Is this a "poor grade"?

XyZ1000

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    Hi, everyone. I have seen a number of secondary prompts that ask the writer to explain "poor grades or academic inconsistencies". Obviously, this is an optional essay, since some people may not have any poor grades. In these cases, where nothing is specified, what qualifies as needing to be explained in secondaries? Anything below a B (including B-)? A grade of C? Only if you have multiple grades of C or below? Failing grades only? I am quite confused.

    Also, in terms of inconsistencies, would a single poor grade count in this regard? Or is this question only really asking about a significant period of low grades or something like that?

    As always, thank you to all who respond for your input!
     

    KnightDoc

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      Hi, everyone. I have seen a number of secondary prompts that ask the writer to explain "poor grades or academic inconsistencies". Obviously, this is an optional essay, since some people may not have any poor grades. In these cases, where nothing is specified, what qualifies as needing to be explained in secondaries? Anything below a B (including B-)? A grade of C? Only if you have multiple grades of C or below? Failing grades only? I am quite confused.

      Also, in terms of inconsistencies, would a single poor grade count in this regard? Or is this question only really asking about a significant period of low grades or something like that?

      As always, thank you to all who respond for your input!
      This is a great question, but, to me at least, the answer is kind of obvious. What can you say about a single bad grade (however you want to define it)? I suck at organic chemistry? The professor refused to curve the final? I think no good can come from going there on one or two grades spread over three or more years.

      To me, the prompt is an invitation to explain how maybe you started slowly because you were behind because your HS sucked, or you never needed to work hard and didn't know how, etc., and, through hard work and perseverance, you corrected course as evidenced by later excellence. Or, maybe, how you had a dip one semester due to a personal issue, tragedy, etc.

      At least that's what it means to me. I'd also be interested to see what others think, especially adcoms.
       
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      Tyrese

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        Make sure to write this one carefully Op. Give it good thought and meaning. Depending on how you frame your explanation, it could be received one way or another by the readers. Best of luck.
         
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        Goro

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          Hi, everyone. I have seen a number of secondary prompts that ask the writer to explain "poor grades or academic inconsistencies". Obviously, this is an optional essay, since some people may not have any poor grades. In these cases, where nothing is specified, what qualifies as needing to be explained in secondaries? Anything below a B (including B-)? A grade of C? Only if you have multiple grades of C or below? Failing grades only? I am quite confused.

          Also, in terms of inconsistencies, would a single poor grade count in this regard? Or is this question only really asking about a significant period of low grades or something like that?

          As always, thank you to all who respond for your input!
          The prompts is asking about single or multiples Ds and Fs. Maybe a string of Cs in a sea of As. A single C or two is not worth explaining.
           
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          KnightDoc

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            The prompts is asking about single or multiples Ds and Fs. Maybe a string of Cs in a sea of As. A single C or two is not worth explaining.
            Okay, but then with a single D or F, what can you say that won't sound like nothing more than an excuse? Whatever you say won't be systemic by definition, so what explanation could there be, other than you fell behind and couldn't catch up, or just didn't grasp the material? What explanation wouldn't reflect poorly on the writer that would only apply to the one class, and none of the others taken at the same time?
             

            Goro

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              Okay, but then with a single D or F, what can you say that won't sound like the excuse it will be? Whatever you say won't be systemic by definition, so what explanation could there be, other than you fell behind and couldn't catch up, or just didn't grasp the material?

              What explanation wouldn't reflect poorly on the writer that would only apply to the one class, and none of the others taken at the same time? Basically, what could one possibly say about one bad grade that wouldn't sound like nothing more than an excuse?
              I've seen people who had terrible life events happen to them and who tried to bulldoze through, either because they didn't know about the value of taking a W, were too late to take it, or because their scholarships were dependent upon keeping a full course load.

              Life is full of grey areas....more than 50 shades, that's for sure.
               
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              KnightDoc

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                I've seen people who had terrible life events happen to them and who tried to bulldoze through, either because they didn't know about the value of taking a W, were too late to take it, or because their scholarships were dependent upon keeping a full course load.

                Life is full of grey areas....more than 50 shades, that's for sure.
                Yes, we all know people like this. Perhaps OP wasn't clear, or maybe I wasn't clear with my follow-up. Let's say I have such a life event, and I decide to bulldoze through. I'm taking 5 classes, and I get 4 As and a D. What can I say about the D that won't sound like an excuse, given that I also received 4 As at the same time, under the same circumstances? 1 B, 3Cs and a D, yes, the prompt is to explain what was going on in an otherwise stellar transcript. But one grade, no matter how bad and under what circumstances, to me would sound like an excuse for screwing up a class. No?
                 

                Goro

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                  Yes, we all know people like this. Perhaps OP wasn't clear, or maybe I wasn't clear with my follow-up. Let's say I have such a life event, and I decide to bulldoze through. I'm taking 5 classes, and I get 4 As and a D. What can I say about the D that won't sound like an excuse, given that I also received 4 As at the same time, under the same circumstances? 1 B, 3Cs and a D, yes, the prompt is to explain what was going on in an otherwise stellar transcript. But one grade, no matter how bad and under what circumstances, to me would sound like an excuse for screwing up a class. No?
                  You tell the truth.
                   
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