jpeterman13

ISU CVM c/o 2014!!
Jun 20, 2009
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Ames, IA
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Could someone give me an example of something that they can write in the explanation statement? Is it supposed to be as succinct as the personal statement? I feel like whatever I come up with just seems like an excuse. I have had a lot of health problems throughout school, so I suppose that would be an explanation... but then I worry that mentioning that would be looked down upon. I have a friend who just started med school and she had had knee surgery recently. So they made her get a letter from her surgeon saying that she was OK to start med school. Albeit my issues were far different than a knee surgery, it is a concern. Also, I am a worrier, which only exacerbates this whole process.
Thanks!
 

sumstorm

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If the issues have been resolved, you can simply state that "X occured due to a resolved medical issue that affected me from x/xx-y/yy."

That is what the ADA counselors teach disabled individuals returning to the work force (learned while I was helping former hubby return to work after dialysis/transplants.)

I don't think the regulations are the same for educational institutes as for work places, but work places can't ask questions concerning a statement like that, other than 'are you able to perform the required tasks now, with reasonable accomodation?'

I did have to sign a statement to that affect to attend NCSU. Something that said I was able to perform the duties required with a list of specific concerns from the school. It was a standard form.

I wrote something like 'I worked FT+ throughout college, while attending FT, due to the inability of my parents to assist with financing, including co-signing for loans or providing the EFC, which affected my GPA. In spite of the additional demands on my time, my GPA increased over the 4 years of college and I graduated summa cum laude with research honors.'

So, in my opinion, brief, clear, ending on a positive note.
 

JustCats

UC Davis SVM c/o 2013!
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May 21, 2008
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Explanation for what? What are you trying to justify? I don't see how health problems alone need to go in that section. Did you have poor grades as a result?

I feel like whatever I come up with just seems like an excuse. I have had a lot of health problems throughout school, so I suppose that would be an explanation... but then I worry that mentioning that would be looked down upon.
 
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david594

The-OSU CVM c/o 2013
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I used it to explain how my poor grads during undergrad was because I was lazy. No excuses.

I then mentioned that I felt my time spent after graduation as a second bachelors student was a more accurate represenation of my abilities. That during that time I was going to class full time taking purely science classes, working full time, and maintaining an A average.
 

nonvideas

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Feb 9, 2007
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You don't need to write anything in that space, and if you don't have something that legitimately requires an explanation, you should leave it blank.

Use it for brief, non-whiney explanations of things like "Why I took time off from school," or, as others have mentioned, injury or illness history that has legitimately hampered your education or veterinary work experience. Don't use it to explain why you got a B instead of an A in a course, or why your GPA was "only" 3.9. Don't use it to further sell yourself. If you have an illness that has NOT hampered your educational experience, I'd leave it out. Keep in mind that there are other ways to work "explanations" into your application, particularly in your personal statement. If something comes off as too excuse-y, maybe it would work better worked into your personal statement.

I used it to explain a C- on my transcript, for which I had a pretty reasonable explanation (at least, I think so...). In retrospect, I'm not sure I should have done that, but that's OK.
 

feadog

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The explanation statement can also be used if you have taken courses at schools other than your primary undergraduate college. The VMCAS instructions say that the student reported GPA should be the one from your primary college and others should be included in the explanation statement.

Last year, I wrote ".The student reported GPA listed in the Background Information section is my Boston College GPA, per the application instructions.."
then listed my GPA at each other school where I had taken a course, and listed a total overall GPA combining all grades at all schools (I had 3 different schools at that time and one course in progress at a 4th school).

It was also the only place where I was able to list my minor in Philosophy, as there were only spaces for majors on the main portion of the application. Maybe that's changed this year?

Finally, my undergraduate GPA wasn't that great so I explained my weaknesses and how I had worked to improve them in a paragraph.
 
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gone2dogs

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Jul 15, 2008
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Would it be at all appropriate to use this section to explain what is different this year compared to last year's rejected application? I sort of want to make sure that it is clear that I took the file review info to heart and improved those areas, but not sure if this is the place to do it, or if I should at all! Maybe it is better to not draw attention to the fact that you are a re-applicant?
 

twelvetigers

stabby cat
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Mar 12, 2008
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I would not draw attention to your status as a re-applicant. Especially since some schools have interviews where they can only see experiences and statements (but not GRE scores or GPA... OR the fact that you've applied previously).
 

Pomona2006

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As a non-trad, I used my explanation statement to explain why I made the choices I made with respect to where to take my post-bacc science classes (at a CC so that I could more easily afford to not work and spend all my time in class and volunteering). If I didn't make those choices, there is no way that I would have had a chance at vet school for c/o 2013.

Also, since I applied with a measly 5 science courses under my belt (all at CC) and not much experience I wanted them to know what I had planned for upper-division coursework as well as gathering more experience.

__________

As for the way you word it - as someone previously mentioned, it needs to be very matter of fact and not emotional.

Of course, if a medical issue has been resolved - explain that. If the issue has not been resolved, explain how you plan to cope so as to prevent your grades from dropping.
 

quantized

UC Davis c/o 2014
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My mother is getting all worked up wanting me to explain why I am leaving one profession to app vet school. I don't feel this is an appropriate place to discuss this. I have it briefly mentioned in my ps (ie "I was doing X but decided that wasn't right for me" etc), and I think that if they want to know morethen they can ask me in the interview. Opinions?
 

Pomona2006

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I struggled with this. I felt like I needed to explain what happened in my life and why I changed fields but ultimately I decided that it was best to recognize that I had switched but not feel the need to justify it. That's not really important. If you've been taking the courses and getting the experience then it's hard to say you're not committed.

One thing I would suggest is to mention how what you learned in your previous career (experience, skills, etc) will be useful to you as a vet.
 

quantized

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I struggled with this. I felt like I needed to explain what happened in my life and why I changed fields but ultimately I decided that it was best to recognize that I had switched but not feel the need to justify it. That's not really important. If you've been taking the courses and getting the experience then it's hard to say you're not committed.

One thing I would suggest is to mention how what you learned in your previous career (experience, skills, etc) will be useful to you as a vet.
Yeah that's sorta the tactic I took with saying how I plan to use my engineering experience in vet research and product development. The vets I've had read it thought it it was clear - just mom called and got all worked up about it this morning. I guess I won't think too hard about it. Thanks!
 

turnandburn

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I would not draw attention to your status as a re-applicant. Especially since some schools have interviews where they can only see experiences and statements (but not GRE scores or GPA... OR the fact that you've applied previously).
I'm not sure I agree with this. They will find out about you as a reapplicant- you can't hide it from them. And there isn't anything wrong with reapplying! :) Reapplying shows you are committed to getting in!

I used this section to objectively explain a few things on my application. The rest of the space I used to address the fact that I was a reapplicant, and the things I'd worked on improving from the first 2 rounds, to show my dedication and how I'd improved myself. I absolutely used it to sell myself! Nothing wrong with that! :D
 
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Pomona2006

UC Davis SVM c/o 2013
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Believe it or not, as close as I am with my parents and as much as they are loving and supportive, I didn't let them get involved in PS/explanation statements. I know that they are usually the ones that will say, what about this and how about that, etc...and eventually drive me crazy given the strict character limit. After I got accepted, I let them read them of course (since it obviously did the trick and they can't legitimately make suggestions anymore).
 

Pomona2006

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The rest of the space I used to address the fact that I was a reapplicant, and the things I'd worked on improving from the first 2 rounds, to show my dedication and how I'd improved myself.
I think this is exactly what I would do if I were a re-applicant. You want to tell them what you've done to improve so that they're not wondering what has changed since last year. And if you've got more changes planned, tell them those as well!
 

sumstorm

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Believe it or not, as close as I am with my parents and as much as they are loving and supportive, I didn't let them get involved in PS/explanation statements. I know that they are usually the ones that will say, what about this and how about that, etc...and eventually drive me crazy given the strict character limit. After I got accepted, I let them read them of course (since it obviously did the trick and they can't legitimately make suggestions anymore).
No way on earth will my folks see my PS, explanation statement, or any other admissions essays. They didn't see any of mine for consortium schools, for college, or for vet school. My father, over christmas dinner at a large (>30 person) gathering, chewed me out for a typo in a single sentence email to my mother. I typed "Teh" instead of "The." He told me, in no uncertain terms, that my laziness and carelessness would prevent me from ever succeeding or going anywhere in life. He would drive me INSANE. Don't get me wrong, I love my folks, but they are my biggest critics, probably why I push so hard, and they can add a ton of stress to any process. Also, as much as I admire and respect them, mom was a D student in HS and dad quit school for work at 16, so they aren't really familiar with what a PS for school is all about.
 

quantized

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My parents are pretty sharp people so I generally trust their opinion. It's weird, mom and I have gotten to be pretty good friends now that I'm almost 30. I'm pretty lucky, really!
 

sumstorm

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LOL. My folks and I get along very well...as long as we are about 12 hours apart! They had me young and it was a real struggle for them, plus their own parents weren't stellar examples of parenting methodology. I learned some really important things from them...some philosophies to live by.

Mom taught me that 'every cloud has a silver lining, and sunlight always casts a shadow' and dad reinforced the concept that a 'masterpiece can only be understood when one can appreciate both the larger vista and the intricate details.; They also always raised me to do my best, with the idea that I could figure out how to do just about anything if I did the leg work and research to get there.

But I didn't need additional stress waiting or school acceptances created by hearing their commentary on my writing!
 

david594

The-OSU CVM c/o 2013
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LOL. My folks and I get along very well...as long as we are about 12 hours apart!
And parents are why we have out of state school options. When our in-state school is just a little too close to home.
 

JustCats

UC Davis SVM c/o 2013!
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May 21, 2008
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I agree with you.

My mother is getting all worked up wanting me to explain why I am leaving one profession to app vet school. I don't feel this is an appropriate place to discuss this. I have it briefly mentioned in my ps (ie "I was doing X but decided that wasn't right for me" etc), and I think that if they want to know morethen they can ask me in the interview. Opinions?
 

shelterURIgirl

UC Davis c/o 2013!
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I also agree, the explanation statement should not be used to explain why you changed careers unless your situation is very unique. Like if Buffy the vampire slayer decided to switch careers and become a vet, well then she might be advised to use the explanation section. :laugh:

I think the best use of the explanation statement (for health issues) is ONLY if there are clear and defined time period(s) where your grades dropped. If your grades took a plummet for a quarter or so then returned to normal, this is something people can relate to. However, if you had iffy grades off and on for a couple of years, well that's not a situation that can probably be explained in a succinct manner. I like sunstorms phrase "X occurred due to a resolved medical issue that affected me from x/xx-y/yy". Thats great for something like mono or surgery. But if you have something that you cant explain, like for example you had to get a biopsy on a potentially cancerous lymph node and the insurance made you wait 2 months which caused extreme distraction and anxiety, thus causing your grades to plummet fall quarter, then (assuming you don't have cancer) you could change the phrase to say something like "From Xdate-Ydate I had health concerns that affected my ability to focus on my studies." :)



My mother is getting all worked up wanting me to explain why I am leaving one profession to app vet school. I don't feel this is an appropriate place to discuss this. I have it briefly mentioned in my ps (ie "I was doing X but decided that wasn't right for me" etc), and I think that if they want to know morethen they can ask me in the interview. Opinions?
 

bunnity

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Like if Buffy the vampire slayer decided to switch careers and become a vet, well then she might be advised to use the explanation section. :laugh:
:laugh::laugh:
Well maybe she could hire Spike as her vet tech. I bet he'd be great at drawing blood.

/buffy dork
 

shelterURIgirl

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LOL, but it wouldn't be complete without Anya singing in the background: *I have a theory, it could be bunnies!!*

Sorry, couldn't resist!:corny: I have to admit, its always been a secret fantasy of mine to hijack a thread with references from buffy. Thanks bunnity, for making the fantasy real!:laugh:

:laugh::laugh:
Well maybe she could hire Spike as her vet tech. I bet he'd be great at drawing blood.

/buffy dork
 

bunnity

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LOL, but it wouldn't be complete without Anya singing in the background: *I have a theory, it could be bunnies!!*

Sorry, couldn't resist!:corny: I have to admit, its always been a secret fantasy of mine to hijack a thread with references from buffy. Thanks bunnity, for making the fantasy real!:laugh:
Haha that is one of my favorite episodes. My best friend and I have the soundtrack to it and listen to it in the car. I probably shouldn't admit that. I'm sure Buffy would be a great exotics vet, with all the strange beasts she has experience with. I bet she's the only person who can list experience with shark-mafia-men on her VMCAS.
 
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