How do you address low grades in an interview?

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omnione

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I just read the recent Student Doctor front page article about how to address low grades during the interview. However, I'm not sure how to best talk about it in an interview that is closed-file when the interviewers don't ask any questions about school peformance or even questions about struggles I may have had in my life. During my recent interview at Iowa, they didn't me about "red flags" and the questions that they did ask were conducive to bringing up grades ("what would you do if you filled the prescription wrong"-type of questions)

I have a couple more interviews in the next two weeks (Creighton and Wingate), so I was wondering if you all had suggestions on addressing low grades with finesse and poise when the interviewer doesn't ask about grades.
 

pharmk011

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Maybe I'm confused on what you're asking... but what's the point in bringing up low grades if it's closed file? The point of closed file is so everyone is equal... the interviewers don't know anything about anyone and they are "grading" you based on how you answer questions. This is the chance to prove to them you belong in pharmacy school... despite any bad marks on your application.. so why would you bring up low grades? It's not like you're lying, they will see them when they review your application, but it might make your impression on the interviewers not as good as it could be.
 

fmbzp5

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I agree why would you bring up anything negative about yourself? Depending on the schools formula, getting an interview in the first place is a major plus. Second you want to make them think highly of you to get a positive reaction and interview score. Unless asked about it, I would keep totally quite and just express the good things about yourself.
 

nightcrawleRx

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That's a tough one but if you should bring it up or the interviewer does then make sure you are positive about the situation. Don't blame a prof or anything like that, tell them you've matured and learned from it and are now a better student because of it.
 

omnione

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Maybe I'm confused on what you're asking... but what's the point in bringing up low grades if it's closed file? The point of closed file is so everyone is equal... the interviewers don't know anything about anyone and they are "grading" you based on how you answer questions. This is the chance to prove to them you belong in pharmacy school... despite any bad marks on your application.. so why would you bring up low grades? It's not like you're lying, they will see them when they review your application, but it might make your impression on the interviewers not as good as it could be.

I didn't bring up my low grades during my Iowa interview. My fear is that when they take a look at my grades during their review, then it may be a turn-off. You make a good point, but I'm sort of wondering if its a good idea to address the issue so that they have the whole picture. Like that article on SDN's front page (I realize that it's talking about open-file med school applications), I'm wondering if its better to show the interviewer that I have my reasons for low grades coupled with stories about how I have improved and learned from the experience. If I don't address it, then all the committee will see is the grade without my interpretation about it.

I just want to do the rights things to get into pharmacy school.:D
 

pharmk011

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Well, if you wanted them to know the whole picture, try to incorporate your low grades and how you've changed/why they happened into an answer to a question they asked you. I can't really think of very many good examples... but if they were to ask you about a difficult situation or something I guess that could work. I know you want them to know your interpretation.. but the fact is these are closed file interviews... so it's hard to justify something to a group of people when they have no idea what you're talking about. You can't be like... well referring to the C I got in _________... they aren't going to know what you're talking about. I think all in all it's just going to leave a bad impression rather than a good one. Unless you failed a class... the commitee is going to see a fair number of Cs when reviewing transcripts.. I doubt they will dwell over it... You obviously have a decent enough GPA to get you multiple interviews!

Also, the interview is all about selling yourself. Especially in a closed file interview, this is the chance to show them what you've got... starting from a fresh slate. Even if it's "sneaky," if you were selling a product, you wouldn't sit there and list everything that's negative about the thing when you're trying to sell it.
 

omnione

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Well, if you wanted them to know the whole picture, try to incorporate your low grades and how you've changed/why they happened into an answer to a question they asked you. I can't really think of very many good examples... but if they were to ask you about a difficult situation or something I guess that could work. I know you want them to know your interpretation.. but the fact is these are closed file interviews... so it's hard to justify something to a group of people when they have no idea what you're talking about. You can't be like... well referring to the C I got in _________... they aren't going to know what you're talking about. I think all in all it's just going to leave a bad impression rather than a good one. Unless you failed a class... the commitee is going to see a fair number of Cs when reviewing transcripts.. I doubt they will dwell over it... You obviously have a decent enough GPA to get you multiple interviews!

I had to retake an accounting class, but I got an A. I also have an incomplete that I'm resolving this semester. Does that change the situation a little?:)
 

KellyBean

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I just follow the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. It's not like everybody that got accepted has straight A's.
 

rani630

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Your grades, essay, PCAT score, etc. got you far enough to get an interview. At that point, if they don't ask you about your grades, I personally don't think you have to mention it as it was already factored before inviting you for an interview. In one of my interviews, when the interviewer mentioned my grade trend, my answer was, "During the first two years of undergraduate, I had a number of personal issues which I had not yet learned to separate from my academic life. I was immature at that point in my life but I have learned a lot and know from my work and volunteering experience that pharmacy is what I want to do and that when I put my mind to it, I can perform well." I then used recent examples to show how I have been able to handle a tough course load and still come out on top.

A professor of mine told me that when asked about any blemishes on your academic record, the main thing to do is not to lay blame on other people and show that you can take responsibility for your results. Hope this helps!
 

rani630

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Your grades, essay, PCAT score, etc. got you far enough to get an interview. At that point, if they don't ask you about your grades, I personally don't think you have to mention it as it was already factored before inviting you for an interview. In one of my interviews, when the interviewer mentioned my grade trend, my answer was, "During the first two years of undergraduate, I had a number of personal issues which I had not yet learned to separate from my academic life. I was immature at that point in my life but I have learned a lot and know from my work and volunteering experience that pharmacy is what I want to do and that when I put my mind to it, I can perform well." I then used recent examples to show how I have been able to handle a tough course load and still come out on top.

A professor of mine told me that when asked about any blemishes on your academic record, the main thing to do is not to lay blame on other people and show that you can take responsibility for your results. Hope this helps!
 

aer12

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I had a few C's in my first 2 years of undergrad and I honestly feel that they are a reflection of how far I have come as a student. I have learned how to be a successful studier and learner. I have C's in general chemistry and B's in Organic chemisty...go figure. I have honestly explained in both interviews and essays that my transcript is a reflection of the progress I have made as a student - nothing lower than a B in the last 3.5 years :)
 

Zwigglez

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I would have taken the opportunity to discuss those deficiencies in your application. When adcoms note a blemish of any kind in your application, they usually first turn to your essays for explanation (assuming they had an optional "anything else you might want us to know" part). But since you probably didn't do that because you're asking this question, I would agree with everyone else and say don't mention it. No need to draw further attention to something negative they already have about you in their file.
 

omnione

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I would have taken the opportunity to discuss those deficiencies in your application. When adcoms note a blemish of any kind in your application, they usually first turn to your essays for explanation (assuming they had an optional "anything else you might want us to know" part). But since you probably didn't do that because you're asking this question, I would agree with everyone else and say don't mention it. No need to draw further attention to something negative they already have about you in their file.

Ugh, my Iowa secondary app had that "anything else you might want us to know" question on there and I didn't answer it. The question sounded like one of those "are you disadvantaged in some way" the way the question was worded and I didn't think about answering it there.:(

EDIT: Actually, I remember one reason why I didn't really answer the question. I figured that the question would come up in the interview again in some form, so I figured that it would be better to address it face-to-face with the people who would advocate for me during the secondary review. Big mistake.......:(
 

Farmercyst

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Ugh, my Iowa secondary app had that "anything else you might want us to know" question on there and I didn't answer it. The question sounded like one of those "are you disadvantaged in some way" the way the question was worded and I didn't think about answering it there.:(

EDIT: Actually, I remember one reason why I didn't really answer the question. I figured that the question would come up in the interview again in some form, so I figured that it would be better to address it face-to-face with the people who would advocate for me during the secondary review. Big mistake.......:(

In your case it doesn't seem to have affected you. On the application you would definitely address it there. Fortunately they didn't see it as enough of a defect to prevent the interview request. Had you not received an interview request, not addressing the grades in that section would have been a possible reason why. Lucky for you it doesn't seem to have mattered that much.
 

klampster23

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Would you mention in the interview if say you were previously dismissed from a pharmacy school due to poor academics (having a legit reason for what happened) and the impact it had on you and how you have improved so history doesn't repeat itself.

I've mentioned it in previous 2 interviews w/o them asking me about it. I've explained it in great detail in the supplementals. I feel it's too big of a thing to not mention. I thought of it as my opportunity to sell myself and why I should be given a second chance. Because I hate for a committee to just label me as "the former dismissed applicant" automatically not considering because of what happened in the past.

What do you all think?
 
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