Hello bulbasaur, thanks for your question.
I will admit to NOT having intimate knowledge of how adcoms would view this issue. That said, here’s my opinion.
I think your instinct to say it concisely and directly is right. Wordiness can often sound like defensiveness in the optional essay. And, your GPA is not bad – I wouldn’t call it a huge detriment to your application.
Second, why did your school raise the curve? Maybe the workload got harder after you graduated. Would your GPA definitely have been higher had you graduated this year? If you’re speculating, then the statement means less.
Again, I’d only make the statement if you have concrete evidence that your GPA would be significantly higher. Your 3.44 is not a 2.8 that you must defend to the adcom.
Hope this helps.
Best of luck,
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