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Does this require an optional essay?

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Intern
Intern
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Joined: 23 Jan 2012
Posts: 29
GMAT 1: 710 Q48 V39
GPA: 3.5
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 5

Does this require an optional essay? [#permalink] New post 31 May 2012, 12:15
So I was looking through my college transcript that had an overall 3.5.

However by semester it broke down to 
3.56
3.37
3.49
3.50
3.06
3.6 (abroad)
3.7
3.88

As you see it is decent with a sharp curve up at the end. However that 3.06 does not look good and it is the fall semester junior year.

Now this was driven by three things, one is I had a part time job of 20 hours +, and at the same time I was taking 6 classes (1 more then the standard).
And really it was mostly caused by a C- in a midlevel economics course. 

Basically a number of things led to a poorer GPA, but then in the semesters following I worked hard on correcting it (and admittedly had some easier classes for my foreign affairs minor.)

So in the end the question is should I use the optional essays to address that 3.06, or skip it since the overall GPA is a respectable 3.5?

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Joined: 12 Sep 2011
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Concentration: Finance, Finance
GMAT 1: 710 Q48 V40
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Re: Does this require an optional essay? [#permalink] New post 31 May 2012, 12:44
My personal advice would be to skip over it. You have a solid overall GPA, and it doesn't really make sense to point out a weak area of your application. Usually that should be reserved for D's or F's or overcoming an overall weak GPA.

Usually the optional essay should be used as a place to continue to sell yourself. But often times people us this essay as a way to point out there weakest part of their application, and try to make "excuses" for why it happened. It usually comes off poorly. I better way to address it would be to explain what you did and what happened that semester, what it tought you, and how you applied those lessons to future years and your life. You want to SELL SELL SELL throughout every essay. So unless there is a great story you can make out of it, I don't think it is worth puting down on paper.
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Status: schools I listed were for the evening programs, not FT
Joined: 16 Aug 2011
Posts: 389
Location: United States (VA)
GMAT 1: 640 Q47 V32
GMAT 2: 640 Q43 V34
GMAT 3: 660 Q43 V38
GPA: 3.1
WE: Research (Other)
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Kudos [?]: 46 [0], given: 50

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Re: Does this require an optional essay? [#permalink] New post 31 May 2012, 13:24
agree with GMATLA.

If you had a bunch of C's in that 3.06 semester, you may want to explain it too, but otherwise I wouldn't worry about it. 3.5 is an above average GPA for the vast majority of b schools in the country.
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Re: Does this require an optional essay? [#permalink] New post 31 May 2012, 13:52
As the others have said I wouldn't worry about using the optional essay to explain that one semester. It's a blip and there's no reason to draw attention to it.

As for using the optional essay in general, it's really NOT an extra essay to add another achievement. It's reserved for explaining a gap in work experience, low GPA, choice of recommenders (if direct supervisor wasn't used). In some cases there may be a need to use it for other purposes. However, it's not extra space to say what you didn't say in the previous essays. The directions in the application are usually pretty clear about the topics that should be covered in the optional essay.
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Joined: 23 Jan 2012
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Re: Does this require an optional essay? [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2012, 08:28
Thanks for the replies, very helpful!

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Re: Does this require an optional essay?   [#permalink] 01 Jun 2012, 08:28
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