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Low graduate school grades - ignore or explain?

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Manager
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Joined: 12 Sep 2008
Posts: 64

Kudos [?]: 13 [0], given: 2

Location: Dallas TX
Schools: HBS, Kellogg, MIT, Cornell, Texas, SMU, Washington (Olin)
Low graduate school grades - ignore or explain? [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2008, 02:11
I have a good undergrad GPA but a very poor (2.9) graduate GPA.

When facing the optional essays, I'm trying to decide whether to ignore the grad GPA, simply acknowledge it in an optional essay, or acknowledge it and then try to briefly explain it.

My reason not to ignore it is that adcoms keep saying that they have "vivid imaginations" and expect explanations -- otherwise, they're going to assume that you were in jail, rehab, etc.

On the other hand, I hate to emphasize a weak point if I don't have to, and I certainly don't want to fumble an explanation and sound like I'm making an excuse. (The explanation is my grandfather had heart surgery. I was the nearest grandchild, and was called upon to do all sorts of time-consuming stuff for them during my final year of grad school.)

Any ideas? I'm not sure what's the biggest risk -- that the adcom will think I was strung out for a year, that I'll unnecessarily call attention to something I should have just left alone, or that I'll come across as making a lame excuse.

TIA, belfi

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Joined: 17 Jan 2008
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Schools: Ross '12 (MBA/MS)
Re: Low graduate school grades - ignore or explain? [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2008, 03:04
Seeing as how your Grandfather had heart surgery and, as the nearest grandchild, you were called upon to do all sorts of time-consuming stuff for your family during your final year in grad school, I think you should say that your Grandfather had heart surgery and, as the nearest grandchild, you were called upon to do all sorts of time-consuming stuff for your family during your final year in grad school.

:-D

Seriously though, I don't see why the truth isn't a legitimate explanation. Just make sure you say it in a way where it doesn't come off like you had to do all those things against your will. Plain and simple: your obligation to your family and loved ones took precedence over your studies.

I think you should address it. Optional essay is fine. Just keep it brief.

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Director
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Re: Low graduate school grades - ignore or explain? [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2008, 05:39
Yes - address it briefly somewhere in the application if you can. Paul Bodine says to address it if your grad GPA is lower than your undergrad GPA. In your case, you do have a legitimate reason. If you did not, then there would not have been any point in addressing it.

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Re: Low graduate school grades - ignore or explain? [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2008, 05:58
If the situation impacted your final year of your graduate study. You could mention that and show the proof of your good academics for the the previous years. That will be more convincing for the adcoms. Things happen and they should be aware of that. Besides, it is legitimate and your undergrad grades are the proofs of your accomplishments.
_________________

To find what you seek in the road of life, the best proverb of all is that which says:
"Leave no stone unturned."
-Edward Bulwer Lytton

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Schools: Rady School of Management at UC San Diego GO TRITONS
Re: Low graduate school grades - ignore or explain? [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2008, 14:04
Hi belfi, there's kind of a "third way" too - can you incorporate the part about your grandfather into a required essay? Not as a whole essay, maybe, but as part of one of your values essays.

My UG GPA took a nose dive my junior year when I studied abroad. Instead of using the optional essay, I talked in one of my leadership essays about all the good stuff I did and learned abroad. Then, I tied the lessons I learned into examples from my current job. Maybe you can use the same strategy?

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Re: Low graduate school grades - ignore or explain?   [#permalink] 11 Nov 2008, 14:04
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