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Is it possible to make up for a poor start to University?

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Is it possible to make up for a poor start to University? [#permalink] New post 28 Nov 2012, 22:04
I put zero effort into my first two years of university, resulting in me failing 2 courses (equivalent of 14 credits) and being placed on academic probation. In third year I turned it around, averaging 87% for the year (A is 85%) and making the deans list. I am currently in my final year, looking to get a >90% average this year. Major is Electrical Engineering with a spec in Nanotechnology/Microsystems.

Will top 10 schools be able to over look my large blemish on my academic record? I have not taken the GMAT yet, but all practice tests indicate I should score ~750.
Is there any relevance to the fact that I live 2 hours (one way) away from school, and in my first two years I was playing junior hockey 3 hours away from school?

Extracurriculars:
-Played high level hockey and lacrosse (although not playing anymore)
-Hoping to qualify for nationals in powerlifting in Feb.
-Volunteer mentoring at risk youth in the same community I played junior hockey.

Anyways, I was hoping to attend a top10 school, and as a stretch was hoping to get into 2+2 at Harvard.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Re: Is it possible to make up for a poor start to University? [#permalink] New post 29 Nov 2012, 08:59
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B-Schools look for growth and progress in their prospective candidates, and you have demonstrated that growth . I do not think you should be penalized for those first two years after having shown brilliant performance since your third year. However, you still need to explain your poor performance in the first two years in your optional essay. You need to tell your story convincingly so it explains your failing grades well. Also, you should aim at getting 750 + GMAT score which will be another evidence of how you have turned things around and are now all set to move forward in your career. And yes, your extra curricular activities and community service experience will also boost your profile.
Good luck!!!
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Re: Is it possible to make up for a poor start to University? [#permalink] New post 29 Nov 2012, 20:37
myEssayReview wrote:
B-Schools look for growth and progress in their prospective candidates, and you have demonstrated that growth . I do not think you should be penalized for those first two years after having shown brilliant performance since your third year. However, you still need to explain your poor performance in the first two years in your optional essay. You need to tell your story convincingly so it explains your failing grades well. Also, you should aim at getting 750 + GMAT score which will be another evidence of how you have turned things around and are now all set to move forward in your career. And yes, your extra curricular activities and community service experience will also boost your profile.
Good luck!!!

Thank you for the response. Failing those classes was a huge wake-up call for me, as I had basically slept through all of high school and first year.

I'm wondering if I should frame my essay around the fact that I was a smart kid that was too immature in the first two years, or if I should try to downplay the fact that I was an unmotivated slacker and up-play that I was busy playing high level hockey (forgot to mention I was captain of my team) three hours away from school and taking the equivalent of 7 courses a semester.
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Re: Is it possible to make up for a poor start to University? [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2012, 06:35
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There is no need to talk about your immaturity when you already have a solid reason of traveling 3 hours away from school every day to pursue your passion for hockey. Your responsibilities as a captain of the hockey team and the amount of time you took in traveling every day hardly left any time to study. But your failing grades did work as wake up calls , so you took charge of your academics and have not looked back since then. Quite a convincing story for optional essay.:) Aim for 750 GMAT score and you are good to go.
I hope it helped.
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Re: Is it possible to make up for a poor start to University? [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2012, 15:58
myEssayReview wrote:
There is no need to talk about your immaturity when you already have a solid reason of traveling 3 hours away from school every day to pursue your passion for hockey. Your responsibilities as a captain of the hockey team and the amount of time you took in traveling every day hardly left any time to study. But your failing grades did work as wake up calls , so you took charge of your academics and have not looked back since then. Quite a convincing story for optional essay.:) Aim for 750 GMAT score and you are good to go.
I hope it helped.

That definitely helps. Some more questions:

- I've noticed on this form that the Indian It/Eng is a tough demographic. I am Canadian, with Asian/Caucasian heritage. Will this demographic hurt, help or not affect my chances of admission?
- I've also read that being the first member of my extended family to receive a university degree could be advantageous for my application. Is this true, and how would I go about mentioning this in some relevant way?

Once again, thanks a lot.
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Re: Is it possible to make up for a poor start to University? [#permalink] New post 01 Dec 2012, 08:23
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I don't think your Canadian demographic would hurt you.

I hope you have an engaging story about how you went on to be the first person in your family to receive a university degree. In your life-experience essay, you will delve on those hardships that your parents and you must have gone through. I have no idea about your story, but I have worked on some essays with similar background , and their stories brought out the candidates' firm determination, hard work, diligence and 'never say no' attitude. It all depends how ell you tell your story.

However, this factor alone can not determine the success of your application.
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Re: Is it possible to make up for a poor start to University?   [#permalink] 01 Dec 2012, 08:23
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