like you are making excuses and it can be dangerous.
Because of this, unless you have a REALLY good reason (and "i was an idiot, but i learnt from mistakes, and got better" is not a good reason). When i say a good reason, i mean like, "i had cancer, and chemo was tough, but this is what i learnt from it, and it gave me insight, and this is why i wanted to be a doctor even more". Or, something like that. I mean the reason has to be unusual, unique, and you need to sound like you are taking FULL responsibility for what happened.
Thank you! I may not mention it then, as there was no truly extenuating circumstances such as that.
 

Spongeman7

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Dec 7, 2018
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@Goro @M&L Looking at the disadvantaged essay, I would say my financial situation definitely contributed to my lower grades freshman & sophomore year as I was constantly looking for work and then working (won't go into details right now), but I improved my time management later and was able to retain my grades while also working. Is it okay to mention this in the disadvantaged essay? I am not looking for sympathy or excuses, but just wanted to state in a matter of fact way.
 

M&L

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@Goro @M&L Looking at the disadvantaged essay, I would say my financial situation definitely contributed to my lower grades freshman & sophomore year as I was constantly looking for work and then working (won't go into details right now), but I improved my time management later and was able to retain my grades while also working. Is it okay to mention this in the disadvantaged essay? I am not looking for sympathy or excuses, but just wanted to state in a matter of fact way.
i think its fine to mention it, but make sure it sounds more like "a growth moment because i learnt how to multitask and i will be a better doctor because of it" vs "poor me my life suck because i had to work" (i am trying to be harsh on purpose to contrast the difference, to make it really obvious). the more positive and self-aware you sound the better. Think internal locus of control vs external. does it make sense?
 
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Goro

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@Goro @M&L Looking at the disadvantaged essay, I would say my financial situation definitely contributed to my lower grades freshman & sophomore year as I was constantly looking for work and then working (won't go into details right now), but I improved my time management later and was able to retain my grades while also working. Is it okay to mention this in the disadvantaged essay? I am not looking for sympathy or excuses, but just wanted to state in a matter of fact way.
The disadvantaged essays is for event prior to going to college.
 
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Spongeman7

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Dec 7, 2018
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i think its fine to mention it, but make sure it sounds more like "a growth moment because i learnt how to multitask and i will be a better doctor because of it" vs "poor me my life suck because i had to work" (i am trying to be harsh on purpose to contrast the difference, to make it really obvious). the more positive and self-aware you sound the better. Think internal locus of control vs external. does it make sense?
Yes! The last thing I want to do is elicit pity points for some reason. It makes sense to concentrate on the positive and how it changed you for the better, thank you!!
 
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