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Should I explain my bad grades in my PS?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by blueharbor, May 15, 2014.

  1. [Edited]

    Should I try to explain this in my PS and draw attention to it, or just hope that they'll realize I'm in a different place than I was __ years ago?

    If I don't mention it in the PS, I'll definitely address it on any secondaries that ask about this sort of thing, but not all of them do...

    Thanks for any advice!
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
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  3. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 5+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    Your PS should be reserved for explaining why you want to be a doctor. If they have secondaries for that, then address it there. If you have a post-bacc with great improvement, they will put 2 and 2 together.
    midnight0il and allojay like this.
  4. allojay

    allojay 2+ Year Member

    Nov 14, 2013
    East Coast

    I certainly agree with the post above mine. But to add, there's no need to mention it in your PS or secondary. If a medical school offers you a secondary application and interview, it means that you've passed through their 'GPA and MCAT' filter. That means they know about the grade situation. If anything, it would come up in an interview. Just have a good reason for the grades and don't put it on anyone. Just assume responsibility. Also, use secondary applications to show the schools the traits that you have, that match their mission. Don't go into detail about poor grades, unless warranted. For example, if it said to mention a time where you overcame a difficult period, then you could mention the grades, but for the sake of getting an interview, don't dwell in the negatives, IMO.
  5. hippocampus503

    hippocampus503 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2014
    I would mention it in a single, straightforward sentence. 99% of the focus of your PS should be about why you want to be a doctor and what experiences you've had that will make you worthy/good for the profession. However, since adcoms may wonder about those grades, a small, quick mention where you explain it briefly may be a good thing. I'm no expert on this, but I was in a similar situation and that's what I did. It worked for me. Good luck!
  6. OneTwoThreeFour

    OneTwoThreeFour 5+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2012
    Explain your journey to maturation. Aka, don't mention the grades, but how the goal of becoming a physician inspired you and changed your outlook on academics. Something like that.

    Show your improvement instead of saying it. That way you can stay positive throughout the PS
  7. teebear


    Nov 22, 2013
    I wouldn't mention it in your PS, but there are opportunities in your secondaries to address it.

    Personal example: I had a 3.3 sGPA as a public health major so after graduating I enrolled in a post-bacc and got a 4.0 taking advanced science courses, I got a 27R before this post bacc and then got a 32 after taking 12 units of classes. When secondaries asked me what I did during my gap year I listed this (along w shadowing and clinical research) and lightly touched on how shadowing and research deepened my interest in science and medicine and that's why my true academic potential was reflected in my post bacc classes and MCAT.

    Great MCAT score! Good luck :)
    T3ckFr3s likes this.
  8. Thanks for all the advice everyone!

    I know that interviews would be the best time to explain it, I'm just worried that not mentioning it could hurt my chances of getting an interview at all. Also, are you saying that I shouldn't address my grades even if specifically given space to do so in a secondary? It seems like they would find it odd if I didn't.

    I'm leaning toward this option, or a one-line mention as Hippocampus suggested. I do want to keep my PS positive and I'm stretched for space, but it seems risky not to intimate somewhere that I'm a different person now, academically. I'd like to think adcoms would put 2 and 2 together though.
  9. T3ckFr3s


    Nov 8, 2013
    This is definitely a dilemma that I've encountered. If you don't mention anything about your grades you risk leaving your GPA open to the interpretation of the adcom (which is pretty often cynical). If you do mention your GPA, you risk bringing unnecessary attention to your GPA.

    My advice: Don't mention your GPA in your primary, BUT do mention it in your secondary when possible. You do not want the adcom thinking that you're trying to hide/ignore an obvious flag in your application. Don't try to explain the GPA, rather try to state what you've learned from overcoming it.
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
    emelizabeth likes this.
  10. PsychLove88


    Oct 24, 2013
    I struggled when I first started college, and my grades reflected that. I took most of the prereqs my first-year (wasn't premed, was a university policy) and did pretty poorly (my best grade may have been a B in all the prereqs, with quite a few Cs). Things got better incrementally every yr but my cgpa never went above 3.3. Decided to pursue med school a yr out of undergrad. I did address my grades in my PS, and I used it as way of explaining my journey to maturation. It was just a few sentences near the end, but seemed to be effective as I was very happy with how it all turned out.
    It's been a long time since then, but wanted to chime in.
  11. allojay

    allojay 2+ Year Member

    Nov 14, 2013
    East Coast
  12. Goro

    Goro Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2010
    Somewhere west of St. Louis
    Absolutely NOT! Everytime I read such in a thing in PS, no matetr how it's written, it always comes off as an excuse, not an explanation. Save explanations for interviews.

    Should I try to explain this in my PS and draw attention to it,
    Leslie_Knope and allojay like this.

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