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explain a D

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by driven, May 15, 2002.

  1. driven

    driven Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    Hey guys, I got a D in Physical Chem my senior year right before graduation, mainly due to depression about not getting into med school. This is my only D, but brought my entire GPA to low 3.'s. But now, 4 years later, I am considering applying. Do I HAVE to explain it in my essay, or should I avoid it and rather address it in my interviews (if I get any) :confused:

    Can you guys please suggest which strategy will work better. I am a better talker than writer I think. But the fear of rejection because I didn't address it in the essay is giving me nightmares.
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  3. Future_Doc

    Future_Doc Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 24, 2001
    You don't have to explain anything in your essay. The essay is your opportunity to talk about something that they don't already know from looking at your grades and tests scores. I say leave it off and let them ask during an interview. Or - better yet, try to work it into the interview, like if you were asked to give them a weakness of yours, you could say "my weakness is such and such, and oh, by the way you probably noticed on my app that I got a D - here is what happend. . . ." Just a thought.
  4. Doc AdamK in 2006

    Doc AdamK in 2006 Now 2 year UB Med Doc 7+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2002
    Defintely Buffalo
    I wouldn't bring attention to it.

    If they ask you during a interview, if you want to explain anything or they make a direct reference to it. Then explain the reasons/

    Focus on the great things about you. Don't be a pessimist.

  5. Assassin

    Assassin Assassin 7+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    some secondaries ask for an explanation of any failing grades; most interviewers will ask about anything particularly bad in the transcript...but until then i wouldn't volunteer any info, esp. not in the amcas statement
  6. driven

    driven Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    You guys are beyong cool... Thanks <img border="0" alt="[Lovey]" title="" src="graemlins/lovey.gif" />
  7. Tweetie_bird

    Tweetie_bird 7+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2001
    ummmm...well, I disagree.
    I went to a seminar sponsored by an ex-UCSD admissions officer and she said that you should ALWAYS explain something out of trend on your transcript. Her words: "we people on the med school admissions committees have very imaginative personalities...if we see a blemish that isn't addressed, we start thinking ..." basically WORSE stuff than actually happened in the applicant's life (like jail, drugs etc...). Hence, it's always better to address it.

    Think if it this way, you can make that D look like it's in positive light. Tell them how determined you are about getting into medical school and how "depressed" (but don't use that word) you felt when you didn't get in when you applied 4 years ago. Tell them how it affected you to not get in at that time (who wouldn't understand this??) Tell them that in 4 years, that determination still hasn't changed and you are still applying. Make it look like it's almost a positive thing that happened to you, it made you realize that even getting D's and not getting in once is not stopping you from applying. Make them look at the D, instead of shunning it away from it to them, explain it to them, and make them look PAST IT.

    Work it, girl!
  8. doepug

    doepug Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    Don't mention the D anywhere in your application. Adcoms will find it on their own.

    If asked at an interview, don't make excuses. Even if you were feeling lousy about not getting into med school, don't cite that as a reason. Just tell them "I take full responsibility for all my grades" and that "I did the best I could during a difficult time."

    By explicitly telling interviewers that "I take full responsibility..." I got into some great med schools despite a transcript that had room for improvement.

    Good luck,
  9. vyc

    vyc Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2002
    i would emphatically recommend NOT mentioning it.
    bc like some posters above have said, it's obvious you got a D on pchem, during your senior year. there is no need to bring even MORE attention to it.
    the application essay is precious space because it's the only chance (pre-interview) for the admissions committees to get a glimpse of your personality, your motives, etc.
    (recs help too but you know yourself better than any recommender does)

    so i'd say don't mention it. it'll probably come up during an interview and you can explain it then.
  10. jonquille

    jonquille Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2002
    Do you have a pre-med advisor? He or she might be able to give good advice. I have heard what Tweetie said: That it's better not to let the imaginations of the adcoms run free. You could also pose your question to Gower, reportedly an ex (or current) pre-med advisor. His website is <a href="" target="_blank"></a> I've also read there's a woman who was the former director of admissions at NYMC and she has a page where she answers admissions questions. You can follow the link at <a href="" target="_blank"></a> Put the question to them (as well as your pre-med advisor) and see what kinds of answers you get. If it's just one tiny bad spot, I am not sure what *I* would do.
  11. efex101

    efex101 attending Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 19, 2002
    I have to agree with the above poster, go to the pre-med advisor and see what he/she says. I am sure that there have been other students in your shoes.
  12. Dr. Scandinavia

    Dr. Scandinavia Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 18, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I have a U on my transcript, which was not calculated into my GPA when I graduated. To make a long story short I stopped going to class, and retook it the following year. At that time I received an A. The problem with the AMCAS application is that both the U (=F) and the A counts, which severily affects both my science and overall GPA. I will explain this in my personal statement, because it looks unprofessional to just quit a class on my convenience. (There are many sides to this story).
    I think it could hurt me more to leave it out than to be honest about it. Hope this helps. :)
  13. xbliss187x

    xbliss187x Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Explaining one D is easier than explaining a couple of D's, C's, and an F. :(

    I can't offer any advice, but good luck though. I know if you offer your reasons and are dedicated, you will get into med school - and eventually turn out to be a great physician. Don't give up!~
  14. Chnobli

    Chnobli Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2001
    Hi Driven,

    I would not mention the D in your essay if I were you! The essay is a place where you want to write about why you want to go into medicine, and not explain a D!!

    Having a D makes you more human I think! I don't believe it will keep you from getting in anywhere as long as you are determined to go into medicine, and are able to let that show through in your application!

    You most likely will be asked about your "shortcomings" in your interviews (I was), so you should be prepared to adress them then. I agree with the above post as not to make excuses, but be honest!

    Good luck to you! Don't worry over just one D!!!

  15. I would highly recommend explaining it on your statement.

    I spoke to someone that I met at a premed fair (who was also on the admissions committee at U. of Chicago) that helped me on my personal statment and he said that you MUST MUST explain something out of the ordinary on your statment. You do not want the committee to leave it up to their imaginations or be unsure of the cause of your change in academic performance. Reason being, they need to be sure that it won't be a problem in the future.

    Also, he told me that you do not want to leave it up to the interviewer to ask because they may not know about your grades, thus not ask you about it. So, when the committee is ready to make a final decision, they have nothing to tell them what the problem was. The only way you can be 100% to convey YOUR message (not anyone else's, especially the itnerviewer's) is to mention it in your own way in your personal statement. Also, if you want to wait to explain it during the interview . . . what if they opt not to give you an interview partly because of the bad grade in one of your requirements?

    At first, I didn't want to explain anything negative in my statment, but after hearing his reasoning for insisting on including it in my personal statment, it makes sense. What you have to do in explaining it is turn a positive into a negative. Explain what you learned from the situation, and how learning what you did will help benefit you in the future, or something like that.

  16. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    I must STRONGLY disagree with some of the advice you have been given here. Here is what the dean of admissions at MCV told me to do when I had a bad semester due to my grandmother's death during final exams.

    Here is what she told me almost word for word...
    "In a few brief sentences deal with why you got a D. DO NOT WHINE about it. Just be matter a fact. We look at your grades and if we see anything bad or different from the rest of your grades, we IMMEDIATLY go straight to the essay to see the explaination. We should be able to see an explaintion in your essay."

    This is from the dean. If you know anyone in any of the admissions departments at any of the schools you are interested, ask them.

    Word of advice... Get to know the dean of admissions. They are a VERY valuable assest to the application process and can even guide you through the undergraduate years of school.

  17. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2002
    I would go with what Tweetie said (by the way thanks tweetie for contributing advice from an expert instead of making something up :D (hint hint to some other people on the board :) )). I don't know anything about this kind of thing... but I would suggest... when in doubt go with the people who know... like pre-med advisors (err... sometimes... ) and websites run by univerisities and ex-Adcom members.
    Lots of major universities have great pre-med websites that answer a lot of questions!

    Also... check to see if your univeristy has any kind of "forgiveness" arrangements that let you retake a class for a better grade. My univeristy has something like that... but it usually only helps your major gpa.

    Good luck!
  18. driven

    driven Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    Just wanted to update any of you in a similar situation. I posted the question to Gower and here's the only response I got. Any additional comments and thoughts are always welcome


    Posted by Soon to be MSI on May 17, 2002 at 01:33:38:

    In Reply to: explain a D - Gower posted by Driven on May 16, 2002 at 13:41:23:

    I wouldn't suggest you mention it in your personal statement b/c it takes up precious space (besides, it will probably mess up the flow up your essay). The personal statement is your only contact with the adm committee b/f they decide on whether or not to interview you, so you want to present them with a statement which is as positive as you can make it. You will be asked about the D during your interviews, so you can explain it then. Make sure to make it clear that you are not making excuses for yourself and that you take full responsibilty for it. If you're worried that the D will prevent to from getting into a med school, why don't you retake it at a community college or through a local university? That way, you can show the school that that semester was just a fluke
  19. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2001
    i would go with whatever gower tells you to do. it makes sense to me as well--it's ONE D, not a trend of bad grades. assuming that the rest of your grades are decent, trying to explain one bad grade out of like 50 courses (or whatever) makes you look whiny and paranoid. no one is going to screen you out based on one bad grade--it's your overall GPA that matters. use your personal statement to present the 'human' side to you.
  20. Bounty

    Bounty 1K Member 7+ Year Member

    May 16, 2002
    How bout 2 Cs in organic chem? I am really worried about those grades. I dont want to sound like I am making excuses, but my sophomore year I was sick in the hospital for a little while. Even though I only missed a week of school, I was weak and out of it for a while, And you guys know how orgo is not the kind of thing you can come from behind and memorize in one or two nights! I definitely know I messed up an I am not trying to make excuses at all.
    Anyways, I would rather not write about it in my essay because it doesnt really go with the toneand content of my personal statement. What do you guys think? Also, I got an 11 on the Bio sci section of the MCAT so maybe they will see that I have a decent understanding of the subject?

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