Help! Bad semester undergrad previous program

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7+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2015
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I am currently preparing to apply to PT programs, but I am a little afraid of a bad undergrad semester. In undergrad, I was in nursing school for a semester, but had to withdraw due to grades. I experienced a lot of outside problems that semester, that reflected in my academics. So my question is... will programs avoid my application, even if I have outstanding observation hours, great GRE, 3.3 Overall GPA and a 3.7 prerequisite GPA?

I understand they could possibly look at it in regards to my ability to handle the pressure of PT school, since I was once in one of the states' best nursing schools. Personally, it is not a reflection of my ability, but life happens and I have learned from it.

Any suggestions on wording to explain the semester in my essay?


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There's a section in your applications where you will be able to explain why your grades doesn't match your academic capabilities. Like you said, I would explain your circumstances behind the semester, as well the lessons you gained from the bad semester if I were you. Maybe you can incorporate your nursing experience in your personal statement as well. Be careful to not put the blame on others, though. I have a friend who plans to explain that his chemistry professor was responsible for his bad grade, and I've been telling him that it's not a wise decision just for one grade. It does sting when things don't go as planned, but when there's a will, there's always a way, remember that. Isn't it a bit too late to apply this year,though? Are you thinking next year?
I completely agree with the above post. A bad semester generally isn't an issue if your overall stats are good (and yours sound great!). Accept responsibility for that semester, consider what things were in your control and how you will respond better the next time. Spend some time thinking about that semester and discover those deeper reasons it was a struggle. For you, because your stats are so good and it was only one semester (versus a bad 2 years or something), I would address the semester in the application but I wouldn't put too much discussion into it (i.e. a few sentences would be fine....not giant essay). I fear that would draw more focus to something that might not even stand out in your total application. Then, be fully prepared to discuss the semester in interviews.
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Be honest. Also, be prepared. PT school is more rigorous than nursing.
Thank you for all the replies! I was pregnant at the time and dealing with emotional and physical issues, so I hope they'll understand!

@kato3 Thank you!! yes, my application will be for 2017 cycle.
@starrsgirl Thanks! I didn't really think about limiting it to a couple of sentences. I have already started somewhat on my essays and have about two paragraphs, detailing the semester. I will definitely trim it.
@Azimuthal Thanks! I know PT is a different beast lol:happy:, but I am in a better position and ready for the challenge!
Obviously it depends on the circumstances and such....there may be things that can't be explained in a few sentences. But, just one bad semester combined with strong overall scores is not a big deal. So I hate to see you make it a big deal to admissions.
@newstart34 Nice! I'll be applying next cycle as well! Where do you think you will apply to? It's never too early to start researching schools.
@kato3 Agreed! I would like to apply to every school lol, but I live in Tennessee so i'll definitely apply to the five schools here. Also, I am considering applying to six schools out of state (GA, VA, CA, TX). How about yourself?