Should I explain a bad semester in my PS?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Beoz, Jun 17, 2002.

  1. One semester I was involved in a freak bowling accident and my fingertips were crushed between two bowling balls. I could barely write or take notes as it was my prominant hand that was injured. That semester i pulled a 3.0 (with a C in orgI and B in comparative anatomy), the wost semester besides that one is a 3.61, so basically it F-ed up my GPA significantly.

    Should I mention this in my personal statement?

    thanks
     
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  3. Beoz,

    In my opinion, no. Use your personal statement to discuss your inspirations, aspirations, and other things that make you exceptional and unique. Medschool admissions do not like to hear excuses. There are no excuses. You had a bad semester in an otherwise excellent academic background. Leave it alone, and be prepared to explain yourself at interviews if needed. That is the place where you can genuinely explain yourself, not in a brief essay.

    Others may feel differently, but this is what I've found through the years.



    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Beoz:
    <strong>One semester I was involved in a freak bowling accident and my fingertips were crushed between two bowling balls. I could barely write or take notes as it was my prominant hand that was injured. That semester i pulled a 3.0 (with a C in orgI and B in comparative anatomy), the wost semester besides that one is a 3.61, so basically it F-ed up my GPA significantly.

    Should I mention this in my personal statement?

    thanks</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
     
  4. bobmarley77

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    You could put a positive spin on that semester/incident; don't dicuss the bad grades. You could say that it was a learning experience....can make it a little humorous. By doing this, you're not making any excuses, but you are still pointing out that you were injured.
     
  5. vyc

    vyc Senior Member

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    i agree that you shouldn't waste valuable space for your PS to try explaining a bad semester.
     
  6. exigente chica

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    I agree, it was a basd experience, but try and find some ggod in it..be able to express this in an interview. Save the space on the personal statement.
     
  7. exigente chica

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by exigente chica:
    [QB]Hear much, Speak little[QB]</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
     
  8. Doctora Foxy

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    Just explain it in an interview if asked about it.
     
  9. nap

    nap Member

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    My advisors told us that if you have a bad semester to address it in the personal statement, very succintly, but to make sure that it doesnt come off like whining.
    I would thinnk this makes sense, as long as you dont devote too much space to it. Also, if any adcoms are skeptical of interviewing you for some reason, the explanation might allow them to overlook the problem. Yes, you can also explain yourself at an interview, but you have to get the interview first.
     
  10. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    I think that saying a hand injury made you get a C in O-chem will sound like a lame excuse.

    If your next worst term was a 3.6, then I'll assume you cumulative gpa was about 3.8, in which case getting a 3.0 one term should lower your overall GPA by approximately 0.1. I'd hardly call that a significant decline. Don't sweat it.
     
  11. jlw2004

    jlw2004 Member

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    Just my $.02 --

    I tried applying to medical school in 1993. At that point, I used my PS to explain a bad semester. I didn't get in. :( I worked as an engineer for 6 years and (b/c of my husband's encouragement) applied again in 1999. The only thing I did in between that would boost my appy (other than stay active as a volunteer EMT) was to take and get an A in advanced orgo since I got a C- in second semester orgo. I used my personal statement to focus on my positive qualities and basically ignored my bad semester. I got asked about it in the interviews, gave a few words about why and how I learned from it and left it at that. I got in this time. :)

    My vote is don't put it in your PS.
     
  12. otter

    otter Senior Member

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    Don't bring it up in your personal statement. I think your personal statement should be used to impart a grander picture of why you're interested in medicine, what makes you unique and what you'll contribute as a doctor. Discussing the reasons behind one screw-up semester (unless you can use it to your advantage) doesn't belong in your personal statement.

    If you come across any secondary that asks you it there's anything in your application that you'd like to explain or something like that, then maybe you could do it there. If it were up to me, though, I wouldn't mention it at all anywhere. Only talk about it during the interviews if they ask about it. It's not so bad at all that your worst semester gpa was 3.0. That's not your last semester in college, right? You might make things worse by pointing it out and sounding overly defensive about it.
     
  13. My advisor said I should mention it . . . but everyone in the premed committee at my school has their head up their ass.

    I put a lot of stock into what the general oppinion is over here. I will leave it out. It was the first semester of my sophomore year.

    Where do your oppinions come from? Successful applicants, intuition or a more reliable source?
     
  14. otter

    otter Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Beoz:
    <strong>Where do your oppinions come from? Successful applicants, intuition or a more reliable source?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I was a successful applicant.

    I had a similar situation as yours, only worse. I had a lot of problems and an insane schedule in my senior year. My senior GPA was something like 3.1, including C+ in physics, B- in biology. My best science grade was a B+ in one of the orgo classes. That year brought my GPA down from 3.8 to 3.6. I did take some postbac classes afterwards, hoping that my postbac grades would be sufficient enough of an explanation to make up for my senior-year grades. I felt very uneasy about my senior year when I applied, and I included a paragraph about it in my rough draft of AMCAS essay. After thinking about it, I took it out and I'm really glad I did. I got five interview offers, and my senior grades did not even come up once.

    Why volunteer an information that med schools may not even notice? If your overall grades were good and you had an even or upward trend in grades, most med schools aren't gonna care that you got a 3.0 during one semester of your sophomore year. Just in case some interviewer might bring it up, be prepared to answer it. But you should NOT include this in your essay. In your essay, accentuate the positives. Show that you have the right reasons for going into medicine, that you're uniquely qualified, that you're a true advocate of patients' well-being as demonstrated by your experience in this and that.
     
  15. Modnar

    Modnar Mmm... workahol

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    This thread is scaring me. You all are saying that a 3.0 was your worst semester ever. Mine was a 2.08!
     

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