Veterinary What do I include in my Explanation statement versus not include?

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Admissions advisor
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Oct 13, 2011
Academic Administration
I had a very rough time in undergrad. I was very depressed and sabotaged my grades (first semester GPA was a 1.9). My family was also very poor, so I had to work to support myself and sometimes my family to make ends meet. At the height of it all, I was working 3 jobs at once.

My grades, thankfully, have an upward trend, and I graduated with a 3.39 cum GPA. I'm worried about my low GPA, and I also have 3 W's (all in science courses from when I was doubling up on them and struggling) and 1 D (in calculus, though I have A's in my other math courses) on my transcript. I even made the Dean's list for both my junior year semesters (take a 15+ hour course load with a 3.5 semester GPA).

However, this past semester (Spring 2020), I chose to do all passes (P's) instead of receiving a letter grade in my courses (my school did an option where you could choose if you wanted to do P/F because of the pandemic). Before the pandemic even reached my location, I was going through personal struggles (my grandfather passed away, which my mother needed much help dealing with as she is an only child). This made my grades suffer a lot (my midterm GPA was a 2.3). To make matters even worse, after the pandemic spread, and my school had switched to online, I was diagnosed with mononucleosis, causing my grades to suffer even more. THEN I was diagnosed with appendicitis the week of finals and had to have emergency surgery and be in the hospital alone for 3 days. I ended the semester with a 2.9, so I decided to switch them all to P's.

I do not want my Explanation statement to be a pity party, but I also do not want to under-explain myself. I want the admissions committees to understand that I went through hardships, but I still tried my best. I am not sure how to go about this.
I found an old forum thread on the topic, though I don't know if there is a current thread going. Read through it and see if this helps you: VMCAS Explanation Statement format .


vet robot pirate zombie
Staff member
10+ Year Member
Mar 9, 2007
I think it's fair to let your application readers know that your grades were impacted by personal health issues and a death in the family. I would probably not explain beyond that as you showed an upward trend after the first semester
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