Should I explain factors that may have impacted academics?


2+ Year Member
May 31, 2016
I'm currently in the cycle and am filling out a supplemental application for WesternU. It has an option to attach additional comments that reads as such:

"If you have any additional information you would like the Admissions and Selection Committee to consider or aspects of your application which you think may seem confusing or incomplete as they are stated elsewhere, you can upload a document here.

You may also use this as an opportunity to explain factors such as:
  • factors that may have had a negative effect on some aspect of your academic performance,
  • experience in dentistry,
  • extracurricular/volunteerism/community service, and
  • why you are applying to the Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine specifically."
I do have a factor that had a negative effect on an aspect of my academic performance. To put it shortly, I was previously in an abusive relationship that began my junior year which affected my emotional and physical well-being up until I graduated from my undergraduate institution. My GPA took a huge hit because of this. About a year after I left the relationship, I started a master's program which I graduated from this May and graduated with a 3.9 GPA and did relatively well on my DAT so I believe this information could show the adcoms that I am capable of doing well in dental school. I was wondering if I should take the risk to explain this in this optional attachment or if I should instead write about why I want to go to WesternU. I know it is taboo to bring attention to negative aspects of your application, but since the supplemental explicitly mentioned "factors that may have had a negative effect," I wanted to seek other opinions. Thank you!


2+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2017
Dental Student
Yes, explain the factors that negatively affect your academic performance. The question explicitly asks for that. I put mine in WesternU's supplemental as well to explain my sub 2.0 junior year to 3.95 senior year.
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2+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2016
Dental Student
I am sorry for what you have gone through.

I think this story should be shared! It's not just good for explaining somewhat "poor or average" academics performance; it also shows your courage and power.
Courage to share, and also the power because you overcame that ordeal. You know most girls or guys don't leave a toxic relationship until it takes 10 years or more!

Congratulations on getting out of that abusive draining relationship, and getting such high gpa!

P.S: don't go into all the whole juicy details with them, just the summary of what happened, and how it affected you and what you learned from that.
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