Find all School-related info fast with the new School-Specific MBA Forum

It is currently 20 Oct 2014, 18:20

Close

GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track
Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.

Events & Promotions

Events & Promotions in June
Open Detailed Calendar

Optional Essay?

  Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  
Author Message
Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 2
Location: United States
Concentration: Accounting, Finance
GPA: 3.34
WE: Accounting (Non-Profit and Government)
Followers: 0

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

Optional Essay? [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2013, 10:09
Hi All,

So, I'm curious on your opinion on this...I feel like I have an overall pretty decent application, but I have one really dark spot (my GPA - a 3.34), and I'm wondering if I should do an optional essay to explain the situation or if this will just blow up in my face.

Basically, I sort of blew my senior year of undergrad, which I wouldn't have been as worried about if I hadn't done a similar hack job on my freshman year.

Not to go all Lifetime on everyone, but basically: One of my parents (my only family), had serious health issues, and instead of staying in my hometown, finding a job, and waiting it out a year, I (selfishly, I now admit) rushed into moving the family home across country so that I could go to school/take care of my parent/intern/work all at the same time...I didn't do absolutely horribly, I mean I didn't fail anything, but I did badly enough that it seriously dragged down my overall GPA.

Thoughts? How bad could this theoretically hurt me?
Expert Post
MBA Admissions Consulting
User avatar
Joined: 18 Apr 2013
Posts: 877
Location: Chicago, IL
Followers: 14

Kudos [?]: 128 [0], given: 1

Re: Optional Essay? [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2013, 13:12
Expert's post
Hmm, this wouldn't HURT you per se, but, if executed poorly, could raise some eyebrows. I'm not entirely sure, from your post, how the different components you mentioned are related. For example, did the condition of your family member worsen in your senior year? Effectively, why did you improve going into your sophomore year and degrade as you went into your senior year?

I mean, keep in mind, a 3.34 isn't as low a GPA as you're thinking. Generally, when we work with clients that have low GPAs, they're sub 3. Your GPA is decent and your situation could warrant some mention but tread carefully. You have the ability to tug on the heartstrings to an extent but don't overplay it (I liked the "go Lifetime" phrase - I'll have to throw that into conversations!).

Bhavik
_________________

Bhavik
Managing Partner

Critical Square | MBA Admissions Services

Web | Blog | Free Resources | Facebook | Twitter

Sign up for a free consultation today!

Was this post helpful to you? Give a Kudos and let me know!

Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 2
Location: United States
Concentration: Accounting, Finance
GPA: 3.34
WE: Accounting (Non-Profit and Government)
Followers: 0

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

Re: Optional Essay? [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2013, 14:03
CriticalSquareMBA wrote:
Hmm, this wouldn't HURT you per se, but, if executed poorly, could raise some eyebrows. I'm not entirely sure, from your post, how the different components you mentioned are related. For example, did the condition of your family member worsen in your senior year? Effectively, why did you improve going into your sophomore year and degrade as you went into your senior year?

I mean, keep in mind, a 3.34 isn't as low a GPA as you're thinking. Generally, when we work with clients that have low GPAs, they're sub 3. Your GPA is decent and your situation could warrant some mention but tread carefully. You have the ability to tug on the heartstrings to an extent but don't overplay it (I liked the "go Lifetime" phrase - I'll have to throw that into conversations!).

Bhavik


So basically, my mother had a really serious stroke requiring a month-long hospitalization about two weeks before the start of my senior year, and at first, it was really touch and go as to whether I would even get to go back and finish college on time, as my mother was left seriously debilitated. Her condition didn't worsen over the year, per se, but I had to play a major role in care-taking because I didn't have any other family to help (cooking for two, dealing with her very high-maintenance medical issues at home, chauffeuring her around to medical appointments, providing a livable income in D.C., actually living with said parent :p, etc.). I tried balancing this with a full course load (including an undergrad thesis second semester), an internship (about 22 hours a week during the first semester), and a year-round, part-time job (the job amounted to about 10-20 hours a week in the fall, and about 20-30 hours a week during the spring), and unfortunately, with so many competing priorities, I didn't finish off college as successfully as I would have liked.

I started off my undergrad career kind of shaky academically because I just wasn't as prepared for college-level coursework as I was theoretically meant to be. I did stellar in high school, but my high school was clearly judged by admissions to be more rigorous than it actually was, and I definitely had to play serious catch up when I got to college. I caught up with my peers through a lot of hard work (and mediocre freshman grades, hah). I ended my freshman year with a 3.15. I wasn't actually planning to give any background on that, though, because that definitely sounds whiney even to me, haha.

Speaking of which, I don't want to come off whiney (which is why I'm debating doing this or not)...because I don't really see my personal misfortune as an excuse for poor performance. I'm just wondering, though, if it might help to put my senior year grades (and to an extent, me as an applicant) into context.

Thanks for the input, Bhavik!
Expert Post
MBA Admissions Consulting
User avatar
Joined: 18 Apr 2013
Posts: 877
Location: Chicago, IL
Followers: 14

Kudos [?]: 128 [0], given: 1

Re: Optional Essay? [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2013, 07:06
Expert's post
Hey there,

So yes, the freshman year story isn't worth mentioning. But then, something to keep in mind, a lot of applicants have weak/er freshman years so it's understandable.

As for your senior year - I'm terribly sorry to hear about that. That's terrible and the fact that you finished at all is a testament to you. You should definitely highlight this - it absolutely puts things into context.

Bhavik
_________________

Bhavik
Managing Partner

Critical Square | MBA Admissions Services

Web | Blog | Free Resources | Facebook | Twitter

Sign up for a free consultation today!

Was this post helpful to you? Give a Kudos and let me know!

Re: Optional Essay?   [#permalink] 27 Aug 2013, 07:06
    Similar topics Author Replies Last post
Similar
Topics:
Optional essay gmat2gmat 1 24 Dec 2007, 09:53
Optional essay? dosa_don 10 05 Dec 2007, 17:21
Optional Essays raptr 3 15 Nov 2007, 22:01
The Optional Essay skaballet 13 17 Oct 2007, 09:29
Optional Essays !!!! Ozmba 4 31 Dec 2006, 16:25
Display posts from previous: Sort by

Optional Essay?

  Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  

Moderator: CriticalSquare



GMAT Club MBA Forum Home| About| Privacy Policy| Terms and Conditions| GMAT Club Rules| Contact| Sitemap

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group and phpBB SEO

Kindly note that the GMAT® test is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by GMAC®.