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Turnaround Essay Thoughts?

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Intern
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Joined: 15 Aug 2013
Posts: 3
Location: United States
Concentration: Finance
GMAT Date: 08-11-2013
GPA: 2.39
WE: Engineering (Pharmaceuticals and Biotech)
Followers: 0

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

Turnaround Essay Thoughts? [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2013, 15:30
I graduated with a low GPA from Georgia Tech studying Bio-medical Engineering, and I'm wondering if I should add the following essay to explain my poor GPA.

High School and First 3 semesters in college: Made some very poor decisions in high school and college that kept me from focusing on academics (mostly too much partying and laziness but I won't go into detail).

Focused the next semester and did pretty well, even earning an award from my peers for the turnaround to my behavior and study habits.

Next year, I improved to just an average student. Obviously my previous struggles weren't focused around academics, because I made some sweeping changes everywhere. I devoted a lot of my time to philanthropy activities and getting involved on campus as a constructive way to spend my time.

With three more semesters to graduate, I made the decision to not stress about my grades and focus on something I could excel in. Instead of becoming just an average student which to me was the best case scenario if I focused on academics exclusively, I was hopeful that I could take on key leadership positions on campus and demonstrate to future employers that I could be extremely successful at managing projects and people. I was very successful at achieving what I set out to do, but my grades dropped those last semesters to a 2.0.

Obviously, I'm headed down a better path now. My other essays will discuss more about my leadership experience and how I am using my previous mistakes to be an example for high school students now. This statement would just be added to account for my low GPA. I am not sure how some would react, but it's the narrative of my life in college. It's not your typical "growing up" statement where everyone starts doing better academically once they manage their time. It doesn't show that I can handle the course load, but I did graduate from a rigorous school and did pretty well on the GRE.

Any advice on how to handle this low GPA would be great. Not including a statement about why my GPA was poor didn't seem to be an option with the admissions counselor.
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Re: Turnaround Essay Thoughts? [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2013, 08:33
Hey Chautauqua - we agree with your admissions counselor, you need to explain this, to offset this significant weakness in your profile. Where you're falling down is that you haven't offered an explanation; it sounds more like excuses. There's nothing here that shows us why this should be a non-issue for the adcoms in reviewing your candidacy. It DEFINITELY doesn't read like a "turnaround" story, as you characterized it in your post title (no offense, but it just doesn't).

We have a bunch of posts on the EssaySnark blahg about low GPA and optional essay - we point you specifically to this one to start with:

Low GPA + lots of leadership = optional essay?

We also do free essay reviews here on GMAT Club - you may want to submit an actual essay for consideration (what you posted here is not an essay, it's a dump of info).

(And sorry, have to ask: If you're using an admissions counselor, why are you also posting here for advice? They're supposed to be guiding you on this stuff.)

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MBA Admissions Consulting
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Joined: 16 Jul 2011
Posts: 505
WE: Consulting (Education)
Followers: 38

Kudos [?]: 150 [0], given: 22

Re: Turnaround Essay Thoughts? [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2013, 08:36
One more thing: The difficulty of the degree and the quality of the school definitely do matter - you have those points in your favor with those. Biomedical Engineering is both challenging, and unique - you have a good profile in that regard. But the GPA also matters. You didn't give us enough actual specifics to fully evaluate - this is actually a case where we'd need to see a transcript (we have an app for that!).
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Intern
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Joined: 15 Aug 2013
Posts: 3
Location: United States
Concentration: Finance
GMAT Date: 08-11-2013
GPA: 2.39
WE: Engineering (Pharmaceuticals and Biotech)
Followers: 0

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

Re: Turnaround Essay Thoughts? [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2013, 08:55
Thanks! I see your point that there was no evidence of a turnaround. I guess you would have to know me personally.

The links you provided were very helpful for this essay. It really changed how I'll approach this.

I haven't spoken with a counselor, but she said that to everyone in an open house meeting.
Re: Turnaround Essay Thoughts?   [#permalink] 17 Aug 2013, 08:55
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