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explanation for (anomalously) low grades

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by patricks, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. patricks

    patricks patrick

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    Is there a point during the application process to explain personal circumstances which affected your grades one semester? I have two Fs on my transcript from Fall semester, 2003. My fiance died 3/4 of the way through the semester from a congenital disease, and I was away from school for several weeks. I managed to have one F (physics) converted to a W, but the other two departments wouldn't permit it. The two classes with extant Fs are both 100 level introductory classes. It has lowered my GPA by ~.3 points. Does anyone know if/when during the app process there's an opportunity to present personal details explaining anomalous performace during one semester? Is it appropriate to write a note explaining as much? Should that be part of the PS? Separate from? Thanks for any insight.
     
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  3. kimmcauliffe

    kimmcauliffe Surfer Chum
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    You should get the chance for explaining during your interview. In the meantime, I would suggest retaking the classes.

    PS- my heart goes out to you. best of luck and keep us posted.
     
  4. I am truely sorry to hear about your fiance.

    I think addressing this in your PS will be very important and the correct place to do so. Make sure you mention how you were able to overcome this tragedy and your academic improvement reflects this.

    God Bless.
    Angel
     
  5. bootz

    bootz Senior Member
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    There is a place on the primary amcas for you to discuss this. It is pretty small and might not be enough space to discuss your situation. You could use your personal statement space to discuss this, however, the question is usually about "why you want to go to med school.." I would strongly recommend that you do not use this space to explain bad grades if you cannot tie it into the question.

    I am sorry about your loss. I wish you the best in the process. :luck:
     
  6. Doko

    Doko holla atcha boy!
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    I think it would be a good idea to discuss this in some way or form, but I think the MORE important question is what exactly your GPA is... because if it's still 3.5+, then I think you don't have to address it in your essay, but sub 3.5 and you might.

    The alternative is to have one of your recommenders talk about your struggle and how you persevered... (that would really help in my opinion).

    The point is... you don't want to make an excuse for it... you want to show (without saying it) that you fell, but got back up.

    Good luck to you!
     
  7. Grrr

    Grrr Junior Member
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    Good luck with everything.

    I would have to agree that either a recommendation letter or interivew (depending on GPA) are best places to address.

    Also, could you please tell me the names of the professors who refused to give you a W? I would like to drive a spoon through their eyes.
     
  8. patricks

    patricks patrick

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    Thanks, folks. Good suggestion about the recommenders. Yeah, I figured better to avoid excuses/explanations on the PS. These two grades dropped me from 3.7+ to 3.35 range, but hopefully with the coming semester I can hike it above 3.5 again. Thanks for the kind thoughts too.
     
  9. Thundrstorm

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    I'm sorry for your loss. I wouldn't wait until the interview to address it. There's usually a spot on the secondary that asks for any extra information you want the school to know, and you can put your explanation there. You want to make sure you get interviews, so don't leave the explanation until then (though it may come up in interviews anyway). I had a similar gpa drop my sophomore year (from 3.7 to 3.4), though for different reasons, and I was able to graduate with a 3.5+ gpa. Best of luck to you!
     
  10. ragda26

    ragda26 Senior Member
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    for some schools, setup an appointment with the dean of admissions to discuss your situation. they might consider it.
     
  11. happydays

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    Start pulling 4.0's in your last couple of semesters. Most admin's look for trends.
     
  12. Fermata

    Fermata Hold me.
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    I'm sure that if this is addressed on your application then adcoms will certainly take it into consideration.



    Sorry for your loss.
     
  13. BSEMD

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    From what I've heard, honesty is the best policy, and the timing is critical. You might allude to it in the PS, and make sure that your interviewer knows what really happened. They have to walk out of your interview as your advocate, not as your opponent, so don't make excuses...just be honest! I had two F's, several C's, and a D on my transcript...I even dropped out of school for two years. When I came back, I made nothing lower than a B, and not too many of those. The end result...I got accepted from my first choice school! Focus on doing as well as you can from now on. Also, do well on the MCAT to help reassure them that you're capable of handling the volumes of sciency information that they are going to throw at you.

    Best of luck,
    B
     
  14. I think someone already made reference to a section of the AMCAS where you can write about hardships/interruptions. For me AMCAS was a few years ago so I don't remember clearly myself....

    If your interest in medicine was influenced by your fiance's situation at all, it is okay to refer to it in the PS (but maybe avoid an overt reference to your grades in the PS). When you do write about it, like anything else, be clear and direct -- provide an explanation, don't try to provide an excuse.

    Definitely repeat the exact same courses and crush them. If you are concerned about your GPA's face value remember that the more units you have total the less any one course counts -- so take a full class load (no slacking) and kick @ss. But I don't think you have to worry. Good luck, I'm sure it will work out.
     
  15. UCDavisdude

    UCDavisdude WHITEBOY SLIM
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    yeah, i feel you, my girlfriend died and so did one of my close friends during mid fall 04 quarter, i was totally devistated and luckily ended up not too bad, ended up with a d+ in calc 1, c + in zoology and b+ in ochem lecture and b in ochem lab.
    im guessing, as long as the rest of your application is stellar, they will notice that something was off that qtr. and they will prolly ask you about it during the interview.
     
  16. UCLA2000

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    What a tragic experience! With two F's on your transcript I would explain it in 2 different situations. 1 under the area for "hardships endured" and the second during your personal statement. It can be quickly explained in the opening statement.
     
  17. anon-y-mouse

    anon-y-mouse Senior Member
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  18. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    I agree with anon-y-mouse, this can go in the PS if it is worded correctly. Someone you loved deeply, someone young, died. (You would not get the same sympathy for the death of an 80 year old grandfather.) You can certainly write this, including the month & year, in your PS.

    I look at the academic record first. That semester would make me say "Whoa! what happened here" I'd expect to see something in the personal statement and/or the LOR (sometimes a pre-med advisor will explain a bad situation so that there is corroboration of the applicant's story or so that the applicant doesn't have to do it himself.) explaining why things went so badly that semester. As long as the quarter is an anomoly, it shouldn't be the end of the world.
     

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