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Indian female 27.
IT professional in manufacturing w/ plenty of leadership experience on factory floor.
5+ years work experience.
GMAT 710 (Q47-81,V40-91) 94%
Masters in IT - GPA 3.8 (top us university)
Undergrad GPA - 3.87 Computer Science.
volunteer work in church- not much but consistently a little work for 3 yrs.
I am applying at Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Duke, NYU and Cornell.
The way i see it i have one weakness in my application. Before i moved to america, i did the first 2 yrs of my undergrad in India. In The 2nd yr of that I failed some subjects. In hindsight i think it was immaturity, but basically i knew i couldnt transfer more than 60 credits so i didnt go to class for some of the classes that i wouldnt transfer.
My questions are- how big an issue will this be? I have significant academic accomplishments after and i beleive a decent GMAT.
The second question is- I am addressing this in my optional essay, but i am wondering if i am drawing too much attention to something that happened 7+ years ago?
It will probably be a fairly significant issue. I think you do want to address it in the optional essay. You're right to think about not drawing too much attention to it, but failing courses is significant enough that you'll need to address it. While your strong GMAT score helps, your subsequent academic success will be even more critical to outweighing this weakness. The GMAT shows that you have intellectual ability, but even more important will be showing that you have the maturity and discipline to do better now.
I decided to address it in the optional essay. I didnt have any extenuating circumstance that caused the poor performance, just immaturity. Anyway I ended the essay by highlighting my excellent grades in my junior and senior years (3.87 gpa), the 2 academic scholarships i got for those years, and by highlighting my Masters degree and the 3.8 GPA i had there as well. I was able to demonstrate i have consistent excellent academic performance for the past 7 years.
Anyway, I am wondering now that you said failing grades is fairly significant, do you think that it could mean an automatic ding?
I wouldn't call anything an automatic ding. And the fact that you had such good grades in later semesters will help a lot. Failing a class can be a significant obstacle, but you probably have as good a chance as anyone of overcoming it.