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When not to use the Optional Essay to explain low gpa?

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When not to use the Optional Essay to explain low gpa?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2018, 14:35
Hello,
I am wondering when an applicant should not use the Optional Essay section to address getting a low undergrad GPA? My gpa is much lower than the average for almost all schools (3.05) but I don't have any specific reason why I didn't get better grades (such as illness or supporting family, etc). If you don't have a specific reason why your GPA was so low, should you still use the optional essay to address it? If so, what do you explain?

Thanks! (I searched for this a few times but couldn't find it posted elsewhere, but sorry if it is).
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Re: When not to use the Optional Essay to explain low gpa?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2018, 15:04
Great question - as with most things in the application, there isn't one specific, clear-cut answer. The decision to use the optional to address a low GPA is really situation-dependent. A few thoughts/questions:

[*] Did your GPA progress through undergraduate? Did it regress?
[*] Try to imagine how your application (resume, essay, transcript) looks without addressing. What assumptions or thoughts might an adcom make as is? Could you address more thoroughly?
[*] Truthfully - you said your GPA is low relative to their averages. Why'd you get that GPA? Lack of focus? Do you think you performed to the best of your ability? If so, then maybe don't say anything - if the GPA reflects the best of your efforts and you have nothing more to say, the inferences adcoms might make (e.g. "maybe the curriculum would be a lot for them") might be warranted.
[*] My initial thought is that saying something is better than not. Any narrative or color you can add (optional essay or not) can position your transcript different than it would in isolation.
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Re: When not to use the Optional Essay to explain low gpa?  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2018, 00:18
Were you involved in lots of ECs? Hard major? Hard school? Work during school? I hope something applies here.

What I would want to know as the AdCom is, IF we give you a seat, how do we know you will perform better this time?

Meaning be a more serious student and a more. successful one.

Btw are you from the US?

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Re: When not to use the Optional Essay to explain low gpa? &nbs [#permalink] 24 Nov 2018, 00:18
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