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Should I avoid explaining extenuating circumstances?

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Joined: 02 Sep 2017
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GMAT 1: 710 Q48 V40
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Should I avoid explaining extenuating circumstances?  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2018, 09:48
Hi,

My undergrad grades are less than stellar due to me having an anxiety disorder, which wasn't correctly diagnosed till i was in my last year and caused all sorts of havoc on my GPA. I graduated with about 58% in my class. The average person in my class got around 67-69%, but I have no idea if the committee would know statistics for MY course (since class percentages vary a lot from course to course in my university)...

I went from flunking engineering to doing sub-par in the field I switched to (Geology). However, while i was in university i got a start-up grant from the government, set up and ran a successful business for around 6 months. I have loads of community work in my resume. I went on to found an online business that did pretty well, and then started one more business which i'm currently doing. So... I have about 2.5-3 year of entrepreneurial experience.

Anyway, I have a good explanation for my grades - but I've been advised not to mention my extenuating circumstances. But it would be so strange to have absolutely NO reason for having low grades. I'd like to honest... but I dont want people to feel like I can't cope with an MBA because I had a disorder. I've gotten proper treatment and I'm quite prepared for academics now. But is it better to look like a delinquent who simply didn't study properly for so many years cos they couldn't be bothered than to explain such a circumstance?

What if I were to talk about a medical condition that affected my grades without mentioning what exactly it was, being as vague as humanly possible.. XD lol. Im out of ideas.

FYI I have a GMAT of 710 (Q: 48, V:40, IR: 6). Dunno. :( any advice would be appreciated.
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Re: Should I avoid explaining extenuating circumstances?  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2018, 10:30
13S12 wrote:
Hi,

My undergrad grades are less than stellar due to me having an anxiety disorder, which wasn't correctly diagnosed till i was in my last year and caused all sorts of havoc on my GPA. I graduated with about 58% in my class. The average person in my class got around 67-69%, but I have no idea if the committee would know statistics for MY course (since class percentages vary a lot from course to course in my university)...

I went from flunking engineering to doing sub-par in the field I switched to (Geology). However, while i was in university i got a start-up grant from the government, set up and ran a successful business for around 6 months. I have loads of community work in my resume. I went on to found an online business that did pretty well, and then started one more business which i'm currently doing. So... I have about 2.5-3 year of entrepreneurial experience.

Anyway, I have a good explanation for my grades - but I've been advised not to mention my extenuating circumstances. But it would be so strange to have absolutely NO reason for having low grades. I'd like to honest... but I dont want people to feel like I can't cope with an MBA because I had a disorder. I've gotten proper treatment and I'm quite prepared for academics now. But is it better to look like a delinquent who simply didn't study properly for so many years cos they couldn't be bothered than to explain such a circumstance?

What if I were to talk about a medical condition that affected my grades without mentioning what exactly it was, being as vague as humanly possible.. XD lol. Im out of ideas.

FYI I have a GMAT of 710 (Q: 48, V:40, IR: 6). Dunno. :( any advice would be appreciated.


So being vague is probably not a good idea but if you could mention these circumstances while making another point at the same time, it could be a good idea to bring them up. For instance, why was the disorder discovered so late? What did you learn from that process and that diagnose? Etc. etc. (You know your circumstances better than I, so you can probably think of a better positive spin than I can)

What I am saying is that just mentioning it as an excuse might not be a great idea but if you can mention it as an example of something you’ve overcome/learned from or similar, that might be a way to solve your dilemma.

So while I understand why you were told not to bring this up, I also think you could, just in the right way.
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Re: Should I avoid explaining extenuating circumstances?  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2018, 11:03
Hi 13S12,

in addition to what Aringo said, which is a really good piece of advice, I would recommend you to focus your story on what you did during your undergraduate years in general, rather than only on your medical condition.

Typically, business schools allow for an Optional Essay to explain issues such as low GPA. This would be a great place to tell everything you did during your college years, e.g. obtained funding and ran your own business, lots of community work, etc... and all this, despite your medical condition which you eventually learned how to overcome.

Good luck!
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Re: Should I avoid explaining extenuating circumstances?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2018, 08:27
I'm of the opinion that just like any other physical ailment you should address this as a limitation that you were facing and is no longer an issue. I'm really not sure who gave you this advice but I'm of a different opinion I think that you should be completely clear and transparent about it and also about how you have either taken medication or managed the situation in a way that has allowed you to get much better results in all areas since that time.

In sum, my recommendation would be to state why and how it impacted your grades then and why and how it no longer does.

I hope that admissions committees have become somewhat progressive in understanding this is a real thing ie mental health and not just some lame excuse.. but even if they arent, I think that being vague and indirect is definitely not the winning strategy.

Yours Truly,
Anxiety Sufferer

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Re: Should I avoid explaining extenuating circumstances? &nbs [#permalink] 22 Jan 2018, 08:27
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