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Master3930

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So one of my parents spent time in prison for multiple DUIs and had a near death experience that impacted my freshman year and first semester of sophomore year GPA. Once I managed to get them back on the right path to rehabilitation I was able to focus back on school again and my GPA increased substantially from a ~3.4 to now a ~3.8. I've spoken about it how the experience affected me (has been a problem all of my life) in my personal statement as well as secondaries. Will this help me get adcoms understand me as a person and my GPA? My overall is a 3.65 now
 

Gandyy

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So your undergrad gpa went from a 3.4 to a 3.8? It doesnt matter what your freshman gpa was. It matters what your cumulative gpa and science gpa is when you actually apply. You dont have to go around explaining why you got a 3.8 lol

Edit: Nvm OP edited post to later say "its a 3.65 overall"

Still a 3.65 is still good.
 
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Master3930

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So your undergrad gpa went from a 3.4 to a 3.8? It doesnt matter what your freshman gpa was. It matters what your cumulative gpa and science gpa is when you actually apply. You dont have to go around explaining why you got a 3.8 lol
I'm explaining the upward trend and how my parents prison term affected my academic career.
 

Gandyy

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I'm explaining the upward trend and how my parents prison term affected my academic career.

Ah, ok in that case, yea I guess you could explain that in an interview if it came up. But I've heard to stay away from difficulties and challenges in your PS. Unless that is specifically what made you want to go do medicine.
 

Master3930

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if you got yourself up to a 3.8 i don't see the need to explain why do you need a boohoo sob story for no reason
It's not a boohoo sob story my parent almost died... I had to stop working to take care of them. I can't believe some of the people on here want to become doctors
 
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Master3930

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ok? i almost died twice during undergrad ( legit ICU ventilator, not "my frappe came out too hot) and i'm not crying about it or mentioned it
I'm not crying about it, I'm simply explaining my poor academic performance during the first year and a half at my schooling.
 
D

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It's not a boohoo sob story my parent almost died... I had to stop working to take care of them. I can't believe some of the people on here want to become doctors

godwin's law in 6? that's got to be a record
 
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Gandyy

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I'm not crying about it, I'm simply explaining my poor academic performance during the first year and a half at my schooling.

I think I've seen Goro say multiple times now that you are not supposed to explain poor academic performance in a Personal Statement.
 
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Master3930

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I think I've seen Goro say multiple times now that you are not supposed to explain poor academic performance in a Personal Statement.
Honestly I quit. You didnt even read what I said I said in my personal statement I explain how my parent almost dying and going to jail affected me as a person. I then subsequently in my secondaries spoke about it with respect to justifying my upward trend in my GPA because I was busy taking care of my parent while they were in rehab...
 

carpediem22

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ok? i almost died twice during undergrad ( legit ICU ventilator, not "my frappe came out too hot) and i'm not crying about it or mentioned it

People suck. This is not a competition. I agree with OP: Have some compassion for God's sake.

Everyone: His cGPA is 3.6 not 3.8.

@Master3930 if it affected your interest in medicine then you can probably talk about it. Otherwise, there is a space where you can list yourself as disadvantaged... I don't know if this would count but maybe? There is room to explain on that.

If it wasn't a major factor on your interest in medicine, I'd maybe mention it in a sentence or two but otherwise don't focus on it. But if it did shape you as a person, then I don't see the problem in discussing it. I'm sorry for your hardship; I know dealing with a parent's illness/personal struggle can be very difficult.
 
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Master3930

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People suck.

Everyone: His cGPA is 3.6 not 3.8.

@Master3930 if it affected your interest in medicine then you can probably talk about it. Otherwise, there is a space where you can list yourself as disadvantaged... I don't know if this would count but maybe? There is room to explain on that.

If it wasn't a major factor on your interest in medicine, I'd maybe mention it in a sentence or two but otherwise don't focus on it.
It was a major factor the parent in question had addictive problems etc. I wouldn't consider it disadvantaged I'm just saying that the near death of my parent is what caused my GPA (3.65) to be poor my freshman year of college.
 

carpediem22

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It was a major factor the parent in question had addictive problems etc. I wouldn't consider it disadvantaged I'm just saying that the near death of my parent is what caused my GPA (3.65) to be poor my freshman year of college.

Addictive problems are definitely medical in nature so I see no reason why you shouldn't discuss it. Then again, I"m not an expert. It is a very good reason though so I would find somewhere to explain it.
 

Gandyy

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Honestly I quit. You didnt even read what I said I said in my personal statement I explain how my parent almost dying and going to jail affected me as a person. I then subsequently in my secondaries spoke about it with respect to justifying my upward trend in my GPA because I was busy taking care of my parent while they were in rehab...

Ok.... you need to calm down. I was trying to help you out. If you are going to flail around, I wont bother posting in this thread again.

All of my remaining grandparents died while I was in college. Do not assume we dont understand what its like.
 
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Master3930

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Addictive problems are definitely medical in nature so I see no reason why you shouldn't discuss it. Then again, I"m not an expert. It is a very good reason though so I would find somewhere to explain it.
I mean I already wrote all of the stuff and it is what defines who I am. I just wanted to know what people thought about it I wasn't looking to be badgered. Its far from a sob story.
 

carpediem22

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I mean I already wrote all of the stuff and it is what defines who I am. I just wanted to know what people thought about it I wasn't looking to be badgered. Its far from a sob story.

I wasn't badgering you? I was trying to be helpful. If you already wrote + submitted then just try to be confident about that decision. I think you're fine discussing it.

Edit: I see you are asking how adcoms will view this. Nobody on here can answer that, since we haven't read your PS. I'm sure it will help but depends on how well you wrote your PS and communicated your point.
 
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Master3930

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I wasn't badgering you? I was trying to be helpful. If you already wrote + submitted then just try to be confident about that decision. I think you're fine discussing it.
No i wasn't referring to you about the badgering youre the only one who's been respectful to be completely honest. Isn't the place where they ask you on secondaries to inform them of anything else not answered in the application a chance to explain an upward GPA trend?
 

carpediem22

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No i wasn't referring to you about the badgering youre the only one who's been respectful to be completely honest. Isn't the place where they ask you on secondaries to inform them of anything else not answered in the application a chance to explain an upward GPA trend?

That's my understanding, yes! I would discuss it there. Upward trend is always good and if you already introduced your parent's issues in your PS it should help to clarify how that impacted your GPA.
 
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Mad Jack

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You're totally fine. You could incorporate the story into your PS etc to make your app more three dimensional, but a gpa of 3.4 for a few semesters hardly requires explaining, so I wouldn't try using it as such as it would likely come off wrong (like you were making excuses or being too much of a perfectionist, for instance). Be careful when explaining adequate performance as if it were subpar, particularly when your overall performance was exceptional.
 
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Master3930

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You're totally fine. You could incorporate the story into your PS etc to make your app more three dimensional, but a gpa of 3.4 for a few semesters hardly requires explaining, so I wouldn't try using it as such as it would likely come off wrong (like you were making excuses or being too much of a perfectionist, for instance). Be careful when explaining adequate performance as if it were subpar, particularly when your overall performance was exceptional.
I completely agree with that entire statement. I just want to adequately convey everything about me and show that I am human. Thank you guys for the help, and sorry if this got a little heated, no harm no foul
 

Gandyy

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I completely agree with that entire statement. I just want to adequately convey everything about me and show that I am human. Thank you guys for the help, and sorry if this got a little heated, no harm no foul

I mean there is no need in lashing at me. I literally just told you what Goro tells everyone about what to write in a PS. Then look at your reply, rather hostile dont you think?

Look at all my previous posts. I'm not a confrontational person or poster.
 
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Master3930

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I mean there is no need in lashing at me. I literally just told you what Goro tells everyone about what to write in a PS. Then look at your reply, rather hostile dont you think?

Look at all my previous posts. I'm not a confrontational person or poster.
It was not directed toward you it was The Real SVB who got me upset. But again nbd..
 
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ekp_1925

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I think your GPA improvement speaks for itself! Good for you for being resilient in that respect. Just so you know, in my interview they asked me about resilience and what motivates overcoming obstacles for me, so if that was something you encountered in an interview you could go into a little more detail about your personal experiences and like you said, show them the human behind the application.
 

Goro

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Concur. You don't want Adcoms to think that you lack coping skills, or make bad choices, like trying to bull your way through college when you had difficulties, and the smarter thing to do would have been to take a LOA.

Save explanations for interviews.

Ah, ok in that case, yea I guess you could explain that in an interview if it came up. But I've heard to stay away from difficulties and challenges in your PS. Unless that is specifically what made you want to go do medicine.
 
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doc05

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the upward trend is enough and doesn't require explanation, especially since a 3.4 is pretty good anyway. there's no reason to discuss a parent's difficulties, etc, especially if it involves a prison sentence -- this is not something you advertise, and it may hurt your chances.
 

carpediem22

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the upward trend is enough and doesn't require explanation, especially since a 3.4 is pretty good anyway. there's no reason to discuss a parent's difficulties, etc, especially if it involves a prison sentence -- this is not something you advertise, and it may hurt your chances.

I don't see how it would hurt his chances. It's not like he went to prison. That's like saying a kid who grew up poor shouldn't advertise being poor... It's nothing to be ashamed of certainly. I get Goro's point though of not wanting to come across like you can't cope with personal struggles.
 
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Mad Jack

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the upward trend is enough and doesn't require explanation, especially since a 3.4 is pretty good anyway. there's no reason to discuss a parent's difficulties, etc, especially if it involves a prison sentence -- this is not something you advertise, and it may hurt your chances.
Your parents going to prison will in no way reflect negatively upon you. If anything, it demonstrates you have done well despite having a troubled family, which demonstrates strength of character.
 
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doc05

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Your parents going to prison will in no way reflect negatively upon you. If anything, it demonstrates you have done well despite having a troubled family, which demonstrates strength of character.

I really wish you were right. Unfortunately, I live in the real world. The OP may be a great applicant, but first impressions - in this case, the personal statement - are the most important and influential.

What you kids need to remember is that the adcom is NOT made up of young, idealistic college students. What would a practicing physician think of the PS? How will the PS color his view of the applicant?
 
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Mad Jack

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I really wish you were right. Unfortunately, I live in the real world. The OP may be a great applicant, but first impressions - in this case, the personal statement - are the most important and influential.

What you kids need to remember is that the adcom is NOT made up of young, idealistic college students. What would a practicing physician think of the PS? How will the PS color his view of the applicant?
Adcoms tend to not evaluate applicants as if we lived in medieval England and your heritage outweighs your deeds.
 
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MrChance2

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I'm not sure how to answer this and I'm not sure the depth of the situation. It may be a little too personal to bring up in the personal statement (I know). You don't want your personal statement to read like a sob story. On the other hand if you spent a lot of time rehabilitating your parent when you were barely an adult yourself and still managed to get B+ and A- in difficult classes that is impressive to me and I would think to some admissions people. I would consider writing about it during "challenge you overcame" secondary.

I would only write about it if it was a challenge working with your parent to get better. If you were taking classes in New York and they were in San Francisco and it just bothered you emotionally and you talked on the phone occasionally asking how they were doing I wouldn't write about it. If they got seriously injured in a car wreck and you cared for them and dealt with their withdrawal symptoms and helped them stay sober while taking full time classes I think that could potentially help you a lot. No matter what don't phrase it as a "I want to explain my 1 year of 3.4 from a few years ago. All my opinion here.
 

mimelim

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I agree with @Goro .

Do not try to explain grades in a personal statement. Do not explain grades in a secondary. Your grades are what they are and a 3.4 for a year or two is not something that you need to call attention to. Further, be careful how you bring this stuff up in a personal statement. A lot of pre-meds make the mistake of thinking that we want to know why they are a unique/special/different/their life's story. The reality is that while that should come through in a good personal statement, you should be focusing on the core of, "Why medical school?" Anything that significantly distracts from that should be taken out. Did dropping out of school to care for parents cause you to want to go to medical school?
 
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ekp_1925

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I agree with @Goro .

Do not try to explain grades in a personal statement. Do not explain grades in a secondary. Your grades are what they are and a 3.4 for a year or two is not something that you need to call attention to. Further, be careful how you bring this stuff up in a personal statement. A lot of pre-meds make the mistake of thinking that we want to know why they are a unique/special/different/their life's story. The reality is that while that should come through in a good personal statement, you should be focusing on the core of, "Why medical school?" Anything that significantly distracts from that should be taken out. Did dropping out of school to care for parents cause you to want to go to medical school?
yes yes I agree with this. personal statements = relate to medicine. It seems it is in the interviews that they want to go beyond what you've written about
 

bc65

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Anything that significantly distracts from that should be taken out.

I think it would be important to know if an applicant spent a year in the hospital, or caring for a relative, , and I don't think that the AMCAS activity section would be the place for it. That leaves the personal statement as the only place to put that information.
 

mimelim

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I think it would be important to know if an applicant spent a year in the hospital, or caring for a relative, , and I don't think that the AMCAS activity section would be the place for it. That leaves the personal statement as the only place to put that information.

First and foremost, we want to know if a student, when graduating, is going to be capable of surviving and thriving medical training. If that is assured by their GPA (plus context of school, major, etc) and their MCAT, people will generally not be weeded out before interviews on the basis of academics. Obviously the more selective of a school that you look at, the more weeding will still happen. There are typically secondaries that will ask about gaps in education. A person statement is not a "put whatever doesn't fit elsewhere" box.
 

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I agree with @Goro .

Do not try to explain grades in a personal statement. Do not explain grades in a secondary. Your grades are what they are and a 3.4 for a year or two is not something that you need to call attention to. Further, be careful how you bring this stuff up in a personal statement. A lot of pre-meds make the mistake of thinking that we want to know why they are a unique/special/different/their life's story. The reality is that while that should come through in a good personal statement, you should be focusing on the core of, "Why medical school?" Anything that significantly distracts from that should be taken out. Did dropping out of school to care for parents cause you to want to go to medical school?

From AMCAS, about things to potentially talk about in personal statement:
"Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record which are not explained elsewhere in your application"

You just can't win...
 

jih

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From AMCAS, about things to potentially talk about in personal statement:
"Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record which are not explained elsewhere in your application"

You just can't win...
AMCAS and adcoms are two separate entities. They are not in agreement 100%. Adcoms don't want to read anything besides why medicine in the PS.
 

mimelim

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From AMCAS, about things to potentially talk about in personal statement:
"Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record which are not explained elsewhere in your application"

You just can't win...

You can talk about whatever you want in your personal statement. Nothing is going to stop you from copying and pasting whatever you want into the box. That doesn't mean that it will be received well. The point is that any discussion of poor grades is going to reflect negatively on you. 99% of the time it sounds like excuses. The rest can be distilled down into one or two lines usually.
 
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Baron Samedi

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Instead of trying to explain away your academic performances(but since when is 3.65 a bad GPA?), use your experiences as a way of showcasing qualities that might make you a good physician -- like compassion, understanding, an appreciation for mental health, etc.
 

ZedsDed

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I grew up with a parent in prison, for something that does little to elicit compassion. I haven't applied to medical schools yet but, honestly? I see no reason for me to bring it up. Everyone has trials and tribulations, some more than others. I have nothing but compassion for what you went through. But reading through this thread, I have no idea what your experience has to do with medical school, your future career, or medicine in general. Are you bringing it up to explain your upward grade trend? That is overkill, your grades are very competitive. As the wise AdCom members have said, your grades speak for themselves. Not saying this applies to you, but I do wonder why this generation feels the need to turn every personal tragedy into a deep learning experience. Maybe I am just shallow, but I have always thought that sometimes s*** just happens; it doesn't all have to fit into some grand personal narrative.
 
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Affiche

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I grew up with a parent in prison, for something that does little to elicit compassion. I haven't applied to medical schools yet but, honestly? I see no reason for me to bring it up. Everyone has trials and tribulations, some more than others. I have nothing but compassion for what you went through. But reading through this thread, I have no idea what your experience has to do with medical school, your future career, or medicine in general. Are you bringing it up to explain your upward grade trend? That is overkill, your grades are very competitive. As the wise AdCom members have said, your grades speak for themselves. Not saying this applies to you, but I do wonder why this generation feels the need to turn every personal tragedy into a deep learning experience. Maybe I am just shallow, but I have always thought that sometimes s*** just happens; it doesn't all have to fit into some grand personal narrative.

I am in a very similar situation and I couldn't agree with this more.

If you really feel that it put you at a disadvantage then it belongs in the disadvantaged essay. If you don't feel like it warrants a disadvantaged status, then don't include it anywhere.
 
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Goro

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To expand upon what my wise colleague is talking about, there are usually prompts in the secondary that will ask for stuff like this. Usually they ask "discuss any major grade fluctuations" OR "Is there anything else you wish to discuss?"

And just as an example of why these always read as excuses, not explanations, let's take OP's experience. Something bad happened that was out of his/her control. the right thing to do would have been to withdraw from classes, or take Incompletes, or take aLOA, but NOT to have simply bulled their way through, thinking "despite all these terrible things that have happened to me, i'll still perform at my best".

Thus, what I see is someone who makes bad choices, and I see this happen in med school a lot. We don't want students who will continually make bad choices.

First and foremost, we want to know if a student, when graduating, is going to be capable of surviving and thriving medical training. If that is assured by their GPA (plus context of school, major, etc) and their MCAT, people will generally not be weeded out before interviews on the basis of academics. Obviously the more selective of a school that you look at, the more weeding will still happen. There are typically secondaries that will ask about gaps in education. A person statement is not a "put whatever doesn't fit elsewhere" box.
 

UNMedGa

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This might be best explained in secondaries - many have essays asking what the greatest challenge you've faced was. This sounds like a good candidate for a topic.
 
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